When most people think about potatoes they think Maine or Idaho but what about New Hampshire’s potatoes? I’m not talking about who’s the most prosperous potato producing state in the industry, but who has adopted the white potato as their state vegetable. New Hampshire has as of mid-February.
Why the potato, you may ask? Well a group of fourth graders from Derry Village School in Derry, New Hampshire were research the white potato when the discover the place the white potato first grew in North America was Nutfield, New Hampshire now known as Londonderry, the birth place of General John Stark. I’m not suggesting he or his family grew the first potato but it was first planted by an Irish-Scottish immigrants. The state of Virginia weighed in on this, claiming that Virginia grew the first potato but they have since withdrawn their claim. The students requested the state house make the white potato the state vegetable. After some debt about the potato and a consideration for broccoli as the state vegetable the students request was approved.
So a little about white potatoes… White potatoes also sometime called Irish Potatoes. Potatoes are edible starchy tubers. They are in the night shade family with bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. They were first brought to Europe after the invasion of South America. They were adopted into the English and Irish diets. When the Irish were migrating to North America they took this dietary staple with them and began producing in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire no longer grows potatoes commercially but they can be purchased as part of the fall harvested at most local farmers markets. They can also often be purchased at winter markets because they store well in root cellars or a cool dry location.
For those of you curious the state fruit is the pumpkin as of 2006!!
By Ina Garten
- 1 1/2 pounds white potatoes
- 1/8 cup good olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve