Potatoes with a story from a pop-up spud boutique in Amsterdam (Jan Evertsenstraat 105/107): farmers are getting trendy, write Joris Lohman and Marjolein van Vucht.
Livestock farmers are looking for alternative ways of selling their products and now other farmers are following suit. Your crowdfunded steak can now be accompanied by some tasty tats from a trendy pop-up potato shop.
From chips to puree and from crisps to oven-baked potatoes – the Netherlands has a rich tradition of spuds in all their delicious guises. Not everybody treats this culinary heavyweight with the respect it deserves, however, and many don’t know their agria (good for making chips) from their allians (a creamy variety). From Opperdoezer to Mayan Twilight, from purple to yellow and pink potatoes, tats reign supreme.
The tuber originated in Peru and was recognised as a staple in the Netherlands in 1727. We have been eating potatoes for some 300 years and it seems we can’t get enough of the little carbohydrate bombs. Potato-based meals are everywhere.
Potatoes are being produced in such numbers that prices – especially now export to Russia has come to a halt – are falling dramatically. The French, fed up with the plummeting prices, have taken to dumping their crops in the streets. Potato growers have protested before but until now they hadn’t got through to the consumers.
One young farmer, Krispijn van den Dries, thinks enough is enough. But instead of dumping his potatoes in Dam square again, he is now going down a more positive road. Last week, he opened his Pieperboetiek: a pop-up store where he sells 20 potato varieties and organises events nearly every day, from making potato dishes to lectures. Not your everyday veg shop, then, and interesting enough even for the foreign press to come and take a look.
The shop is not just a meant as a nice little sideline. Two weeks of selling potatoes in Amsterdam is not exactly a profitable business. But it does work as a way of starting a dialogue with city people, all of whom buy potatoes. Krispijn, a biological farmer from Flevopolder, just wants to know what he can do to give his product that little bit extra so he won’t have to face a surplus yet again and can sell his spuds and the story behind them (sometimes romantic and sometimes sad) without being at the mercy of the marketing strategies of the supermarkets.
Joris Lohman and Marjolein van Vught are part of the Youth Food Movement (YFM).
This article appeared earlier in Trouw.
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