Straight away, I had better apologise to spud fans for that admittedly gross generalisation, and I do have to acknowledge a certain appreciation for Solanum tuberosum ordinaire when it arrives on my plate, even when it is dull brown, and agrochemical dependant.
But if we look beyond the few varieties grown en-mass for the supermarkets, it is actually a hugely interesting, diverse, and delicious food plant. For example...
|Harvested 7th October|
A US potato list gives it a mention here and surprisingly suggests that it is not Solanum tuberosum, but Solanum ajanhuiri.
So in summary, it's exotic, mysterious, beautiful and day-length sensitive (another way of saying 'late maincrop'!), all of which would be a fair description of Oca.
Thanks to Paul Coleman, potato breeder, for letting me try the next three varieties. All have something in common; they are crosses between Solanum tuberosum, and Solanum phureja.
The first, Mayan Gold (left below)...
as a gourmet potato.
The second, nicknamed "Mr Nutty" (centre) is more interesting, and cannot hide its tuberosum parent, Pink Fir Apple. It tastes fantastic! Here's another shot showing its graduated skin colour and primative good looks.
And finally a bright yellow-fleshed main crop which makes great buttery mash.
I've had universal unprompted positive feedback on the taste of all three varieties, so I'll be saving for next season.
|Mayan Gold, harvested 22nd August.|
Anyway, Oca has some catching up to do.