It's true: these are some ugly-looking potatoes. Back in December, though, they were sleek, alluring even, a pound or two of organic fingerlings that came as part of a mystery box of roots, tubers, and greens from Mariquita Farms. Somehow, though, they got muscled to the back of the pantry by the 20 pounds of russets bought for holiday latke-making at the same time. By the time I could even think about eating potatoes again, my taters had only baby-making in mind.
These were potatoes hellbent on reproduction. Snaky white shoots were twining out of the eyes, and the shriveled potato meat was just a backpack of snacks for the next generation of tubers-to-be.
Now, I love my city-mandated green-waste bin. But could I really let such determination end up in a compost pile in Vacaville?
During my six months as an apprentice at the Farm & Garden Program at UC Santa Cruz, I had planted dozens of fancy seed potatoes that looked a lot like these. They had produced prodigiously, feeding 50 hungry farmers nearly every day, along with the customers at a 120-member CSA and a twice-weekly farmstand.