Saga of the Scabbed Spuds

Inexpensive, delicious, vaguely unattractive potatoes: what’s not to love? On sale now at a great price. Get ’em while they last.

Tuberous root vegetables with fetching good looks tend to get all the glamour. People say, “Wow! Look at those pretty potatoes!” We’re here to tell you that unsightly spuds can be just as good as their comely counterparts. Don’t believe it? We’ve got some of these babies on sale now “dirt” cheap (heh heh), so this is a great time to discover the goodness for yourself.

From our friends at Edgewater Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire, we landed a great deal on a rough-looking batch of red potatoes, and we’re passing the savings on to you. Find them in our Lebanon food store, in paper bags, 50lbs, on sale now at $14.99 per bag. They’re going fast so get ’em while they last.

The potatoes are affected with a russeting condition called “potato scab.” This year’s crop at Edgewater, and hundreds of other farms throughout New England and New York, are showing signs of potato scab. The red potatoes at Edgewater are the only variety on the farm with the condition, caused by very dry soil conditions during a key stage of potato growth.

What is Potato Scab?

Potato scab is a common tuber disease that affects potato crops all over the world. It appears as superficial dark brown patches that may affect just a small portion of the potato surface, or may completely cover it.

Potato scab is purely cosmetic. It has no affect on the potato other than to make it unattractive and not as marketable. (Please don’t talk about this around the potatoes themselves. Spuds are so sensitive.)

You have probably eaten scads of scabbed potatoes and didn’t even know it. The primary market for scabbed potatoes are restaurants, where they are made into French fries. Commercially they are often used to make potato chips.

Tips and Tidbits

Beneath the surface, these are quality Upper Valley-grown potatoes, perfectly sound. They’re great for any home use, including boiling, baking, and frying. Be aware that the scabbing simply makes them a bit more difficult to peel.

The potatoes are bagged unwashed so they will keep longer. We recommend storing in a dark, cool space, 40-50 degrees F. They should last you well into the winter.

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis

Ken is a writer in the Co-op Outreach Department. Email him at kdavis@coopfoodstore.com.