What is a Presidia?
The Presidia program is coordinated by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which organizes and funds projects that defend our world’s heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions.
If unique, traditional and endangered food products can have an economic impact, they can be saved from extinction. This is the simple reasoning behind the Presidia—small, targeted projects to assist groups of artisan producers.
Makah Ozette Potato
Despite a crop failure in Spring 2007, the Makah Ozette potato supply grew through continued development of a local seed source, with several small farms planting a limited supply, and Pure Potato beginning work to certify the Makah Ozette as virus free. Meanwhile, demand continued to grow through Slow Food Seattle’s continued regional publicity efforts, including it as a menu item at the American Heritage Picnic in Seattle (organized by Slow Food Seattle and the Seattle Chefs Collaborative chapter).
This unique potato became an official presidia project in 2008. Because of all the presidium’s promotional efforts, the Makah Ozette potato seed is now in high demand, and the presidium remains focused on increasing seed production to bring more seed to market.
- Learn more about the Makah Ozette Potato by downloading the PDF:
- For more information and to see a list of all Presidia products visit http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/us_presidia
- The Makah Ozette, a Potato with a Past – March 2010
Update on the Makah Ozette Potato Presidium, October 2010
We had finally reached the long awaited three years it takes to develop the available genetic material into a field of virus free seed potato. There was an abundance of seed available for the 2010 planting throughout the region and seed was even sold to a large potato grower in California. Pure Potato sold all of its seed this spring and most of the 7 regional nurseries who stocked the seed sold out to home gardeners by mid spring.
A highlight of 2009 was Essential Baking Company‘s (EBC) adopting the potato, contracting with Full Circle Farm and making their seasonal potato bread using the Makah Ozette Potato (MOP). The management of EBC declared this to be the most flavorful potato bread they had ever produced. They are committed to continuing to use the MOP when it is available in the future.
2010 has been a disaster year for the MOP. Flooding destroyed the entire crop of seed at Pure Potato. This is a severe setback for the Presidium as it will take another three years to regenerate the seed stock to the 2009 levels. Pure Potato having experience the success with this potato is committed to carrying on with its development. Full Circle Farm has also experienced a significant loss of crop due to flooding and will not be able to supply EBC this fall for its potato bread. Unless MOP can be sourced from California this year, we may be eating plain potato bread this fall.
If you have grown MOP this year, you can try to save some seed from your harvest. Keep them in a mesh bag in your refrigerator till spring.