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It’s planting season, so I thought I’d write about the potato. (pratai) I had a vegetable garden up until a few years ago, I planted tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers & rhubarb. Now I only have a few peach trees. Growing up in Ireland I sowed potatoes, picked potatoes & brought a potato to school with me every day. We knew as kids that the potato was the main staple in our diet. As we all know, the potato has a starring role in a lot of Irish dishes. The potato is the 5th most important crop in the world. Some benefits of the potato include fiber, vitamin C, potassium, copper, contains antioxidants, and its naturally gluten free. It has claims of reducing inflammation & promoting sleep because it has tryptophan, a natural sedative. (same as in turkey-an amino acid).

We are famous for our potatoes, but China produces and eats the most potatoes per year. A few facts about potatoes. It’s said that the potato originated in the Andean mountains in South America, unlike many other food’s potatoes were able to be grown at high altitudes. Potatoes were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers who ‘discovered’ them in South America. Since the potato is a good source of vitamin C, they were brought on the ships to prevent scurvy. (disease caused by a deficiency of VC by swollen bleeding gums) Some types of potatoes in America include russet, white, yellow, purple and sweet potato.

A few types of potatoes in Ireland include: Aran banners, kerr pinks, golden wonder, record & queens. The most expensive potatoes in the world, la bonnotee, are found on the French island of Noirmoutier. People who follow the Jain religion don’t eat potatoes because it’s a root vegetable. I’ve heard a lot of things in my life but that is a hard one to accept. While potatoes are usually packed in a plastic bag it’s usually better to buy them individually from a bulk display. Potatoes should not be sprouting or have green coloration this indicates that they may contain the toxic alkaloid SOLANINE. It has been found to cause depression, headaches and diarrhea. Potatoes last 1-2 weeks normal room temp or if you store them in cooler 50* place, in a dark area they can last two months. (don’t put in fridge) The potato famine (Great Hunger) began in 1845 when a fungus spread throughout Ireland. The disease on the crop ruined up to a half of the potatoes causing a disastrous impact on Ireland. Sadly, we lost at least two million of our countrymen during the potato famine. May they rest in peace.

I found a story about the impact of our words…  As a group of frogs were traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them. However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying, and they proceeded to try and jump out despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out. Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying, and he gave up, falling to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time. Moral of the story:

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before you say it, It might just be the difference between life and death. And, ignore the naysayers!

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