‘Muchty helps make tatties great again

A potato dressed as Donald Trump was one of the star attractions at the Auchtermuchty International Potato Festival
A potato dressed as Donald Trump was one of the star attractions at the Auchtermuchty International Potato Festival

Already synonymous with such famous names as Sir Jimmy Shand, the Proclaimers and Dr Finlay, Auchtermuchty can now add another string to its bow.

The Howe of Fife town can lay claim to the title of tattie capital of the world after hosting the third international potato festival.

The event, the brainchild of potato expert John Marshall, is dedicated to all things spud, and attracts people from all over the area keen to demonstrate their stovie-making, potato juggling and even potatoes-in-fancy-dress skills.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, quite a number of spuds arrived dressed as Donald Trump.

There was even a countdown of the 10 best film scenes featuring potatoes, including The Martian, War and Peace and Poldark.

As in previous years, there was fierce competition in the stovie competition, with a range of new and creative dishes.

Alan Crocket of Newburgh emerged victorious this year, winning the coveted wooden potato masher hand-turned by John McWilliam.

Neal Robertson of Tannochbrae Tearoom dished up the steaming stovies so the audience all got the opportunity to taste and have their say, with table leaders taking a consensus and awarding points.

Between tastings there was array of activities, including potato printing, creating a best dressed potato, and a talk by John Marshall on subjects ranging from potatoes at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show to potatoes in the Caribbean .

The international potato festival was originally inspired by an unsung hero of the spud world, potato pioneer Archibald Findlay.

Findlay was a potato breeder whose achievements continue to have a far-reaching impact throughout the world.

Two years ago, some 93 years after his death, a plaque was unveiled in his honour at ‘The Old Factory’ in Auchtermuchty, a former linen mill he used as his seed warehouse.

He bred a number of new varieties following the Irish potato famine, including Majestic, British Queen and Catriona.

As part of the celebrations to mark the plaque’s unveiling, several tubs were planted around town, including one in the school grounds containing the Eldorado variety. In 1904, a four-ounce tuber feched £30 – the equivalent of several thousands of pounds today.

This year’s festival proved such a success that plans are already afoot for 2017.

“It was rumoured there was serious media interest from a passing film crew so preparations are already under way for a fourth potato festival,” said John.

“If you want to win the coveted wooden masher get cooking!”