…And the Best Potatoes Are…Norwis Chefs!

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Some people dance around the maypole when the merry month of May comes around. Some only think about dancing around the maypole!

At Green Thumb Farms, we don’t need a maypole. We’re more likely to dance around the farm machinery because we mark the start of May by planting the world’s most delicious potato – the Norwis.

Weird name, I know. But this is a name for potato lovers to remember. In fact, it’s the potato that has made us famous with potato connoisseurs. In these days of farm to table and sourcing for the best ingredients, our Norwis is the go-to potato!

The Norwis was bred and developed by Frito-Lay, Inc. in 1965 to be the basis for better potato chips. And better chips it does indeed make! And also lots of other delicious edibles, too –especially french fries – that I’ll tell you about in a bit.

If you are a lover of potatoes, you aren’t alone. Potatoes are, believe it or not, the most consumed vegetable in the United States and are one of the most popular food staples worldwide.

All of us at Green Thumb Farms love them too!

What’s So Great About Norwis Potatoes?

The Norwis Chef is our signature potato, and we’ve been growing them for over 20 years now.   “Chef” is an official term that describes the size of the Norwis potato, which is big.

And I mean big. Each potato can and often is 4” wide. That’s a lot of flesh!

The flesh of the Norwis, by the way, is impressive. It’s creamy or light yellow-colored, typical for what is known in potato circles as “round whites.”

But there’s nothing typical about this potato!

It was bred as a frying potato and has a unique ability to absorb very little of the frying oil. That eliminates a greasy French fry or an oily potato chip. What’s more, it has an intense “potato-y” flavor that keeps even us coming back for more.

My father-in-law, a HUGE potato fan, likes the Norwis best. He calls them “dessert.” Of course, he doesn’t eat it for dessert but the point is, it’s so tasty that it almost could be. He has a habit of eating at least two servings of potatoes, I believe the first serving is “dinner” and the second serving is “dessert!”

I’m inclined to agree with his assertion that the Norwis are the best!

There was a time, before I became a Thibodeau and potatoes became my main concern, when I thought a potato was a potato was a potato.

DSC_0939brightI was misinformed! Now that I’ve tasted the Norwis, I’ve become spoiled. In fact, I use the Norwis for nearly every potato dish my family enjoys, from baked, mashed, fried, roasted, and more. French fries are where the Norwis really stand out above all the rest and I’ve become, I must admit, a bona-fide French fry connoisseur.

But don’t take my word for it. The proof is in the “10 Best Places in the Entire Country to Get Fries” list (www.tabelog.us, a site for serious foodies). According to Tabelog, the second best fries in the country are at Duckfat in Portland, ME (www.duckfat.com) where they use our Norwis Chefs to craft their astonishing Belgian fries. They even list us by name on their menu!

We’re so proud!

Our customers call these high-achieving potatoes “Green Thumb Chefs” or “Winter Keepers.” We harvest them late in the season and both we and our customers appreciate the fact that they keep well over the winter.

The key to using these potatoes to their best advantage is to warm them to room temperature before cooking. And as for cooking, you know now that these are the best potatoes for frying. Let’s look at the process for turning out amazing French fries, the best potato dish ever!

How to Make Homemade French Fries

If you’ve stored your potatoes in a cool, dark place, bring them into the warmth 2-3 days before you intend to cook with them. The goal is for the flesh to reach 55 – 65° F. You can take a sample temperature to make sure if you want to be precise.

The best recipe for french-fried potatoes –Norwis, of course – is to first blanch and fully fry as a second step. Here’s how:

  • Cut the potatoes by hand or with a fry cutter to the size you want and place them in room temperature water to soak for 2-3 hours.
  • While the potatoes are soaking, get your frying oil up to 320°F.
  • Remove the potatoes from the water and set in a strainer, shaking off as much water as possible
  • Add the fries to the frying basket, blanch (lightly cook) from 1.5 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the fries, but don’t cook so long as to see the fries change color.
  • Remove the fries from the oil and shake and drain the basket as much as possible.
  • Lay them on a parchment or butcher-paper-lined sheet pan (never put them directly onto a metal pan or they’ll oxidize and turn black. Not pretty!) while all the fries are blanched.
  • When you are ready to serve the French fries, heat the oil to 350-375° F. Put handfuls of the fries into the frying basket, filling it no more than ½ full, and fry for 1.5 – 4 minutes until they reach the color you want.
  • Shake off the excess oil and place the hot fries on a towel-lined sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Eat and love every single bite!

It is said that there are at least 5000 potato varieties in existence. I’m pretty sure the Norwis is one of the tastiest!

6 Comments

  1. Do you sell Norwis chefs in Bangor area stores? What time of year?

  2. Thank you for asking Clark, but unfortunately we don’t have our Chefs for sale anywhere in the Bangor area currently. There are some times of the year when our smaller size A Norwis get used for our State of Maine bags that go to Hannaford, but it would be hard to give you a blanket time of year that the Norwis would be in that bag.

  3. Where are they on sale?

  4. Unfortunately we just recently sold out of these potatoes until the next harvest. We should have them back in stock by the end of October, at which point they can be purchased by coming directly to our farm.

  5. I have never herd of a Morris potatoes, but now that I have I have to try some.Where can I buy them,I live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan….???

  6. Unfortunately, our Norwis haven’t quite made their way that far west yet! The majority of our crop stays within New England, but we have begun making our way further south. Thanks for your inquiry.

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