Interesting article in The Guardian today Alys Fowler: Sárpo potatoes | Life and style | The Guardian: - found this extract especially useful
When late blight, Phytophthora infestans , hits, crops have to be sprayed 15 times or more. This is expensive and unsustainable. Therefore a potato that shows extreme blight resistance is of great importance. In the official scale of resistance, the Sárpo (pronounced "Sharpo") family are the highest ranking.
Sárpo potatoes were first bred in Hungary by the Sárvári family. Their work has continued through the Sárvári Research Trust in Wales, which looks for blight-resistant varieties of potatoes (and tomatoes, hurrah!).
'Sárpo Mira' has fast become a favourite for home growers, along with its sister, 'Sárpo Axona'. These are red late maincrop potatoes. The leaves may get battered and blackened, but below the ground the tubers are fine. They are also virus-resistant, unmarred by slug damage and don't mind drought. Plus, they have a long dormancy period so they store incredibly well.
They have been described as "peasant survival food" and they are: floury is a good description, but they're good for roasting, chipping and mashing. There are others in the family: 'Blue Danube', with its blue skin and white flesh, is one of the best roasters I've found. And for a waxy potato, try 'Kifli', which you can buy through Thompson & Morgan – it is said to have a wonderful flavour of new potatoes and all the blight and disease resistance of the Sárpo family. The Sárvári trust is doing something extraordinary in its breeding programme, offering a solution for low-carbon, low-input crops. It needs our support – and hell, when we are running for the hills, we'll need its potatoes. I suggest you head to your nearest potato day (Garden Organic's is on January 28 and 29), buy some Sárpos, grow them and read up on seed saving.
We grew some Sarpo Mira last year and it was very successful for us - did anyone else grow any of the family?