The content of this webpage, and everything associated with this webpage, is independent of the Peace Corps and the United States Government, though I think they should read it too. This blog solely reflects the experiences and observations of Jake DeBerry.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2008 is the Year of the Potato!

Did you know the United Nations claimed 2008 to be the year of the potato?!

Now, you're probably thinking of how lucky Idaho is...since they supply a lot of the potatoes for the States.

BUT...did you know that the potato is large point of pride for Peruvians. Sometimes when someone calls me a gringo, I'll reply, "soy mas peruano que la papa", which is, "I'm more Peruvian than the potato". That'll usually get a chuckle or two. Apparently, peruvians eat about 90 kilos per head per year. Where I live, I think they eat more than that though... Here is a picture of "toquish", quite possibly one of the smelliest foods on earth but these mountain folk love it. They drop potatoes in a barrel for a month or two, let them get all smelly and rotty and ferment, then bon appetit. ugh....

Potatoes were domesticated more than 7,000 years ago in Peru and is home to up to 3,500 varieties of edible tubers, according to the International Potato Centre. They grow the standard boring, white type on the coast...but those do make for great french fries I suppose.

Here in the mountains though, they grow all kinds of colorful and tasty varieties. For some reason, they aren't considered delicacies around the world...but they should be. My Dad would go nuts over some of the colors they come in. A little inside into the DeBerry family is that my Dad will often put 'garnish' on our plates when we're just having a family dinner. When we mention that he doesn't need to go to such lengths when it's only us, he replies the plate could use some more color!
The hope of the government this year though is to use the momentum of this being the 'potato year' and get some acknowledgment and turn it into profits. Right now, Peru exports a lot of asparagus, paprika, and artichokes...but only about $500,000 of potato exports. That's one of the problems with the agriculture in Peru is there is no organization. This country should be exporting avocadoes, flowers, bananas, peppers, mangos, lots of potatoes, and lots of other produce but they lack the organization...but they are working on it!
That's all for this one. Thanks for reading!
Love,
Jake

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