At Pasta Poetry, we’re passionate about supporting the produce that comes from our beautiful region of Victoria. Whether it be land or sea, the dishes we create for our customers to enjoy at home are grown and harvested with love and care by some of the country’s finest farmers, fishermen, winemakers and artisans.
In the first of a new producer spotlight series on our blog, it is our pleasure to introduce Spud Sisters, a family owned and run potato producer who supply us with the finest potatoes for our famous Nicola potato gnocchi. Let’s meet them!
Tell us about the history of your farm
For three generations our family has been planting, growing, picking, bagging, transporting, selling and delivering potatoes to the Melbourne hospitality industry and family kitchens. Our farm started in Ballarat’s Mount Pleasant, before moving to Green Hill, and is now located in Millbrook which is home to red, fertile volcanic soil that is fed by natural, underground springs.
The Ballarat region is renowned for the quality of its potatoes, and we take enormous pride in paying respect to the land that produces such a bounty that are enjoyed by so many. Giving back to the earth is vital to The Spud Sisters too, so we follow sustainable farming methods, raise potatoes from certified seed and use natural methods for pest and disease control.
What variety of potatoes do you produce?
We think all potatoes are special, however not all are created equal! Each variety of potato ranges in texture, colour, flavour and shape which lend themselves differently to different dishes and methods of cooking.
We produce and source the finest floury, waxy, gourmet and fingerling potatoes. Visit our website for a full guide on each varietal and how we recommend they are best used in cooking. From baking to frying, salads, mashes, pastas and curries – there is a potato for every occasion.
What variety of potato do you recommend for making gnocchi at home?
The team at Pasta Poetry have been using our Nicola potatoes to create the lightest, fluffiest gnocchi which have become a firm favourite on the fresh pasta menu. So first and foremost, we recommend trying their gnocchi if you haven’t already!
The variety of potato you select for your gnocchi will depend entirely on how you like the texture of your gnocchi. Everyone has their favourites, and chefs and cooks everywhere have a different preference. Nicola potatoes are classified as a ‘waxy potato’. They have a higher moisture content than other potatoes, so don’t absorb water during cooking and stay firm. This produces a soft and pillowy gnocchi that holds its shape perfectly during the cooking process.
If you’re looking to create a pan-fried gnocchi dish, then we recommend opting for a ‘floury potato’ such as Sebago or Yukon Gold. Lower in moisture, floury potatoes have a higher starch content which helps give them crunch and are ideal for roasting, baking and frying.
For the adventurous cook, we suggest experimenting with a gourmet or fingerling variety of potato. Although more delicate and difficult to harvest, their deep rich colours are highly sought after for aesthetics and antioxidant properties. A plate of purple or pink gnocchi is sure to impress!
How are people cooking with potatoes these days? Are there any trends you’ve seen?
Since the pandemic started, we’ve noticed a real shift towards home cooking. Community has become so important, and since lockdowns and isolations began, people have been dusting off old family recipes and getting back into the kitchen. This has been great for us as we’ve had a huge uptake in demand for potatoes as warming roast potato dishes, gnocchi and potato salads have made a comeback!
There is nothing quite like the act of cooking at home for loved ones, it brings so much joy, particularly during a time of uncertainty and unrest. We’re really happy and proud to be aligned with an organisation like Pasta Poetry that fosters and celebrates this like we do.