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Unusual Potato with Unique History Subject of Upcoming Workshop

 Makah/Ozette tubers.
Makah/Ozette tubers. Click image for a larger version

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The Makah/Ozette potato, a small spud with a long and unique history, will be the topic of an educational workshop hosted by Washington State University and the Swinomish tribal community.

Titled “The Story of the Makah/Ozette Potato,” the workshop will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. The Center is located at 16650 State Route 536 (Old Memorial Highway) west of Mount Vernon. The public is invited to attend.

It is believed that the fingerling potato was brought to the Olympic Peninsula and planted by Spanish explorers directly from the Andes Mountains of South America in the 1700’s. It was introduced to the Makah Indian tribe living near Lake Ozette long before other potato varieties were transported from South America to Europe, and then brought to America’s east coast by European colonists. Makah tribal members have maintained and preserved the variety over the centuries.

The Makah/Ozette is a thin-skinned potato described as having a nutty, earthy flavor and a dense, creamy texture. They are about an inch in diameter and up to seven inches long.

Recently the potato was recognized for its outstanding culinary attributes, being added to the Slow Food organization’s Ark of Taste. The Ark is a roster of traditional foods recognized by the Slow Food organization for their history and taste.

The workshop will explore the history, cultivation and culinary aspects of the potato, and of course will feature Makah/Ozette potato appetizers.

Driving directions to the WSU NWREC are available at http://www.mtvernon.wsu.edu/ and more information is available by calling 360/848-6134.

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Media Contacts

Debra Inglis, WSU Mount Vernon NWREC Interim Director, 360-848-6134