Ever wondered why schools have a holiday in October? Well it is all due to potatoes and picking them which in Scotland is called Tattie Howking. In fact in the 1940s a law was passed that children over the age of 13 should have this time off school to help with the harvesting of the important crop of potatoes.
Up until the war in the 1940s it was usually immigrants who did the tattie howking, but with the advent of war all men were needed on the battle field so the children became the cheap labour in the potato fields. This was the case until the 1980s when farm machinery took over this back breaking task. By then the school holiday was well established and continues to this day.
During the tattie howking children as young as 7 years old would work from 7.30am till 4pm picking the potatoes that had been turned over by the tractor and loading them into big baskets at the end of each row then emptying these into a trailer. In the mud and rain this was exhausting work.
Back in the 1800s potatoes were an extremely important crop, especially in rural areas and Ireland in particular where many people lived off a diet of mostly potatoes. There was a Potato Famine caused by plant disease called potato blight which wiped out the potato crop for 6 years. This potato famine killed more than a million people in Ireland as over a third of the entire population relied solely on the potato for food.
POTATOES, WHATS IN THEM?
For 100g of potato there is 77 calories
They also contain iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins C and B6
POTATOES, FUN FACTS
Potatoes are tubers and grow underground.
China is the world's biggest producer of potatoes.
There are thousands of types of potatoes inclusing Jersey Royals, King Edwards, Russets, Desiree and Fingerling.
The word potato comes from the Spanish word Patata.
Check out our Pinterest Board for more information and potato recipes.