Pros: Nice appearance, good potato flavor and remarkable silky-creamy texture.
Cons: Small yields on my first year of growing.
I grew potatoes in my garden for the first time last year. Naturally, I couldn’t confine myself to just one variety on my neophyte spud farming year. I planted four different organic heirloom varieties. I can honestly say that I prized each one of them for different reasons. All four varieties were favorites in different ways. The Sangre potato was my favorite by far for texture.
Sangre potatoes are similar in appearance to your run of the mill supermarket red skinned new potato. But they are nothing like those waxy workhorses. Sangres might get as large as tennis ball, and they have bright red skins over very pale yellow to white flesh. (My Sangres had notably lighter flesh than that shown in the image with this product listing.) With slightly dimpled eyes, the average Sangre is about the size of a golf ball or smaller.
The remarkable thing about the Sangre is the incredible creamy texture of the flesh. Although it looks like a waxy potato, I would say the Sangre is intermediate between a waxy and a starch potato. Even served whole, the flesh is so silken and rich that it was hard to believe I wasn’t eating decadent mashed potatoes with every bite. I’ve never encountered a potato with a texture like that in an unadorned state. We absolutely loved it.
The Sangre is an early season potato, needing 55-70 days to reach maturity. The plants put out a few pretty lavender once they got up to full size. All of the potatoes I planted grew well above ground. Below ground is where things varied enormously. While I saw a little ground rot in two of the other varieties, there was no such problem with the Sangres. Nonetheless, the Sangres produced the least of any of the varieties I tried. It’s true I didn’t do much in the way of mounding as the plants grew, which would have increased the production all around. Still, all four varieties got more or less the same treatment, and the yield on the Sangres was noticeably small.
Two of the other potato varieties produced quite a lot of “babies.” By this I mean minute potatoes with diameters less than the size of a dime. The Sangres didn’t seem to do this. I’m not really sure why two varieties did and two did not. While the babies of the other varieties were fun to fry whole, they were also rather irritating to clean and scrub, because they were so small. So I’m not really sorry that there were no baby Sangres.
I say the yield was noticeably small, because they were the first to be eaten up, except for a few potatoes I had set aside for re-planting this year. I looked long and hard at those seed potatoes when the rest were gone. I didn’t even bother saving seedstock from the other varieties. While I knew I’d be ordering more seed potatoes this year, I wanted extras of the Sangres, so that we’ll have a significantly bigger crop of these beauties.
The few potatoes I put aside for planting have stored well over the winter in an unheated garage, simply wrapped up in several layers of newspaper. I imagine they'll begin to chit soon as the weather turns from winter to spring. I have doubled my order of Sangres for this year, and intend to work a little harder on mounding the potato plants as they grow, in order to increase the yield.
I would definitely encourage gardeners who have not previously grown potatoes to give it a try. My first year with four different varieties was both a learning experience and a success. I suspect that each gardener will have his or her favorite potatoes for reasons of climate and personal taste. I would certainly recommend the Sangre as an heirloom variety to try. I have no doubt it will be among my heirloom potato picks for many years to come.
Other garden reviews
Seeds: Arugula Sylvetta, Peacevine Cherry Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Bleu de Solaize Leek, Kale Lacinato, Spicy Bush Basil, Dark Purple Opal Basil, Purple Ruffles Basil, Sangre Heirloom Potato, La Ratte Heirloom Potato, Cherokee Trail of Tears Soup Bean, Moon & Stars Watermelon,
Tools: Ironwood Dibble, Johnny's 520 Broadfork, Biostack Composter, Hori Hori Garden Knife, Forged Bypass Pruners, Anvil Pruners, Vigoro Polyleaf Rake, Ace Select-A-Spray Garden Nozzle, Buffalo Mud Boots, Pick Mattock
Reference books: Four-Season Harvest, Backyard Composting, 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden, Root Cellaring, Complete Guide to Making Great Garlic Powder, Great Garden Companions, Living with Chickens, Mycelium Running, Apples
Seed Vendors: Seeds of Change, Seed Saver's Exchange, Gourmet Garlic Gardens
Spud cookin' books: One Potato, Two Potato, Potatoes: From Pancakes to Pommes Frites