I was not dissatisfied with last year’s potato crop, but now I’m ready for something different. It seems that everyone is selling “Yellow Finn” and “All Blue” and “Red Pearl,” and they are all fine cultivars. But I like to experiment, because I find it’s a good way to learn something new from my garden and because it’s fun. I began my quest for unusual seed potatoes about two months ago. I finally found “New World Seeds and Tubers,” a website run by Tom and Rob Wagner.
It didn’t take much research to realize that I had stumbled on THE Tom Wagner, who is probably the preeminent potato guy – otherwise known as the “Tater Mater.” Wagner is primarily a researcher. One of his best-known tomatoes is the famous “Green Zebra,” which I – and probably many of you – have grown and enjoyed. Now, thanks to Rob, Tom’s cultivars can be bought online, through his new website. He also offers a selection of tomatoes and cereal grains.
I decided to take a chance and buy the 1-pound potato sampler. It’s a box crammed with as many seed potatoes as Tom can get in, and you don’t choose them – Tom does. I asked that it be delivered in April, and sure enough it arrived right on time. When I opened the box, it was indeed crammed with potatoes, with the cultivar names written right on the skins. There were 18 of them in there and I had only heard of a couple. I’m going to need a lot of markers, so I can keep track of the different varieties once they’re in the ground.
Now for the best part: inside my box, along with the printed list of cultivars, was a receipt on which was a handwritten note from Tom himself! He actually apologized for the lateness of my order (it wasn’t) and ended with: “I did, however, send you a very special collection of varieties to play around with. Thanks… Tom”
No. thank YOU, Tom! I can’t wait to start playing.