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Russian Potatoes

 

 

In Russia they grow potatoes. I mean everyone in every rural villages, in every back yard is a garden filled with flowers and potatoes. Oh, and some green cabbages. The outer leaves of the cabbages have been removed, so they look like big green shiny, bald heads as they sit up on their stalks.

 

Image by Rensina. Russians going shopping in Eastern Russia. 
 
They are still growing and alive. So instead of harvesting them all, they just cut one off as they need it and the others keep on; in the ground just doing what cabbages do and waiting for theit turn to be picked. How brilliant is that?
 
The potato plants still have their white flowers atop the glorious lush green stems of the plants and they dominate all the gardens. If you’ve ever been privileged enough to eat Russian dumplings with home made mayonaise you’ll understand why they grow the finest potatoes in the world.

“If you’ve ever been privileged enough to eat Russian dumplings with home made mayonnaise you’ll understand why they grow the finest potatoes in the world.”

Against the bright blue cottages, the garden colours are vivid and show a romantic rural picture.
 
We are driving from Zarabino, a tiny port town on the far Eastern coast of Russia to Mongolia on one leg of our Australia to Switzerland Journey.
 
We stay off the extremely rough dirt ‘Trans Siberian Highway’ and drive on smaller (but just as rough) tracks to see more villages and have some interaction with the local folks.
Working the land in Eastern Russia
Working the land in Eastern Russia

On the sides of the roads as we drive slowly through the potholed tracks in the villages, buxom  breasted, voluptuously molded women sit together on tiny stools in rows. They often sit outside their homes.

“Adorned with bright headscarves the women create a bobbing rainbow as they interact with each other.”

In front of them in well worn, pewter coloured metal buckets is the excess produce from their gardens. Most of the buckets are filled to the brim with golden potatoes.
 
Solemn faces gaze curiously as our dark green Land Rover stops. I emerge and walk purposely towards the women. The small potatoes look delicious, piled high with the deep brown earth still clinging to them.
Small town bakery
Small town bakery
I point to the bucket and ask one of the women in Russian, how much the potatoes are. “Skolka?”

The women stare at me hearing the foreign accent; I point to myself and say “Afstrali’ and they immediately begin to chatter amongst themselves.

Warm smiles break out and working womens, calloused hands are outstretched to me in welcome. I hold my hand out with rubles and one woman takes a few coins from my palm. It really is a pittance.
Potatoes dumplings
Potatoes dumplings

I take the whole bucket full and drop them into my bag. ‘Oh so many’, Spaseeba” I say as I hold my hands out wide.

The women laugh goodheartedly making their generous bodies wobble; still chatting to each other in their beautiful language.   

Da Svidanya’ I say in my limited Russian with an Australian accent, a smile and a wave and they all respond, “Da Svidanya’.

We ate those beautiful Russian potatoes for a month and created a lifetime memory.