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Eye on potatoes at Glenwood’s Downtown Market

Downtown Market
Sharill Hawkins
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photoAssorted potato varieties, including heritage fingerlings, from Z's Orchard at Glenwood's Downtown Tuesday Market.
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If you are young at heart or have children there is nothing more fun then digging up potatoes in the fall, especially red ones. It’s like finding gold. Come visit with Richard Zadrozny at the Z’s Orchard tent on Tuesday at the Glenwood Downtown Market to learn about potatoes.

Caribe, Rose Finn, All Red, All Blue and Prairie are names for the potatoes offered by Z’s Orchard at this week’s market. Richard is the proud father of his potato crop this year. His fingerling potatoes are a smaller tuber with thin skins and a complex flavor. They are from a family of heritage potatoes, which naturally grow much smaller than the conventional potatoes. They tend to be elongated and knobby, making them finger-like in shape. The fingerling potatoes are used by cooks in dishes that showcase their small size and odd shapes. They roast or broil well with just olive oil and garlic, or are cut in half for potato salad.

The Western Slope of Colorado, especially the Roaring Fork and Crystal River valleys, have been potato growing areas for many decades. Thomas McClure, an Irish immigrant, introduced a Red McClure potato in 1910. It was one of the varieties grown in the Carbondale area. It became a favorite in the San Luis Valley. By 1950 it started to disappear, being replaced by newer varieties.



This weekend is a celebration of the spud in Carbondale. It’s the 100th anniversary of Potato Day. The Slow Food Roaring Fork group will be offering bags of McClure potatoes for sale. They are part of the movement in the valley to reintroduce the Red McClure to gardens, farms and restaurants. Saturday events start at 8 a.m. with the Tater Trot and a farmer’s market in Sopris Park on Main Street of Carbondale. At 10:30 you’ll see some taters, fingerling and spuds of all shapes and sizes in the Potato Days parade.

Our chef for this week’s cooking demonstration knows the joy of picking vegetables from his garden. He decides what to fix for his family’s dinner when he walks into his garden. As he looks at the beans, squashes, tomatoes and several varieties of peppers, including a mild jalapeno, there is no shortage of culinary inspiration. Mike McCallum says he’s the cook in his family, out of necessity, since no one else will set foot in the kitchen. When he first married his wife, LeeAnn, he said, she called home to her mother twice to figure out how to bake a potato. Mike’s father was always in the kitchen because Mike’s mother could turn anything into a disaster. All joking aside, Mike McCallum is known to his friends and family as one of the best cooks in the valley.



At 6 p.m. this Tuesday, Mike will be preparing pork tenderloin served with a reduction of his own pressed apple cider. He’ll also be sauteing a vegetable medley of assorted potatoes, squashes and onions from his garden and topping it off with grated Parmesan cheese. If he doesn’t have to rush home to cook for his family he may also offer a quick dessert.

The Rock Dogs are the market’s musicians this week. The trio has been playing together for more than 10 years. Their philosophy is that performing music is not about the musicians’ egos. Instead, it’s about the people who come out in search of a good time. If the band gives the people what they’ve come for, the rest will take of itself and everybody wins!

This Tuesday whether you come to market to visit with your friends, talk about your garden, have a bite to eat, pick up food for the week, have a massage, learn from the cooking demo, or listen to music we hope you have a good time from 4 p.m. to dusk!


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