Tuesday, July 11, 2006


For the third week of One Local Summer, I decided to feature our homegrown potatoes. As I mentioned in the previous post, the potatoes' very existence came as a surprise to me. After last year's dispiriting gopher invasion, I was sure that any potato-growing efforts at Chez 10 Signs would be thwarted in one way or another. Well, I was wrong.

They are gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Pink on the outside, crisp white on the inside. Immaculate and full of flavor. I forget what breed they are; they're something that Shumway sells. We have white ones, too, which also look very impressive, but which we haven't tried yet.

Without thinking about it much, I found myself dicing up several of the pink beauties, plus half a Vidalia onion and a smidgen of jalapeño pepper. I cooked them in a little olive oil and butter in a cast-iron skillet--sometimes covered, to steam the potatoes through, and sometimes uncovered to get a crispy edge. I seasoned them very simply with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.

Meanwhile, a peek into the freezer revealed a tiny end-piece of the ham we had made in January. It was cured in a tub on our back porch in a hard cider brine. I heated it up with a glaze of our homemade green tomato and apple chutney.

The finishing touch was a fluffy omelette filled with cheddar cheese and a chiffonade of sorrel leaves. Sorrel is magic. I know we've converted one person to its charms already, but the rest of the world also needs to get on board. Everyone who tries it likes it. Its lemony tang is perfect with eggs, potatoes, and fish. And if you chop it finely enough, it collapses gently into whatever warm food you add it to--which is basically what you want an omelette filling to do, yes?

Here's the tally:

Red potatoes - 0 miles
Jalapeño pepper and parsley - 0 miles
Vidalia onion - 132 miles*
Butter - probably localish since it's from Ingles, but unknown
Olive oil, salt, and pepper - not local

Half pig from Dyal Farms, Cobbtown, Ga. - 132 miles
Green tomato and apple chutney - homemade from our own green tomatoes (0 miles), Ellijay apples (167 miles), and some exotic ingredients

Eggs from Chestnut Mountain, Ga. (a big producer, unfortunately; I can't wait for our hens to start laying!) - 73 miles
Cheddar cheese from Sweetwater Valley Farms, Philadelphia, Tenn. - 268 miles (but a lot less as the crow flies...darn mountains!)
Butter, salt, and pepper - see above
Sorrel - 0 miles

* The s.o. has informed me that not only does the name "Vidalia" signify Georgian-ness, but it refers to a very specific few counties in south-central Georgia. So knowing that our pig producer, Dyal Farms, is also a Vidalia onion producer, I've used the mileage to their farm as a reference.