You like potato and I like potahto … let’s head to the farmers market

You like potato and I like potahto … let’s head to the farmers market

Pick up your favorite potato varieties at Concord’s Farmers Market every Tuesday. (Pete Cruz photo)

CONCORD, CA (Oct. 31, 2023) — A member of the Night Shade family, the potato was once thought to be poisonous. We can thank Sir Walter Raleigh for debunking this superstition by planting them on property he owned in Ireland. The Irish began growing and eating potatoes in large quantities, and today hundreds of varieties grow around the world.

Russet (Burbank): The workhorse of potatoes. It is oblong, russet brown in color with netted or somewhat rough skin. It is primarily used for baking and for French fries because of its high starch content, which makes it fluffy when cooked.

Red potatoes: Round red potatoes have a rosy-red skin with white flesh. Red Norlands, Pontiac, Red Lasoda, Sangre and Larouge are the main varieties. Chiefton, Viking and Red Ruby are less common. Their waxy texture makes them perfect for boiling, but they can be used for any cooking purpose. Cook them unpeeled and mash, or use in potato salad.

White potatoes: Round whites such as the Superior are light to medium brown in color. They are an all-purpose potato used mostly for boiling and baking. Long whites such as the White Rose grow in California during the spring and summer. They have an oval shape with a thin, light tan, almost translucent skin and are good for boiling and roasting as well as in potato salads.

Yellow potatoes: Yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold seem richer and less in need of butter than others. They are best for boiling and in potato salad.

More varieties

Fingerlings: These small potatoes are about the length of your pinkie finger. They’re wonderful for roasting or tossing together with other vegetables like green beans and root vegetables.

New potatoes: These are a variety of young potatoes that haven’t had time to convert their sugar fully to starch. They have a crisp waxy texture with thin, undeveloped, wispy skins. Their small size makes them perfect to cook whole, boil or pan-roast.

Sweet potatoes: Part of the morning glory family, the sweet potato is an enlarged storage root that comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. California grows both “dry flesh” and “moist flesh” varieties. The “moist flesh” type is sometimes referred to as a yam, and the “dry flesh” as a sweet potato. They are both sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and Peru. A true yam is native to Africa.

Concord’s Farmers Market happens every Tuesday, 10 AM to 2 PM. For more information, visit