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  • FNQ Foodie

    Food writer

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    Humble potato a labor of love for these local farmers

    For the Poggioli family, a sense of common purpose and history helps them face trials and tribulations of life on the land.

    Growing the humble spud is a labor of love for the Poggioli family.

    Since 1904, the family has been farming on the Tablelands. Four generations later you’ll find three brothers Matt, Ricardo and Daniel hard at work from before the sun comes up till after the sun se

    I was lucky enough to sit down with this awesome family who run Primo Produce, one of the many growers of spuds and hay across the Tablelands.

    It got me thinking about how much we take potatoes for granted, how versatile they are, and just how much work goes into producing them.

    When was the last time you were eating a packet of chips and actually thought about how good spuds really are?

    They account for so much in our diets - both good and bad - and they can be roasted, fried, mashed, cooked in its jacket, made into a slinky (personally my favorite with chicken salt) or even boiled (I had shivers then thinking of boiled spuds that were put on my plate as a kid).

    How many of us know where are these spuds coming from? I personally thought they grew like weeds and they just popped out of the ground every now and then. But more and more I’m stopping to think about the food I eat and wonder how it gets on my plate.

    The Poggioli family produce what I honestly believe to be the best tasting spuds on the Atherton Tablelands.

    Their Royal Blue, Dutch Cream and Sebago spuds thrive in the red dirt up there.

    Spuds are not a short term product: they take up to 120 days to grow. So you can imagine each farm with their crops only get one shot each year. They are predominantly grown during the months of August through to mid-November, and it’s definitely a family affair on the Primo Produce farm where everyone digs in.

    The farm has a warm feeling about it. Everyone in the family is involved and are passionate about what they do. There is a closeness about this family that is just beautiful. These people make you feel welcome.

    Having a farm is not all unicorns and rainbows, of course. The challenges facing this business are massive.

    In addition to the rising costs of electricity and fuel, this year one of their farms will receive only the water that falls from the sky. They have been told by the authorities that they will not be able to use any of their allocated water for this financial year.

    Imagine how hard that would be. You are trying to manage a business, you have a license for a bore to which you are given an allocation each year. This allocation is dictated to the farms with strict regulations in place as to how much they can use. In some zones this year that number is zero.

    One way we can all help farmers facing these ongoing challenges is to buy direct from the farm when and where possible.

    I have said it before and I will say it again: it is imperative that we buy locally, and support our farmers working the land here in Tropical North Queensland.

    What kind of difference would it make to farmers, our health and our regional economy if more of us spent a day in the Tablelands once a month and did our shopping at roadside stalls?