Our Makah Ozette Potato Presidium Goes National in School Gardens

Slow Fooark-prod-ozette_potatoesd Seattle maintains one of the six Presidia ever established in the USA. For the past eight years our Makah Ozette Potato Presidia (MOP)  has been working to bring this unique product to the table. They are now consistently found in northwest farmers and specialty food markets in season.

The history of MOP: it arrived in Neah Bay directly from South America with the Spaniards in 1791. It was found by the Makah people the next year when the Spaniards abandoned their fort and left remnants of MOP. It was then grown and consumed by the Makah for nearly 200 years before being recognized in about 1980. Slow Food recognized it in early 2000 by putting it on the Ark of Taste and later made it a Presidium. (a community partnership that brings special products to the table).

This story has been blended into the Slow Food School Garden Initiative making the MOP an ideal product that grabs children’s attention, adding unique depth to their gardening experience. Our board member Philip Lee introduced the MOP to school garden advocates two years ago and it became a big hit. Now there are about twelve schools in the greater Seattle area with MOP in their gardens and its history in –  or coming to – their curricula.

This year, based on the enthusiasm generated by Philip’s efforts, Gerry Warren, the Presidium coordinator, contacted Andrew Nowak, the director of SFUSA’s national School Garden program in Denver, to connect him with Pure Potato, our seed growing partner in the Presidium. Andrew and his crew have sent MOP seed and literature to more than 60 school garden programs around the nation. This program will undoubtedly grow and perhaps even foster discussion and interest in MOP at the students’ family tables. This approach will certainly help with the Presidium objective of getting MOPs enjoyed at more tables.

Gerry Warren
MOP Presidium Coordinator

The Makah Ozette Potato Presidium – Spring 2012

Photo by Yunhee Kim for Sunset Magazine

Makah Ozette potatoes with bacon cream. (Photo by Yunhee Kim for Sunset Magazine)

In the 1980’s an unknown fingerling potato was recognized to be a staple in the diet of Pacific Coast Native Americans of the Makah Nation. The Makah occupy the region around Neah Bay, Washington, that is the most northwesterly point in the United States. Tribal lore reported that this potato had been used by these people for about 200 years. The Makah had named this potato the Ozette after one of their five villages located around Neah Bay.  More about the Ozette and how it became part of the Ark of Taste can be found here. The presidium is focused on increasing seed production to bring more seed to market. Here is where those efforts stand currently:

  • After flooding annihilated the seed crop of 2010, our partner Pure Potato had to start again with the three year process of producing an abundant crop of certified seed potato. A project they had just completed. We are grateful they are willing to do it again.
  • The Certified Generation program starts with PreNuclear minitubers. These are first grown in “test tube” then planted in the green house.  The resulting crop of mini tubers is planted the next year for reproduction in the field and then classified as Nuclear.  The following years they are classified as Generation 1, 2, etc. as long as they remain within the disease parameters specified by the Department of Agriculture.
  • This Spring Pure Potato will plant 32 pounds of PreNuclear Makah Ozette minitubers in the field. This should yield approximately 30 one hundred pound sacks of Nuclear seed potato. In the spring of 2013 they will plant 16 sacks per acre that will yield 200 sacks per acre.
Makah Ozette Potato

Makah Ozette Potato

The question for Pure Potato is; how much to plant and how much to sell in 2013? We need potential growers to tell us of their intentions and to get on the list for notification of availability by emailing marlys@purepotato.com.

Next year, 2013, depending on the yield, there may be a limited supply of Nuclear Generation Makah Ozette seed potatoes for sale at $2.00 per pound. The plan is to keep reproducing this variety and increase the volume to meet the needs of all those interested in growing it.

This spring there is some seed available from Potato Garden (800.314.1955, cdrockey@potatogarden.com).

Gerry Warren
Presidium Coordinator
cgw@speakeasy.net, 206.818.5366


For the history and back story of this potato go to the Makah Ozette Presidia page at Slow Food USA or here for more.

Makah Ozette Potato brochure [PDF]

Pure Potato
9020 Jackman Rd
Lynden, WA 98264

Potato Garden
12101 2135 Rd
Austin, CO 81410

Free Film Screening: “What’s Organic About Organic?” – Monday, August 22

Come watch What’s Organic About Organic – a thought-provoking documentary about the organic food debate – and then stick around to discuss what we can do to promote good, healthy, sustainable food in our community. Join us!



Please scroll to the bottom of the page in order to RSVP online for this event.

The Q Café
3223 15th Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119

Call the Q Cafe at 206.352.2525 for directions. Parking is available in the lot on the north side of the cafe. Additional parking is available in the Quest Church lot, north of the cafe. This lot is accessible from the drive that connects to W. Bertona St.

