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Online News | It's Fry-yay, National Tater Day!

Hayley Linton

If you like your spuds, National Tater Day is for you!

Potato 2
Hayley Linton

Today recognises all kinds of potatoes which provide us with essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre. 

With so many reasons to love potatoes, it’s no surprise that these little vegetables have their own day to celebrate them. 

Potatoes are commonly referred to as "taters'’, whether they are of the regular variety (tubers) or the orange-coloured sweet variety (root vegetables). The potato is a powerhouse when it comes to feeding big crowds because it is filling, energising, and nutritious. 

Though Tater Day started way back in the early 1840s with trading and selling of sweet potatoes, it is now nationally celebrated every March 31st where the day is to recognise and enjoy potatoes of all types and kinds! 

Canterbury farm owner Ross Hewson believes potatoes are a pretty important food around the world and in New Zealand. He says they are a very efficient use of ground and per hectare can feed a lot of people.

Hewson Farms is a fully irrigated arable and vegetable farm in the Pendarves/Chertsey region on the flat Canterbury plains, which is just south of Christchurch.

The family operation produces approximately 350ha of potatoes each year, and after harvest they are sold to McCains, where they become french fries in your local McDonalds. How spud-tacular!

To maintain high yields of good quality potatoes, crops have to be handled carefully and well looked after. Potato growers need to pay particular attention to site and crop rotation, seedbed preparation, disease control and harvesting. 

“Growing any crops is very challenging, every year we encounter pests, diseases, and difficult weather conditions… you just have to deal with it as it’s part of the game”

Though these farmers face challenges throughout the year, Hewson Farms still manage to produce a whopping 22,000 tons of potatoes per year.

In comparison third generation Ashburton farmer Guy Slater owns the biggest Canterbury process growers farm, where they produce 50,000 tons of potatoes per year.

Potato Crop
Potato Crop - Supplied by Guy Slater

Crichel Down Potatoes Ltd supplies to McCains, Tallys and MrChips from their 800 hectare farm. Like other potato farmers Slater also encounters hard challenges that come with maintaining high risk crops.

He believes virgin ground makes his spuds the best in the business and strives to achieve the highest quality of potatoes.

“Your first paddock needs to be as good as your last”

“It’s such a high input crop, we are always working out ways to do it greener”

Potatoes are versatile vegetables, easy to cook, store well and can be used for a vast array of creative dishes. Mash them, bake them, fry them. Wedge, hash or salad. It's up to you! There is an option to satisfy everyone's taste-spuds.

Eating potatoes is an ideal activity on a day such as today, so in honour of National Tater Day, crack open that bottle of sparkling water and enjoy your night with a childhood favourite potato dish.

Scratch the controversial questions on first dates about favourite colour and questionable hobbies and start asking the REAL questions like… how do you like your spuds?