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The VFMA is a not-for-profit membership association that stands up for Victorian farmers, strengthens the viability of local producers and jointly defends our food sovereignty through the support and promotion of accredited farmers’ markets.

18 August 2022

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By production volume, potatoes are one of the most important crops in the world. Up there with rice, corn (maize), wheat, cassava and soybeans, potatoes are actually from the Andes, where thousands of varieties have been grown for millennia.

Victoria has been producing potatoes for a long time too. Not quite millennia but enough to see experience pass from one generation to another.

Joe and Elaine Pantorno are experienced potato producers originally from Gembrook but now based just down the road in Mount Burnett, not far from Melbourne. Joe's father was also a potato farmer and many of the varieties being brought to farmers' markets by Joe and Elaine are the same varieties that Joe’s father grew.

For such a ubiquitous vegetable, it's easy to forget that potatoes are - like most things - seasonal, with seasons varying across Victoria. At Gembrook planting of seed potatoes begins in September and is finished by the beginning of December. Harvesting commences in late February with fully-grown, mature potatoes able to be held dormant in the soil and still be harvested in August.

Kennebec potatoes are fast growers, offering a jump on other varieties. Then along comes Sebago and Coliban a late, blight-resistant variety. Around these are many other favourites: Nicolas, Dutch Creams and more. August to late February is the gap when cool store potatoes take over so enjoy them fresh now and remember that potatoes keep longer when they're not washed.


Connecting you directly with Victorian
accredited farmers' markets

20 - 25 August

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