Potatoes are prolific west of Interstate 95

The other day while I was driving along some potato fields, I noticed that some fields had potato plants with white flowers and others with lavender flowers.


It begged the question, ‘What is the relation of the color of potato to the color of its flower?”

If a potato plant has white flowers, it will generally be a white-skinned variety of potato. Potato plants that have colored blooms usually have a colored potato such as a red potato.

In the next few weeks, local farmers will be digging their potato harvest. Some local farms produce potatoes for the potato chip industry while others produce for fresh usage.

Compared to most other food crops, potatoes are easier, faster and require less fertilizer to grow. These are good things for our local environment.

It’s also a good thing that our county grows a lot of potatoes, especially when you consider that each person on the planet eats about 70 pounds of potatoes a year.

In the 2012 Census of Agriculture, it was noted that St. Johns County is the largest producer of potatoes in Florida. Another interesting fact is, the largest potato ever recorded was 18 pounds and 4 ounces in weight.

Potatoes are in the same plant family as tomatoes and both originate from South America. There are more than 200 species of wild potatoes and due to their popularity, over 4,000 varieties that were produced by selective breeding.

Potato is the first plant that was launched and successfully grown inside the space shuttle in 1995.

Take a ride out to Hastings, so you can gain an appreciation for the amount of land in the county devoted to agricultural production.

The population base in our county tends to be concentrated east of Interstate 95, so if you don’t head west, you will never appreciate all that our county has to offer.

On your ride, you may still see some cabbage and broccoli in production.