Sami writes about Lancaster’s upcoming Potato Day and seed swap in this week’s column.

There is so much change and uncertainty right now that it is good to have word of something more certain. One such word is potatoes. In terms of what is really essential in life, spuds must come pretty high on the list. Especially locally grown spuds mashed, baked, roasted or fried . . . .
For well over 10 years now there has been a yearly sale of organic seed potatoes in Lancaster. This annual event is known as Potato Day. This day is much loved by many folk that come every year to get the seed potatoes they need to grow a local spud harvest for the year.
This year’s event will be held outdoors at Lancaster’s Charter Market in Dalton Square on Saturday 30th January from 9am – 3pm. There will be 28 varieties of organic seed potatoes to choose from, plus the delicious nutty, knobbly Pink Fir Apple spuds which are not organic.
You can buy 30 for your allotment or 3 to plant in a bucket in your back yard.
Once bought, the seed potatoes are usually taken home and laid out to ‘chit’ – they start to grow small shoots. They are ready to plant in the ground once the frosts are over.
Potatoes more or less grow themselves and digging them up is a joy in itself – smelling all earthy- and that’s before you even start to cook them. Spuds are also a great way to get kids into food growing – you can almost watch them as they grow.
The purpose of Potato Day is to make it easier for more of us to grow more local food – which is becoming ever more important given the global trade situation. The event is run by Claver Hill community group on a not for profit basis. We are all volunteers and we just want more people to grow more potatoes locally.
Lancaster Seed Library will also be running a seed swap stall where you can bring, swap or just take away vegetable and flower seeds that you have saved or have spare – supporting other local growers.
The regular Charter Market also has some great food takeaway stalls that have been open during the pandemic – so treat yourself to a snack out when you come for potatoes.
We hope that by 2022 the event will be back indoors again – running alongside the fabulous potato cafe with its potato soups, mains and even cakes. Lancaster Potato day is always the last Saturday in January- a date for all your future diaries.
For more information see transitioncitylancaster.org/potato-day/

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