Makah Ozette Potato: Hash Browns With a History

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makah ozette potato

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Plants that taste good have legs (and in some cases wings). If they strike our palate’s fancy, the world becomes their oyster (or serving dish as the case my be). The tomato, the anchor of Italian cooking, calls the Andes home. Peanuts, the perfect topper for Phad Thai, plant their roots of origin in South America. Chiles, which fire the cuisines of half the planet, are also a gift from the Americas.

The list is extensive, but perhaps the pole position of most-traveled and beloved plant is the potato. (I never met one I didn’t like.) And recently I discovered one such spud-worthy journey happened in my own backyard: the Makah Ozette potato.

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The Makah Ozette potato has been grown for hundreds of years by the Makahs of Neah Bay. (Think Northwest rainforest on steroids.) It’s believed Spanish explorers who had a settlement in the area around 1791, brought the tuber from South America. The potato stayed, the explorers left. (Only one could handle the rain.)

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Gracie: “You woke me up to show me potatoes?”

I was eager to try my hand at growing some, but I could never find a seed potato  source. Thanks in part to the obsessive-compulsive nature of Northwest foodies and growers, this tater tot is more readily available to plant in your own backyard.

A russet it is not, the wee fingerling is a beautiful little tuber with deep dimples and parchment-paper brown skin. Having never tasted one, I sliced up a couple up for a light saute in olive oil (At $5 pound, a pricey little seed potato side dish.) They were delicious with a nutty, earthy flavor, and relatively dry. I really liked them.

So today, I’ll plant them sometime between the rain showers, a misty reminder that these potatoes will be right at home in my Northwest garden.

Makah Ozette Potatoes

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17 COMMENTS

  1. We have them where I work at M & E Feed and Seed in Prosser, WA for $2.25 per pound! We also mill grains and can make large scale (minimum order 3 ton) grain mixes if you provide the recipe. Lots of other goodies!

    Stop by soon! The Ozettes are going fast!
    Lorrie

  2. How goes the Muscat de Venus you planted then? I’ve been hitting that page for ages wondering how someone is doing with that one. Has it fruited any for you yet?

  3. Greg, it’s about four feet tall and this year loaded with blossoms, which is pretty good considering it was an 8″ stub when I planted it.

    I’ll take some photos and give you an official update in a post

  4. Oh wow, thanks! I’ve been eyeballing the description wondering if I should buy one myself, but couldn’t find any accounts of the taste from anyone but the seller. Heck, there’s so little info out there, their site, your site, and posts I’ve left on other sites mentioning it are in the top Google hits! I hope you get something this year. I’d love to know what you think of it if you do.

  5. I have yet to get fruit from the Muscat de Venus, but I think this might be its years. I planted it as a very very small grafted twig, and now it’s all trunk and only 5 feet tall. I’ll post some pictures this week.

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