Skip to main content

New Potato Haiku

New potato salad and lucky cat.
One of the Blogathon's standard theme days is haiku. The day serves as a sort of break, theoretically an easier push to create than a standard post requiring a certain amount of research and time. In the past I've written about an ornamental peach tree on the farm here in Tokyo, norabo blooms abuzz with bees, and a miniature rice field. This year I'm writing about potatoes, the unsung hero of the seasonal plate.

New Potatoes
Set free this morning.
Small. Round. Brown. Slightly dirty.
Steaming on my plate.

We harvested ours early this year due to a disease that seems to be sweeping the Tama area. My garden potatoes don't seem to be bothered by it, but I'm keeping a close eye on them. It might be that I'm lucky or that they're well hidden in the living mulch that surrounds them. Whatever it is - luck or greenery - I'm grateful. The blue and red varieties make my mouth water even now as I type, and the standard white ones will make a mean potato salad when the time comes.

New potatoes, though, are the tiny little potatoes that rest just under the soil. They come with the first lovely blossoms on the plant, and taste the best. For me they are my mother's table in summer where we ate cucumbers in cream with thinly sliced onion from blue and white bowls. Thick red tomato slices waited in a bright yellow serving bowl to be plopped heavy from my fork onto the plate where I'd sprinkle them with sugar and cut them like a piece of roast beef. The potatoes arrived as little round balls still steaming from the pan where my mother had boiled them. The gentle pop of the first bite, the hint of sweetness from the tomato juice that sidled up next to them while they loitered on my plate signify summer.

Comments

Van Waffle said…
What a mouthwatering post! I planted lots of potatoes this year because they did so well last. Can't wait to try the different varieties.
Thanks, Van! I'm quite excited, too, to see what happens this year. The plants still look good, although I can't say the same for the squash. It's suffering from powdery mildew. One win, one mild setback.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro