Ferris Jabr traveled to Peru; that trip transformed his thinking about potatoes. In this long form piece written for Modern Farmer, Jabr explains how a group of plant breeders, farmers and chefs are reinventing the potato and, in the process, attempting to transform American’s perceptions about potatoes in particular, and food diversity in general.

In an appeal that might encourage us to reconsider our thinking about the diversity of foods in our diet, he writes:

“Together, the rise of fast food chains and the pressures of industrial agriculture have enforced a bleak homogeneity on much of modern produce. By prioritizing comfort, cheapness and convenience above all else, we have sacrificed a lot of our food’s flavor, diversity and inherent nutritional value, not to mention the toll it’s taken on the pleasure of eating. Among all vegetables, the potato has likely suffered the most.”

For those interested in the origins and history of potatoes, there’s a terrific section in the middle of the piece that explores the storied past of the vegetable. (This alone is worth the price of admission).

To link to the full article, click here.


A note: This news bit isn’t just about potatoes; it is also about the magazine that published the article, Modern Farmer. The highly stylized magazine came onto the scene less than two years ago, and electrified the publishing world, winning a National Magazine Award in short order, and drawing praise for its writing, layout and style. Last week, it lost the last of its paid editorial staff in an ongoing dispute with the owner, Frank Giustra, leaving just two interns on board. Giustra says Modern Farmer will be back with an issue next summer. Read a brief history of the magazine and the latest news about the publication at NPR.