The Lost Art of Potato Breeding

Rebsie Fairholm

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Ever wondered why supermarket potatoes are bland and boring? In the Andes, where potatoes originate, there are thousands of varieties with bright colours, beautiful markings, unusual shapes and variations of flavour and cooking quality. In the modern world, industrialised monoculture has reduced all this diversity down to a handful of near identical varieties. However, it’s incredibly easy to grow potatoes from seed, and every seed is full of unexplored diversity.

Best known for her Daughter of the Soil blog, Rebsie Fairholm gives clear and practical instructions for how to produce seeds from potato berries, how to cross different varieties, how to choose which ones to experiment with, and how to keep your newly created varieties growing into the future. She gives examples from her own experiences with all kinds of potatoes, from ordinary garden varieties to historic Scottish heirlooms and rare Andean landraces, and explores the different colour possibilities, from orange flesh to purple flesh.

Our ancestors created their own vegetable varieties in their gardens and took it for granted as a completely normal thing to do. And then the commercial age came along and changed our habits, and so it became something of a lost art. This unique book is a small step towards changing that.

  • ISBN: 978-1-908011-19-0
  • 164 pages
  • perfect-bound paperback: 229mm x 152mm
  • black and white text with photos and illustrations
  • cover photography by Rebsie Fairholm
  • published 31st December 2013