Friday, April 06, 2007

Free Range Potatoes

In France, they use pigs to hunt down the free range potato nests.

He’s not going to do another pig link is he?

I’m not sure how you arrived at Yahoo 360, but I came via a strange detour from Yahoo Answers. Yes, my alluring yeomen, I have entered and survived the captivating and frustrating maelstrom that is the Answers Portal.

While it seems that the vast majority of the questions are puerile or bigoted or downright strange, I still find myself returning there on occasion, hoping to find the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything or perhaps to find a question or two that I may answer to give enlightenment to some aspiring grasshopper

For obvious reasons, I have kept this rather idealistic and illogical craving quiet, preferring not to burden you all with my condition. I suppose I should really seek treatment, but sometimes, very occasionally, my twilight forays pay off and some little gem materialises or I find myself producing something a little different.

Such a thing happened this week, when I found myself presented with the opportunity to answer the question ”Where in the UK can we get Free Range Potatoes?”. My fingers twitched, synapses sparked, the small little cogs shuddered and before I knew what had happened, I had provided enlightenment. I share that enlightenment with you all today (with a few modifications).

Henry Charles Warbarton still farms potatoes in the traditional manner near Cromer in Norfolk. Manor farm covers around 240 acres of the North Norfolk countryside. Its unique position on the coast and the rich fertile ground, means he is able to raise a number of varieties. Never having used pesticides or herbicides on the land means that there are an abundance of wild pasta plants on which the potato thrive. Access to the sea means he can breed a number of the amphibious strains that can trace their ancestry back to their epic voyage clinging to the hull of Sir Francis Drake's flagship. (Note 1)

Such is the demand for his crops, Henry no longer conducts his own harvests. He finds there are always enough true food enthusiasts willing to come catch their own.

 Henry Charles Warbarton – a hero to foodies everywhere.

On special holidays, the more vigorous amongst you might wish to join the North Norfolk Legume Hunt (Note 2)and capture your potato on horseback using the traditional potato waffle - a net that inspired the design of the modern potato waffle.

In the height of summer there are also trips that enable you to catch the amphibious varieties off the coast. You will find all the equipment will be provided including lines baited with the finest cheddar cheese and butter.

Whatever your choices, it is a fun filled day out. Just remember that children should not be encouraged to hunt potatoes, as they can be dangerous when cornered.

From 14th June 2006, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.

NOTE 1: There is a lot of debate about just how the amphibious potato reached Britain. Although the majority of British children are raised on tales of the how the hardy potatoes clung to the barnacled hull of the Golden Hind as it circumnavigated the globe, the Spanish claim otherwise. They claim that Drake and attacked a galleon in the Bay of Biscay and looted the precious cargo. Whatever the truth of the matter, we got the potato and they were left with tortilla chips nesting in their bunks. Click to return

NOTE 2: The North Norfolk Legume Hunt holds the honour of being the only hunt exempted from the UK Haunting with dogs act. This is largely due to the arguments that range over the classification of the potato and the problems caused by feral potatoes.

Thankfully this has preserved this traditional practice which has been a rousing sight ever since the potato was introduced into the British countryside.

Farmers had to find ways to keep the numbers of feral potatoes down to stop them worrying the chickens and destroying local pasta crops. Without hunting, the farmers would be forced to hunt them down with mallets and mashers - a process that causes far more suffering to the wild spuds. Click to return

My cute little mascot has a neat trick, he can turn himself into a vampire potato. Not many people know that.

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