Auchtermuchty Majestic potato

Ark of taste
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The majestic potato was a national favourite for over 60 years and now on the verge of commercial extinction with only 1.5 hectares of seed produced in 2020.
It represents an important part of Fife food heritage, in particular the folk in the village of Auchtermuchty, where it is recognised as part of their rich heritage with a plaque unveiled in honour of its creator. Indeed, this variety was originally bred by Archibald Findlay in Auchtermuchty, in Fife, a semi-rural region of Scotland with a strong food history and very fertile lands, in 1911. It quickly became one of the most popular commercially grown potatoes from 1920 up to the early 1990s.
However, this variety is disappearing fast. It has become the domain of a handful of gardeners or allotment holders who still appreciate it. The old folk of Auchtermuchty were gifted a few bags a couple of years ago by a producer and were able to revisit the gastronomic experience of their youth. It was a lovely opportunity but now this too has gone. It would be lovely to recreate.
Today, the majestic potato is increasingly hard to find, and only one or two growers are left. Indeed, modern varietals have taken over and larger companies move onto more commercial types.
Compared to them, it has a poorer yield, being more susceptible to disease and does not lend itself to the supermarket environment.
It is a moister potato than what is generally popular in Scotland these days. However, those who recall it, compliment its flavour. Interestingly, when grown in England with the different climate, its character changes, and becomes much drier, demonstrating the importance of terroir. This multipurpose main crop is best for mash, with a smooth, creamy texture with an exquisite taste.
In most of today’s modern varieties you can find its pedigree present – in the modern-day Maris Piper and Rooster for example. Through breeding, its best characteristics have been retained in modern varieties but these same developments resulted in its own demise.
Majestic potato produces a good crop, with smooth skins that store well. The plants grow to a medium height and have white flowers. Although a main crop potato, they can often be harvested a few weeks before other varieties. Production is now restricted to a handful of specialist growers who in turn sell the seed to the secondary grower now gardeners/allotment holders who are the main drivers in helping to preserve its viability
Stuart Morris of Balgersho Farms Ltd, Fife, has the largest production acreage.
It is a successful ‘all-rounder’ potato in the kitchen – good for baking and boiling. Although generally agreed it is best for mash, they can also be used to make chipped and fried potatoes.
Potatoes can be used in a vast range of recipes however for mash potatoes, peel, quarter and boil in lightly salted water for approximately 25minutes (depending on size of potato chunks) until soft but not fallen apart. Drain, return to pan and mash – usually with butter although crème fraiche and black pepper can be delicious too. They create a fine creamy mash.
Creamed ‘mashed’ potatoes go well with a whole range of dishes: meat, fish, dairy, poultry and vegetarian.

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Territory

StateUnited Kingdom
Region

Scottish Lowlands

Production area:Auchtermuchty Municipality, Fife region

Other info

Categories

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Wendy Berrie, Andrew Skea