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The Ozette potato is a petite heirloom fingerling type potato that grows to be between 3 and 7 inches in length. Its form, tubular and slightly lumpy is covered in a thin, tan colored skin speckled with brown freckling and deep set eyes. The flesh of the Ozette potato is creamy white and firm. When cooked, the Ozette develops a dense yet creamy texture and offers a rich, slightly sweet and earthy flavor with nuances of roasted chestnuts.
Ozette potatoes are available late summer into the fall.
The Ozette potato, botanically known as part of Solanum tuberosum, is also known as Anna Cheeka’s Ozette and Makah Ozette. Though not a commercially successful variety, the Ozette has an important place in the potato history of North America as it is considered to be one of the only potatoes to come straight to North America via South America rather than first being taken to Europe by the Spaniards then later on to the Americas during European colonization. In 2006 Slow Food Seattle, the Makah Nation, the Seattle chapter for Chefs Collaborative, a handful of farmers, and a seed production laboratory for the USDA joined forces to increase production and further regional awareness of the Ozette variety in the Pacific Northwest. This successful campaign has made the Ozette seed available to multiple small farms and subsequently, the delicious potatoes it yields to nearby farmers markets and restaurants.
For over 200 years the Ozette potato provided an important source of carbohydrates and nutritional sustenance for the Native Americans of the Makah Nation. The potato additionally provides vitamin C and potassium as well as some dietary fiber, iron and vitamin B6.
Ozette potatoes can be utilized in preparations where fingerlings or petite potatoes are called for. They can be cooked with or without their skin on as the entire tuber is edible. Ozette potatoes are said to be at their best when steamed, pan-fried or roasted. Steam whole then crush slightly with a fork and brown in the oven dressed with olive oil and fresh herbs to enhance their naturally nutty flavor. Use halved in warm potato salads or grated and incorporated into potato pancakes. Halved or whole Ozette potatoes can be roasted simply with olive oil and sea salt then served as an accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats. Steamed Ozette potatoes can be mashed and used as a stuffing for savory hand pies and samosas or pureed and used to make potato bread. Like most potatoes the Ozette should be stored in a cool, dry and dark location until ready for use.
For 200 years the Ozette potato was a staple crop in the diet of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans of the Makah Nation. The potato was given the name Ozette as an homage to one of the villages of the Makah Tribe located near Neah Bay where the potato was first grown in North America. Traditionally the Ozette potato was prepared by the Makah people roasted in a fire pit.
The Ozette potato first made its way to North America via Spanish explorers in the 1700s. The Spanish had been in South America and after their conquests there made their way to North America in efforts to expand their empire. In 1791, the Spanish established a fort at the most northwesterly point in the United States at Neah Bay in Washington State. As was customary at the time they planted a garden filled with crops they had brought from South America and Mexico, one of which was a potato that would later come to be known as the Ozette. After less than a year the Spanish abandoned the fort as severe weather made the harbor an unsuitable location for docking their vessels. The Makah Indians of Neah Bay maintained the gardens and quickly adopted the potato as it provided a much-needed source of carbohydrates. It was not until the 1980’s that the Ozette potato was cataloged and seed made available for growing outside of the Makah Nation. In 2005, the Ozette was recognized by Slow Food to be a historically significant potato and soon after a campaign was started in Washington State to increase awareness, seed availability, and usage of the potato throughout the Pacific Northwest. It is primarily grown today in home gardens and on a handful of small farms in the United States.
Recipes that include Ozette Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Full Circle||Pan-Fried Makah Ozette Potatoes|
People have spotted Ozette Potatoes using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.
Bear Foods, Chelan WA
Washington, United States
About 207 days ago, 4/03/16
Spotter's comments : I spotted organic heirloom Makah Ozette Potatoes at Bear Foods, Chelan WA! Perhaps planting several in my garden too. ;)
Bear Foods, Chelan WA Washington, United States
About 274 days ago, 1/26/16