Green Mountain Potatoes
Green Mountain Potatoes were developed by Orson Alexander of Charlotte, Vermont in 1885. Alexander and the University of Vermont developed a number of potato lines in response to the American potato blight of earlier years. The parentage of Green Mountain is recorded as Dunmore X Excelsior. The plants are large with a fine display of white flowers. They are, however, susceptible to a number of pests.
Green Mountain was grown extensively in the Eastern United States particularly in Maine until the 1950s. It was displaced in the commercial market by oblong-shaped potatoes with greater disease resistance. Still, Green Mountain hangs on in small scale farms and in the gardens of potato cognocente. It is prized for its exceptional flavor when baked or fried.
Recently Green Mountain potatoes have joined other historical vegetables and fruits on the Slow Foods “Ark of Taste” list.
These organically grown Green Mountain Potatoes were planted in my garden in the Valley of the Moon in early April .
Seed Source: Moose Tubers
Waterville Maine, USA
Vegetables of Interest, 2008
Cedar Potato 'Barrel'
A unique aspect of Maine potato farming at the turn of the century was the use of cedar barrels to collect the potatoes in the field. Local cooperages in Aroostook County turned out barrels with cedar staves and ash hoops. Each barrel (called a 'quarter') held 165 pounds of potatoes, which was the official unit of potato commerce in Maine until the late 1980s. The use of cedar potato barrels has all but disappeared from Maine but a few Aroostook farmers still use them for harvest and short term storage.
The pictured cedar potato 'barrel' was created expressly to hold heirloom Green Mountain Potatoes which was the principal variety grown in Aroostook for more than fifty years. It was assembled at my farm in the Valley of the Moon using non-union labor, various materials and a mountain of imagination.