Monday, May 18, 2015

Potato Picking 05/14/15

Chinchero is known for its favorable potato growing conditions and many different types of potatoes. Luckily, the family that we were staying with owns a potato farm, and we were able to go potato picking. When we arrived at the farm, the members of the family were using hoes to rake up the potatoes. After the potatoes were raked, they started to place them on "mantas" or small blankets so that they could easily transfer them to the large potato sacks. We were instructed to just jump right in and pick as many potatoes as possible. We had so much fun learning about the many different types of potatoes and using the hoes to pick them. Then, one of the family members started to make a “huatia,” which is a form of an oven shaped like a dome that allows you to cook potatoes on the field. This “dome” is made using large clumps of mud and it is filled with eucalyptus leaves and potato brush. According to Professor Falconi, some celebrity chefs are starting to use this method to cook potatoes! When she lit the leaves, a fire immediately started. After heating up for forty minutes, the oven was ready and they began to put some of the potatoes that we picked inside. Next, they covered the potatoes with the heated mud clumps that made up the dome and then they completely covered the dome with dirt. After cooking for another forty minutes, the potatoes were ready. A few of us were nervous to eat them because they were not washed, but they smelled so delicious that we could not resist eating them after our hard day of work. They brought out a green salsa and cow cheese to accompany the potatoes and we all dug in. I can confidently say that they were the best potatoes that I have ever had. After thanking the family for kindly sharing their farm with us, we walked back to the house that we were staying at. On our walk, we saw large black pigs and their piglets, angry sheep, and oxen. We also got to try fava beans and see what quinoa plants look like. The ending of our walk was uphill. When we reached the top, we were all winded, as the Peruvian altitude tends to do to you. When we finally reached the house, we were all exhausted, but I think we would all agree that we could not have made it without the energy that the potatoes gave us.

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