Extension Viewpoints: Potato orders being taken now

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    By Robin Young
    PREVIEW Columnist

    Certified potato seed is being sold through the Extension office. 

    We are offering: Sangre — red skin, white flesh; vista gold — yellow skin, yellow/white flesh; purple majesty — purple skin, purple flesh; mountain rose — red skin, pink flesh; fingerlings — purple/yellow skin, white flesh; and masquerade — multicolored skin, white flesh. 

    The cost of the seed potatoes is $1 per pound. The orders will be taken through May 1 and will be ready to pick up on May 7 and May 10.

    When picking up your orders, you will go in the east door of the Extension building and go to the Exhibit Hall. Everyone’s orders will be laid out on the tables with your names and an envelope for you to leave your money in. There will be extra potatoes for you to purchase if you would like to just weigh them out and change the pounds indicated on your envelope and add the extra money. Please bring the exact change. And, please remember physical distancing if others are in the room while you are there.

    We will take your orders by phone, email or online order system; please order by May 1. Phone: 264-5931, ext 0; email: tschaaf@archuletacounty.org; online order: https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/seed-potatoes/.

    Yellow potatoes such as vista gold are small size, round shape, have light tan to golden skin and yellow to golden flesh. They have a slightly waxy, velvety and moist texture. Yellows are subtly sweet, rich and buttery and with a medium sugar content, making them great for grilling, roasting, mashing and salads. 

    Red-skinned potatoes like the mountain rose have a firm, smooth, moist and creamy texture. The flavor is subtly sweet and well suited for salads, soups and stews because slices and chunks maintain their shape during cooking and mixing. They are also excellent baking potatoes. 

    The purple majesty is an earthy, buttery taste. They are good roasted, but also to use in potato salads, soups, mashed or fried. The size is not typically large, although few will get russet-sized, but more like the size of a tennis ball or plum and smaller. This makes them great for roasting and sliced. 

    The masquerade potatoes offer a creamy and buttery flavor when cooked, but the bi-colored thin skin has a golden yellow base and is covered in dominant spots of purple and violet, which make this a fun potato to grow.

    Colorado’s San Luis Valley is the second largest fresh potato growing region in the U.S. for good reason. Situated at an elevation of 7,600 feet, nestled between the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains, the valley enjoys mild temperatures and 350 days of sunshine a year. Part of an ancient lake bed, the fertile soil has been enriched by a unique mix of mineral deposits and is further enhanced by abundant annual snow melt. That is why more than 150 potato growing families have made the San Luis Valley their home for generations.

    The best seed available is certified seed produced under carefully controlled isolation, disease control and storage. Buy certified seed every year because home-produced planting stock can become infected with disease in a single season. Infestation with diseases can result in a high-yielding crop the year before producing poor yields and low-quality tubers the following year.

    Colorado potato fun facts 

    • Colorado is the second largest fresh potato growing region in the entire United States.

    • There are more than 70 unique varieties of Colorado potatoes.

    • Many Colorado potatoes are grown in the San Luis Valley, which is the largest alpine valley on earth.

    • A total of 50,000 to 65,000 acres of potatoes are planted in Colorado each year. That’s around 78 square miles, or enough to cover all of Washington, D.C. (68 square miles) in potato fields, and then some.

    • Potatoes have been farmed in Colorado since 1875. In that year, Ulysses S. Grant was president, and the very first recorded hockey game and Kentucky Derby happened.

    • The estimated value of Colorado potatoes produced in 2014 was $214,802,000. That’s a stack of money that’s over 14 miles high. That’s more than two times as high as Mount Everest.

    • An average of 7.5 million pounds of potatoes are produced in Colorado every day. That’s equivalent to 300 school buses (average school bus weighing 25,000 pounds). That’s approximately 2.3 billion pounds of potatoes every year, or 92,000 school buses.

    CPR and first aid classes

    CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the Colorado State University Extension office, generally on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at 246-5931 to register.