You are welcome to bring along friends or family! Contact Food & Water Watch organizer Marie Logan at mlogan@fwwatch.org or 415.293.9919 with any questions.

Use this flyer to spread the word about this event!

Co-sponsored by:

What's Organic About Organic?

The Makah Ozette, a Potato with a Past

Makah Ozette Seed Now Available

“The history and the distinctive flavor of this potato give it a significant market advantage over most fingerling potatoes offered in today’s marketplace.” says Andrew Stout of Full Circle Farm.

Makah Ozette Potato

Makah Ozette Potato

It is visually attractive with its pale yellow color, rugged knobby shapes and many deep brows. It has unique earthy, nutty flavors that pair very well with grilled and roasted meats.

For the history and back story of this potato go to the Makah Ozette Presidia page at Slow Food USA or here for more .

Contact Gerry Warren, Slow Food Seattle
Makah Ozette Potato brochure [PDF]

We now have an abundance of first generation seed available. Larger quantities 25 lbs+ can be purchased from:

Pure Potato
9020 Jackman Rd
Lynden, WA 98264

Smaller quantities are available from nurseries in the region:

Co-op Supply
Ph. 425.259.5571
2901 State St.
Everett, WA 98201

Co-op Supply

Ph. 360.659.1236
8323 State Ave.
Marysville, WA 98270

Portland Ave. Nursery
Ph. 253.473.0194
1409 East 59th Street
Tacoma, WA 98404-3555

Valley Nursery
Ph. 360.779.3806
20882 Bond Road Northeast
Poulsbo, WA 98370-9098

Stroh’s Feed & Garden Supplies
Ph. 253.858.2051
3408 Hunt St NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335-2097

Grange Supply
Ph. 425.392.6469
145 NE Gilman Blvd.
Issaquah, WA 98027-2996

Old 99 Nursery
Ph. 360.330.1426
21610 Old Hwy 99 SW
Centralia, WA. 98531

Sky Nursery
Ph. 206.546.4851
18528 Aurora Avenue North
Shoreline, WA 98133

Secret Gardens Landscape Supply

Ph. 360.379.3900
13570 Airport Cutoff Rd
Port Townsend, WA 98368

There’s Still Time for Lunch! Attend an Eat In on Labor Day

In just three days, people in all 50 states will sit down to share a meal and bend the direction of history just a little bit. Together, we are publicly rejecting the notion that our schools can’t afford to feed kids anything but the bad food that makes them sick. And the way we’re making this statement is by bringing neighbors together in the spirit of good will and for the joy of sharing good food. That is the heart of our movement.

Attend an Eat-In on Labor Day! There are now 296 taking place in cities and towns across America. Let’s reach 300 and more!

This fall, the Child Nutrition Act, which is the bill that governs the National School Lunch Program, is up for reauthorization in Congress. By passing a Child Nutrition Act that works for children, our nation can support a future where children’s health and healthy food systems are prioritized.

It’s important that you sign this petition at:

If you missed the Orca School/Slow Food Seattle Eat In on September 3, plan to attend one of these on Labor Day!

Eat-In for North King/South Snohomish Potluck

When: 6:00 p.m.

Where: Marina Beach on Admiral Way South, Edmonds, WA

Contact: Mina Williams – foodwriter@earthlink.net


Bring a dish and beverage to share, your reusable plate, cutlery and cup plus any comfort items – chair, blanket – you wish to enjoy the seaside park.

  • Come to the panoramic Marina Beach on Admiral Way South for the northend/south county Eat-In.
  • Enjoy the bounteous potluck with your neighbors as the sun sets on Puget Sound and the Olympics.
  • Plenty of parking at the park, which is just north of the off leash dog park and just south of the dry dock area and the boat moorage at the Port of Edmonds.
  • Bus service available through Community Transit servicing the Edmonds Ferry Terminal and Edmonds Station (Amtrak and Sounder). The closest stop is on Dayton with a few blocks to walk.

Slow Food Snoqualmie Valley Potluck

When: 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Where: The Grange Cafe in Duvall, WA

Contact: Alida Sullivan – alidasullivan@gmail.com

$15 per person (SF members $10) KIDS 12 AND UNDER FREE!

  • A delicious meal by local foodies & chefs with local produce/meat
  • Taste tests for kids ~ grilling demo ~ healthy lunch & snack ideas nutrition facts ~ updates on local farm-to-school programs
  • Slow Food Membership Drive to get benefits and discounts with a donation amount of your choice
  • Book-signing with Jill Richardson, author of Recipe for America ~  a vision of a sustainable food system