Sorry Idaho, Long Island in New York has the best potatoes in the world (unless the potatoes are grown in your garden, those are always the best). And, it turns out, Long Island also gives us one of the best potato recipes in the world, new potatoes with brown butter and herbs. This recipe is one of the best “easy” recipes for any vegetable you can get.
But before we get to the recipe, let us explain the deal on potatoes from Long Island. Long Island, as we know it, formed about 21,000 years ago during the last major ice age and is what geologists would call a glacial moraine. Basically, as the ice crept down over New England it scraped up all the good topsoil and pushed it into a big mound in front of the glaciers. When the glaciers receded, the mound of topsoil was left, and we get Long Island.
And Long Island is made of some of the best soil on Earth. And to top it off, Long Island is surrounded by water, with moderate temperatures. Suddenly, New York gets some of the best farm land on the planet. Conversely, the reason New England got stuck with cranberries and dairy-farming is because New York got all their good soil. The pattern of New York taking New England’s best continued 20,900 years later with the Yankee’s purchase of Babe Ruth from The Red Sox…but we digress…
Long Island’s soil is a mixture of sand, gravel, silt, clay and topsoil that ends up being a great fit for agriculture. What the soil and moderate summer temperatures get you is very productive land and very flavorful crops. And potatoes are a perfect fit for the land and climate. Long Island potatoes simply taste more “potatoey” than any we have tried- except the ones we dig up and eat from our garden. Generally we think Long Island potatoes are the best. To be fair, Idaho has great soil for potatoes, but the soil comes from ancient volcanic activity. So maybe “different” could be a better adjective. But Long Island potatoes (or almost any “legal” crop) cannot compete against real estate development. So while Long Island has great produce, sadly, it might not with us much longer. Continue reading