|New Hampshire State Historical Marker|
in front of the First Parish Church, East Derry
mentions the first potato
|The Potato Shrine in East Derry, in the 1960s|
from the book Derry Revisited (see below)
|Potato souvenir on display at the Derry Museum|
In New Hampshire, local history is part of the fourth grade curriculum. A group of students from the Derry Village school have begun a drive to make the humble potato the New Hampshire state vegetable. They have enlisted State Representative John O'Connor to bring the bill to Concord. The students will be learning the legislative process as they follow their suggestion as it passes through the statehouse. This is a great learning experience for elementary school students!
I also think the story of the potato is interesting. Just remember that potatoes are a new world vegetable, just like pumpkins and squashes. The first Spanish explorers brought the first potatoes back to Spain and Europe from South America. The potato was so popular that it spread all over Europe quickly. Then in 1719 the potato made it to North America. What a migration story!
|The potato migration map|
from The Natural History Museum website
The potato genealogy:
Between 8000 and 5000 BC South American potatoes originated in Peru and Bolivia
1600s Potatoes brought to Spain when the Inca Empire was conquered
late 1600s and 1700s Potatoes spread all over Europe
1700s and 1800s White potatoes popularized in Ireland, grown almost exclusively over other crops
1719 the first Irish potatoes grown in Nutfield, New Hampshire by Scots Irish settlers
1840s - Potato famine in Ireland caused by Phytophthora infestans and a lack of genetic diversity in the potato crop
1800s - 2000s Eventually potatoes grown all over the United States in many varieties
2012 - Thousands of varieties of potatoes still exist in the Andes, and even more worldwide
For the truly curious:
Derry Revisted, by Richard Holmes and William Dugan, Acadia Publishing, 2005, see the photograph and story of the Potato Shrine on page 27.
The History of Londonderry, by Rev. Edward Lutwyche Parker, 1860, see pages 48 and 49 for the history of the first potato grown in Nutfield.
Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, NH, "Potato shrine here", 14 May 1962, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2209&dat=19620514&id=ubUrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1v4FAAAAIBAJ&pg=7359,1327539
Concord Monitor, Concord, NH "Derry representative, fourth graders want potato to be NH state vegetable", 4 December 2012
Derry News, Derry, NH, "Local lawmaker wants potato named state vegetable", 20 December 2012,
Local lawmaker wants potato named state vegetable
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo