Watering Hole – September 27, 2010 – This Spuds For You

McDonalds has made the french fry famous.  Just look at how perfectly all those slices of potato snuggle up to each other with the ends projecting over the top of a red box.  It’s so pretty you might not want to eat them, so as not to disturb the neat little gathering of potato slices.  If only the  appearance was the reason not to eat these fries and any other non-organic potato.  The potato that gives these fries the perfect length is the Russet Burbank and is mostly grown in Idaho.  In order to produce enough potatoes, the fields must be heavily sprayed, several times throughout the season, with pesticides.  As a matter of fact, one of the pesticides is so deadly that the farmers will not go into the field for any reason for at least 5 days after the spraying.

Michael Pollan wrote about commercial potato growers in his book The Botany of Desire.  Mr. Pollan visited three commerical potato growers in Idaho.  Two of the growers used conventional methods which require synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides.  The third farmer used organic methods to grow a variety of potatoes whereas the farmers using the conventional methods, only grew the Russet Burbank.

I told you that so that I can tell you this.  The one farmer that used conventional methods to raise his potatoes also had his own family garden.  He does NOT eat the commercial potatoes.  Instead he only eats the potatoes from his family garden that are not sprayed with pesticides.

This is all a bit scary to me. If the farmer won’t eat these potatoes, then why should we?

You can read a little bit about the history of the potato here.  BTW, the potato may be the ultimate comfort food.

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!