The not-so-humble spud

AS Tasmanian growers enter price negotiations and look to get their potatoes out of the ground, a worldwide congress has heard of the need to better market the humble spud’s nutritional benefits.

South eastern producer Ruby Daly of Daly Potatoes and Hellfire Bluff Distillery was one of a handful of Australian representatives to land a seat at the World Potato Congress in Dublin recently. Ms Daly is the business manager of Hellfire Bluff Distillery which has created a successful business turning waste potatoes into spirits such as vodka and gin.

She was one of six industry leaders chosen by Potato Australia to attend the congress which had been two years in the planning. “The whole experience went within a flash,” Ms Daly said.

“One of the most valuable things I took away from the experience was that no matter where in the world you are farming we are all facing the same challenges. “These include things like rising costs, access to land and the changing world of farming.” The seven-day congress included a site visit to a packing shed as well as presentations from a range of industry experts and researchers.

Ms Daly said she was interested to hear about the need to better market potatoes. “They have a huge number of nutritional benefits and we were urged to go away and do more to promote these,” she said. “For example potatoes are a nutrient dense vegetable that provide the energy, protein, potassium, Vitamin C and B that you need to perform your best. I think this is something we can definitely bring back to Tasmania and share with our farmers.”

“The other thing that will stay with me was a quote from Keogh’s farm: ‘Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten’.”

Ms Daly said there was a common theme around sustainable farming and discussion around the coming food catastrophe partly a result of geopolitical situations in Ukraine and Russia. “There was a lot of information to take on in seven days but I am off to north Yorkshire to visit potato farms there and chat around what their future of farming looks like,” Ms Daly said. “I know when I come back to Tassie I will kick into action and make some changes.” The next potato congress will be held in Australia in two years’ time.