Figuratively speaking, I really dig potatoes. Mary Hillebrecht, on the other hand, literally, digs potatoes. Lately, the Coronado Farmers Market manager has been harvesting plenty of new potatoes for anyone else that loves the spuds.
Plenty of people walk up to Hillebrecht’s table marveling at the tri-colored selection of starchy vegetables she has to offer. Hillebrecht, indeed, has potatoes some people have never seen—there are purple ones, pink ones and ones the size of marbles! Though her potatoes can grow the size of your average grocery-store tater, she prefers them a bit smaller.
“I like them this size,” said Hillebrecht, as she held up a potato the size of a golf ball. “I couldn’t find anyone who grew them like this so I started growing them.”
The generational farmer hand digs her potatoes each morning before a market, making them the freshest potatoes in town. She digs them while they’re still young, making them what we know as “new” potatoes.
“If you wait until they’re full grown, they’re starchy,” Hillebrecht explained.
And because they’re sold within 24 hours of being harvested, you can expect some dirty potatoes—but don’t let that hinder you from buying them! Hillebrecht advises her customers to rinse them under some running water, gently rubbing with a washcloth. Brushing them with anything more abrasive than cotton could ruin the root veggie.
Here’s a breakdown of Hillebrecht’s four varieties of tubers and their best uses. If you can’t decide which variety you want to try out, Hillebrecht will fill up a basket for you with all four kinds. She sells each basket of spuds for $3. Be sure to take extra care with these new potatoes!
“Treat them like a baby carrot,” Hillebrecht said. “Refrigerate them!”
The aptly named All Blue is an old style potato. Hillebrecht said it was originally used to delineate a break in variety of potatoes.
“It’s more of a Russet,” she said. “It has more of a dense flavor.”
It’s pretty, too. The All Blue has a purplish skin with bluish flesh, save for a white ring and a white center, like a target.
Use the All Blue for your next mashed potatoes to really surprise your guests or for some food fun for the kids. Or be playful and make them whipped with blue cheese for some “All Blue-Squared” mash.
These potatoes look a little different from Hillebrecht’s other varieties. They’re thinner and oblong in shape, almost like a finger. Thus, these buttery varieties are called fingerlings! Hillebrecht admits that the only reason she grows these are because she was sent the wrong seed, but none of the market-goers are complaining.
Use the Russian Bananas as a masher. They’re really smooth, so you can whip them up and they’ll have the consistency of a high-end steakhouse side dish.
This pink potato was actually patented by the University of Colorado. Its skin is a pinkish-red color, but its flesh is white, like most potatoes. Alex Weiser, of Weiser Family Farms, recently made an all-red potato, flesh included, stemming from the Rio Colorado. Look out for Weiser potatoes in the coming months at our own farmers market!
Hillebrecht said this potato is the most popular of her bunch, if just for the funky color. Use the Rio Colorado for a roasted side dish, as it holds together well.
The name says it all for these tubers. They’ve got a deep yellow flesh and buttery texture and taste. Their skin is lighter than your average russet, but darker than a white rose. One taste of these and it could quickly become your go-to potato.
Use the German Butterball with the Rio Colorado’s for roasting. Of course, their butteriness makes for excellent mashed as well.