Today is National Potato Day 2013! Supported by Bord Bia, with members of the Irish Potato Federation and Irish Farmer’s Association. The national day of the humble spud means lots of potato fun around the country. Events are planned throughout today. Check www.potato.ie for details of what’s on near you. Of course, we also take time today to reflect on the history of potatoes in Ireland. Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first examples to this country in the late 1500’s. Through the following centuries, they became a popular staple here and throughout Europe. Ireland’s Great Famine of 1845-1849 was caused by diseased potato crops nationwide. An incredibly sad time, when families were devastated by loss of life. This particular slice of history illustrates how important the potato had become in feeding the nation in that time. Luckily Ireland now has a thriving potato crop. Irish households still rely on it as part of the daily main meal. So yes – it truly deserves a day of celebration. Several varieties are grown. Familiar ones include Kerr Pink, Golden Wonder and Roosters. This time of year, seasonal summer Homeguard and Queen’s new potatoes are in peak condition. Small holders who grow crops without the use of chemicals, choose blight resistant varieties like Orla and Sarpo, among others. We all love spuds. All hail these simple vegetables. Where would we be without them?!