A new variety of potato is taking the culinary world by storm. Upstate Abundance was created at Cornell University, but Chef Dan Barber put it on the map. As the visionary behind Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the Row 7 Seed Company in Tarrytown, New York, Barber has done as much as anyone in recent years to develop new cultivars of vegetables and showcase them on a dinner plate. As like-minded growers, we admire his work, and we grow many of the vegetables that Row 7 offers.
As with most crops you’ll find growing at Southall, these varieties are being raised for a purpose. For years, we’ve been experimenting with a range of vegetables to find the very best ones — beyond flavor, the criteria could include size, texture, durability, the days required to grow it, even beauty. And in 2021, we embarked on a quest for the perfect potato, with particular excitement about Upstate Abundance.
This time last year, the culinary team had the chance to taste-test a range of potatoes — big ones and small ones, each with different characteristics, and Upstate Abundance didn’t disappoint. Developed from Argentinian, Mexican and Peruvian genetics and bred to be disease resistant, the new potatoes are ready in as few as 75 days, they continue to produce through the season, and their buttery white texture is nice and creamy. But they don’t grow very large, and they don’t keep as long as some other varieties.
The chefs at Southall loved the taste, but wanted a larger, more durable potato that maintained similar flavor and textural profiles. intrigued, Southall Farm Manager Sarah Edmonds dove into the genetics.
“Through the exploration process, we’ve discovered some exceptional potatoes — Russian Red fingerlings, the All Blue, the Dark Red Noland, the Elbar — and Upstate Abundance has found its place in our gardens,” Edmonds said. “But I wanted to find that perfect match that checked every box on the culinary team’s wish list.”
She found it in the Satina, a German variety developed in 1981, named for its satiny texture. It grows larger, with prolific yields and a pleasant yellow color. It’s highly disease resistant and stores longer than most in its class, and mashes into what one would expect from the quintessential mashed potato.
We tend to gravitate toward older varieties of fruits and vegetables, but now a few decades old, the Satina is rapidly approaching heirloom status. And, as an organic and non-GMO potato, we can hold back a portion of the harvest each year for seed stock the following.
It was the desire to put a great meal on the plate that inspired the exploration at Southall.
“Life is a journey, and the search for the next favorite never ends. We challenged Sarah and the cultivation team, and they continue to deliver fresh and wonderful produce to feed the kitchen. We hope that passion shows through in the experience of every guest who visits the Farm.”