The Veg Plot

Plant wars: potato vs potato (maincrop)

Highland burgundy red and Juliette potatoes. With cutlery

It may seem unfair reviewing potatoes when their growing season was cruelly cut short by blight. But we have, nonetheless, had a fairly decent harvest – and NOTHING gets in the way of us delivering vegetable verdicts to our readers.

It’s worth noting that we intended to review four varieties, but Rich is still rummaging around a kitchen drawer trying to find out what potatoes he planted, and where. So it’s up to me alone to review the two types of tatty I sowed (with labels) – a colourful Scottish heritage spud ‘Highland burgundy red’ and a newer French contender ‘Juliette’.

Highland burgundy red: After a slow start they shot up like sunflowers. Which is all very impressive but makes it a grind to continually earth them up.
Juliette: A much more predictable bushy growth. Flowered remarkably early.
Verdict: Juliette

Pest attacks
Highland burgundy red: The last of our four varieties to show signs of blight, with little damage by the time we hacked the patch clear. No other problems to report.
Juliette: Only slightly worse for blight. In comparison, one of Rich’s as yet unnamed rows was wiped out in days.
Verdict: Highland burgundy red

Highland burgundy red: Lots of spuds, although only half reached a decent size by the time the grim reaper arrived wielding his blighty scythe.
Juliette: Not many and, despite a larger percentage reaching a usable size, they were mostly underdeveloped.
Verdict: Highland burgundy red

Highland burgundy red: Scrape away the thin, translucent outer skin and a vibrant wine red coating is revealed. Inside they’re a duller shade of burgundy with a white outer ring. Long, oval in shape, the largest of them is the same length as my hand.
Juliette: A smaller, oval potato with a slight golden yellow hue.
Verdict: Highland burgundy red

Highland burgundy red: At the floury end of the texture spectrum. Skin crisps up well.
Juliette: A waxy tatter with a lovely smooth bite when boiled.
Verdict: Juliette

Highland burgundy red: I really enjoyed the sweet, earthy flavour of this potato. I make chips in the oven and these were perfect for that purpose. Also make a good mash, although some may find the resulting pink appearance off putting.
Juliette: A more refined taste. Like a poor man’s Jersey royal. Great for boiling, especially when served cold.
Verdict: Highland burgundy red

And the winner is… Sacre bleu! The old Scottish redhead has thrashed the young French upstart. Victory for the Highland burgundy red.

Seed potatoes sown: Potato ‘Highland burgundy red’, Taylor’s seeds
Potato ‘Juliette’, Taylor’s seeds 

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