Potatoes. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. With so many varieties available at Your Local Greengrocer, it can be hard to tell what’s different about each one or even know how to use them when cooking.
So to clear a few things up, we spoke with two men who make a living selling the very best potatoes to Your Local Greengrocer every morning at Sydney Markets: Darren and Glenn Yip from vegetable wholesaler Yep Lum & Co in Sydney Markets.
The family’s history in the industry dates back almost 86 years, with grandfather Lum Yip who came out to Australia in the 1920s when 50kg bags of fresh produce were still carried on shoulders and backs at the old Haymarket. He worked for various wholesalers before saving enough to open his own stand in 1940. It was there where Yep Lum & Co began.
“It’s the typical story for any migrant starting a new life in Australia. He had to work for it that’s for sure.” Said Glenn.
Fast forward to today, and Yep Lum & Co is the oldest trading wholesaler currently operating out of Sydney Markets, and a proud member supporter of Your Local Greengrocer.
So what makes a great potato?
“An incredibly important factor is the ground in which they grow. Potatoes prefer fine-grained, nutrient-rich soil which is also known as alluvial soil.” Said Darren.
“All potatoes like cooler weather, with consistent temperatures and just the right amount of humidity.”
For Glenn, a big part of it came down to rainfall.
“It can’t be too wet, nor too dry. It really has to be perfect.” Said Glenn.
“When there’s too much rain, growers can’t harvest their crop. Most potatoes will absorb the excess moisture in the soil and this can compromise their shelf-life or worst, they may begin to show signs of decay whilst in transit.”
“If it’s too dry they don’t grow big enough or as part of their life cycle, when it’s dry they start to sprout which means they’re no good for consumption.”
When asked what he thinks consumers should be looking out for right now when shopping at their local greengrocer, Darren gave us his top picks:
“I’d have to go with the usual favourites: Sebagos and Dutch Creams which are grown locally out of Hillston in NSW’s Riverina and Robertson NSW.” He said confidently.
“The ones we supply Your Local Greengrocer are second-to-none. They sell incredibly well in Winter because they are so versatile – they’re perfect for boiling and mashing or even used in a casserole or stew.”
Glenn had his own suggestions.
“Right now, I’d say you can’t go past Royal Blues coming out of Victoria. They’re like a Desiree potato but with a purple skin rather than the typical pink skin.” Said Glenn.
“They’re a great all-rounder potato great for baking (but not frying) and the skin looks amazing on them, so they definitely turn a few heads when you leaving it on when plating up a dish.”
“If you can’t find them at Your Local Greengrocer then a Desiree would do just fine.”
Sweet potatoes (also known as kumera) have also grown in popularity over the years as a fantastic substitute for regular potatoes, particularly for Winter as they make for a tastier and healthier baked chip. Check out our Cook With Us video recipe for Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Dip!
“Right now we have varieties of every colour from gold, red white and purple, all from Bundaberg in QLD. Just cut them up, drizzle some olive oil, season with salt & pepper and pop them in the oven.” Said Glenn.