Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Unbearable Heaviness of Spuds

Some things haven't changed. Tasmania has long been renowned for growing the best and most diverse varieties of potatoes in the land. Old timers in Stanley still recall steamers leaving Little Wharf in the 1920s, headed for the Melbourne markets loaded with potatoes grown and harvested in the luscious red soils of the northwest. These days good old Tassie spuds don't come in 40 kilo hessian sacks but it wasn't that long ago when they did. As a teenager Barn can well recall accompanying his dad, George, to deliver sacks of fresh potatoes to fish and chip shops on the way home from the markets. They were carried in on broad shoulders, one by one. "That was in the days when fish and chip owners made their own chips," recalls Barn, "instead of buying in the ready-made frozen ones." So, last weekend, when we went to collect Russet Burbanks from Alan, we both had tears in our eyes. Hil because she pictured Alan threading the orange twine to stitch up the sack. And Barn, because he knew how much they weighed... Equal rights are hard to argue when it comes to carrying 40 kilo bags of spuds. Barn lifts, Hil drags... But tonight, we had a light kilo mashed with double cream and butter: best mash ever.

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