Harvested in September, Anya potatoes intriguingly take their name from Anya Linden, a Sadlers Wells ballerina who married Lord John Sainsbury of Preston Candover in 1963. A variety exclusive to Sainsbury’s, the potato is a cross between the Désirée and Pink Fir Apple and was developed in 1996. Anya potatoes typically have a unique, long, knobbly oval shape, a nutty flavour and creamy, waxy flesh.
They are grown on a 500 acre Norfolk farm by Stephen Lewin and his son Nick. 400 tonnes of Anya potatoes are grown here annually over 30 acres of the farm, where this relatively tricky crop to grow thrives well in the sandy Norfolk soil. The Lewins use a bespoke designed machine which gently re-covers the Anya potatoes with soil following any heavy rainfall – preventing greening on these delicate tubers, looking after them perfectly.
The main harvest is in September, when the Anyas are kept in cool dark potato stores, putting them into a gentle “sleep” – taste isn’t affected and it ensures they remain perfect all year round. Anyas are excellent salad potatoes or delicious served simply steamed and tossed in butter, parsley and mint. Taste the Difference Anya Potatoes are available all year round at £1.50 for 750g.
The Food Hall Fame
Perhaps naming a humble potato after your one and only seems like a funny declaration of love, but actually it’s more common than you might think. There’s even a Veal pie à la Dickens. Eggs Benedict; Caesar Salad; Granny Smith Apples; and Pavlova (also named after a ballerina!) all take their names from historical figures. Earl and Lady Grey made it romantic and the Italians really went for it with their Bellinis; Carpaccios; Pizza Margharitas and Garibaldis. In fact, potatoes prove to be particularly popular, with Maris Piper, King Edward, Vivaldi and Charlotte all regulars in our kitchen. So forget the stars of Hollywood Boulevard – it turns out having a food or delicious dish named after you is the way to be remembered!