Best Potatoes to Plant

Planning to grow spuds this year? Our expert recommends a few varieties of what he consider best potatoes.
By William Woys Weaver
February/March 2010
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‘La Ratte,’ a delicious French fingerling variety with a slightly nutty flavor, are a strong 'best potatoes' candidate.

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Can you recommend some yummy and unique varieties of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams I can plant in my garden this year?

Grace Irving
Tacoma, Washington

My favorite sweet potato is ‘Red Wine Velvet’ of the orange varieties, ‘Brazil White’ of the white-fleshed varieties, and ‘Camote Morado’ (a Nicaraguan variety) of the purple-fleshed sweet potatoes.

Of the 53 regular varieties I grow (all are favorites or I would not grow them), I think ‘La Ratte d’Ardeche’ ranks at or near the top of my list of 'best potatoes.' It is favored by chefs in Paris, as well. My favorite way to cook ‘La Ratte’ potatoes is to boil or steam them until al dente (about 12 minutes). Then I smoke the potatoes for 20 minutes over beechwood chips. The result is heavenly, and makes a great side dish for just about anything.

— William Woys Weaver, contributing editor

These rare varieties are unlikely to show up in garden centers, but you may be able to find them at farmers markets listed on the Local Harvest website. You can find mail-order sources using our Seed and Plant Finder. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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11/8/2014 10:46:15 AM
One year when there was no Ratte seed I tried Harlequin which, I think, is a Ratte/Desiree cross - great flavour, good cropping but no knobbles. I grow them every year now. Our gardening club has a 'potato day' in Kelso, Scotland, where we sell over 120 varieties by the tuber.

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