The Irish spud is in a bit of a crisis. Sales are declining and Irish farmers say this season they are selling potatoes below the cost of production. Like all commodity producers, potatoes are victims of the marketplace and as Ireland had high yields this year (the crop was very good) there is over supply. Over supply leads to a depressed price, and a very unfortunate situation for farmers who are growing a vegetable that they are ultimately forced to sell at a loss.
Yet many of us still cook potatoes, just less of them. And one of the main reasons in their decline is that we have replaced our staple carbohydrate with newer, glossier contenders - rice, pasta, noodles and even bread. We also import some potatoes, and have turned away from some of the traditional Irish varieties. Tomorrow I'll be on RTE radio discussing this issue and why as consumers are leaving the potato behind.
Or are we? If you're a champion of the potato and use it in inventive and new ways drop me a comment - it's worth keeping in mind that per gram they have still less fat than pasta and rice and are a super-healthy unprocessed food. And also, in the main, Irish. Have a listen to the programme if you're up and about at 8am or catch it on a podcast afterwards from www.rte.ie/radio. And let me know your spud views!