Harvesting of early potatoes is under way in Rymättylä in Southwestern Finland
The spuds are coming! The lifting of the first new potatoes started on Thursday in Rymättylä, now a part of the city of Naantali, on the southwest coast of Finland.
Farmer Kimmo Leinonen estimated in the morning that he would harvest a total of 1,500 to 2,000 kilos of potatoes in the course of the day.
While some new domestic potatoes have already been for sale, Leinonen says that ”these here are at least the first early outdoor field-grown 'Timo' potatoes”.
A couple of other farmers have also already lifted potatoes, but according to Leinonen, the subspecies has been 'Swift', which as the name suggests is a fast-growing strain being ready for harvest almost ten days earlier than 'Timo'.
When it comes to the taste, 'Swift' is not as good as 'Timo', argues Leinonen.
”Swift is called the Swedish fodder potato. It looks nice, but does not have much taste”, Leinonen notes.
The current spring has been exceptionally easy for potato farmers, according to Leinonen.
”Not once have I had to stay up all night because of frost, even though on one occasion it was pretty close”, Leinonen reports.
The spring came relatively early this year, as usually the first potatoes are harvested only in every fourth or fifth year before the school graduates’ end-of-term celebrations, which will take place this weekend.
Neither have any mini-tornados or "trombis" appeared in the potato fields to rip off the covers that give protection against frost, which happened in 2007, sending all cloth covers flying hundreds of metres away along fields and forests.
Leinonen has sold his potatoes to a couple of distributors with their own large marketing networks.
The farmer gets EUR 4.00 per kilo for his new potatoes, while for example the early potatoes bought at Turku’s market square cost EUR 8.90 on Wednesday.
”Early potatoes are at their best at around 35 millimetres in diameter. Then they are not too big yet and can be enjoyed with a piece of herring and some butter on top of them”, Leinonen offers.
”New potatoes are always put into boiling water with a little salt. They will be ready in ten minutes or so. However, it could be advisable to ask somebody who knows better”, Leinonen adds.
The Finns are very partial to their new potatoes in the summer, and have as usual been gearing up for the season by buying imports from Cyprus, Spain, and most recently from Southern Sweden.
Until now, those Finnish new potatoes that were available in the stores came with a price tag per kilo that suggested they were diamond-encrusted, but in a week or two - if the weather holds - prices should fall dramatically.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Farmers in Southern Sweden cash in on Finnish appetite for new potatoes (5.6.2007)