Potato Cellars and Tea Party

Potatoes are the main crop in this marvelous valley where I get to live. A few months ago one of the historical organizations here in the San Luis Valley of Colorado posted a video on Facebook of a young woman, Zoe Rierson, who is writing her Master’s Thesis on the Potato Cellars of the San Luis Valley. I am fascinated by them. I saw my first potato cellar soon after I moved here as I was driving between South Fork and Monte Vista. I thought it was beautiful. It is the one in the featured photo and like many of these structures, it is made of adobe.

Potato cellars of this type are unique to the San Luis Valley and have recently been listed as important structures that are vanishing from Colorado. This is listing is good because it could lead to some of them being preserved and protected.

I shared Zoe’s video on Facebook, and my neighbor and I talked about it. I told her I’d love to do paintings of the potato cellars.

It turns out that Zoe is a friend of my next-door neighbor, and today my neighbor hosted one of our tea parties and invited Zoe. We got our own little presentation and it was absolutely fascinating. We also know where to go to find more of these potato cellars.

It was a wonderful afternoon, and we’re planning an “adventure” with a picnic lunch and watercolors. Here’s the video 🙂

17 thoughts on “Potato Cellars and Tea Party

  1. Picnic and watercolors?! I wanna be at the tea party, too! Oh, no–the new potato cellars have no charm. Painting them would so lovely, Martha. They need some sort of remembrance.

  2. We used to have root cellars here because it’s cold down there and you could store root vegetable for long periods. I don’t think there are ANY now. The farms are gone and Massachusetts is 60% forest — and ALL that forest were originally farmland. Which is where you’d have found the cellars,

    Thank you for the presentation. It’s nice that some “old things” still exist.

  3. That sounds like a wonderful outing — exploration, food, painting! Much more meaningful than the currently popular wine and painting parties hosted by restaurants and “taught” by somebody who paints a picture for everybody to copy. The potato cellars provide some interesting history of your area, and how fun to come home with a painting of that history. I’ll really look forward to seeing your paintings!

  4. I guess they are a little like root cellars – which I LOVE. I always look for them in the hillsides of the farms around here. My husband even ‘made’ me one by removing some of the cinderblocks in the basement so I could store my potatoes and sweet potatoes on some boards he placed he used to form a mini-table in the crawlspace under our kitchen. Most years it works great unless the winter is too warm. Next time I visit the Teton Valley in Idaho where my bestie lives, I’ll look for potato cellars.

    • They are root cellar but the scale… In Idaho they’re sometimes normal buildings with dirt piled up against two sides and the back, and sometimes they’re dug into a hillside. We don’t have any hills here in the San Luis Valley but people here have always built with adobe so that was a natural choice. 🙂

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