The land that spawned the supermarket spud

Off the coast of northern Patagonia, some 1,220km south of the capital of Chile, lies an island shaped like a peanut. The patchwork farms and wood-shingled churches of Chiloé lie below moody skies that often unleash horizontal raindrops amid howling winds. Get enough drizzle in your eyes to blur out the volcanoes in the distance, and you’d swear the radiant green hills belonged not in South America, but half a world away in Ireland. And just like Ireland, the staple crop on Chiloé is the potato.

The potatoes of Chiloé are nothing like the Maris Pipers, Russets and other familiar white-fleshed varieties that most of us eat. Chiloé’s 286 varieties of native potato come in an array of vibrant colours and unfamiliar shapes, with crumpled bodies, bulbous nodes and blotchy insides resembling tie-dye shirts. It’s as though the potato has dressed up for the circus … (continue reading at The Economist).

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