In The Netherlands many snacks bars have shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although a lot of places do offer take away, but that means there are now a lot of leftover potatoes – not couch potatoes! – hanging around all day, doing nothing.
I say make some vodka, but that takes the right people to sort that out. It’s probably illegal and dangerous as well, so I’m just riffing here.
Since The Netherlands is one of the main producers of potatoes for making fries, some 1.5 million tons of potatoes, two thirds of which cannot be sold, are going to waste, awaiting a compensation package for the agricultural sector.
“Corona is impacting all sectors. Brussels is not going to regard this as a priority.” The stagnating market is having a knock on effect on potato processing firms, such as Aviko, which produces some 15 million potato products in a normal week. Deep fried chips are being made until the company runs out of space to store them.
Getting rid of a billion kilos of potatoes is not easy to do and only some of the potatoes are going to food banks, probably because they don’t boil very well. Other possibilities to process the potatoes include bio fermentation and use in the animal fodder and potato starch industries.
The city of Ede, Gelderland, working towards profiling itself as a food town (Dutch), has produced Vincent van Gogh ice cream that it said to taste like potatoes for its Vincent van Gogh year 2015. The special taste was inspired by Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters, which hangs in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
Earlier this year the mayor of Ede presented Vincent beer. Vincent beer, Van Gogh ice cream and tons of other food will be available during the two-day event Food Unplugged on 26 and 27 June, with 600 food professionals in attendance.
A team of farmers on the island of Texel are successfully farming salt water potatoes and other crops, as a sustainable solution for the increasing lack of viable farming land around the world.
Project ‘Salty Potato Farm’ was started some 10 years ago by team leader and farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe. Supported by the University of Amsterdam, the team has apparently planted 30 types of potatoes. Van Rijsselberghe says that, “anything that dies in the saline environment is abandoned, and anything that lives we try to follow up on.”
Experimental crops of carrots, strawberries, onions and lettuce are also being planted. Neither genetically modified organisms (GMOs), nor laboratories have been used for growing their crops in salt water environments. However, the price of the potatoes is still too high, with one kilo selling for five euro, compared to less than a euro for the same amount of regular potatoes, but one thing at a time.
Quick, what is the world’s foremost potato exporting country? Yes, it’s the Netherlands, a country that exports almost twice the amount of potatoes it grows, leading France by just a few fries (which are Belgian anyway).
Between 26 September and 11 October, 25 tons of potatoes will parade through Amsterdam on big farm trucks. […] The pop-up will offer a wide and colourful variety of potatoes. “At first we were planning to have 30 types, but then some breeds got sick. So, it’s going to be 20 types,” says Felicia Alberding, a freelance journalist who is teaming up with potato farmers in organizing this event.
To make the pop-up more potato-y, there will naturally be an array of potato-related activities. The theatre team Superhallo will perform ‘Knol d’Amour’ which, they say, is both an ode to the potato and a delicious love story. The theatre makers will also host a fry potato party that lets people choose, peel and fry their own potatoes while they are playing music.
The boutique was the idea of farmer Krispijn van den Dries from the Noordoostpolder area who wants to breed a better understanding between farmers and consumers. Felicia Alberding: “In most countries, farmers have become invisible over the past years. That anonymity is one of the reasons many people don’t value food and how it’s made any more.”
A standard fragmentation hand grenade used by Americans in WWII was found in a bunch of potatoes at a potato processing plant in Dronten, Flevoland today. Dozens of bombs, bullets and grenades from the war are found every year in this area.
Here’s an upbeat video about finding grenades in potatoes in Europe, with an interesting find at the Netherlands’ biggest amusement park the Efteling earlier this year.