Ahhh, the humble spud. Few vegetables can claim to have sustained so many people over the centuries, and its simplicity belies the complex and wonderful dishes it can help create (there’s a cracking potato recipe further down this article).

Our region’s rich, brown soil is ideal for growing potatoes; in fact, families have been growing them here since the gold rush days. Dotted around the region, you can see spud huts, the historic movable home used by potato diggers for many decades, and early in the year, bright green fields of potatoes colour the landscape. Harvest time is May and that (usually) coincides with the famous Trentham Spudfest.

However, 2020 is no ordinary year. Festivals and events have been cancelled and most of us are spending a hell of a lot more time at home. This in turn means that most of us are also cooking more, so let’s have a ‘virtual spudfest’ and celebrate tatters ‘corona-style’.

Normally, you could buy spuds at Spudfest, or one of the countless honesty boxes that line the roads. Today, a great option for obtaining your potatoes (or other produce) is a local site called ‘Small Farmers United’. A collective of local farmers and producers, they’ve collaborated and combined their produce to offer locally-grown vegetables, eggs, olives, honey, berries, herbs, nuts, sourdough bread, preserves, and more – and now deliver to Melbourne. Ordering is easy, and you’re getting the beautiful produce that our region is famous for, delivered to your home.

A virtual spudfest would be nothing without devouring some of these beauties, so we asked our friends at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel in Hepburn Springs to give us an amazing spud recipe. We’ve tasted it, and it’s a winner.

Check it out: Leonardo Catarcia’s Potato Gnocchi, Taleggio And Speck.

While many of us are in lockdown, our spud farmers are digging up spuds right now. So, join us from afar, in celebrating the humble spud.

About the author

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Steve Wroe, Daylesford Macedon Tourism