Later, Taters! Irish Abandoning Potatoes In Record Numbers

"A million a decade of human wrecks. Corpses lying in fever sheds. Corpses huddled on floundering decks, and shroudless dead on their rocky beds. Nerve and muscle and heart and brain, lost to Ireland — lost in vain."

So, where were we? Let's fast-forward to 2009. Obviously, healthy and delicious potatoes grow again in Ireland's lush farmlands. Although thousands of tons of potatoes are exported, there are still plenty in Irish restaurants and on Irish dinner tables. But the trending is clear: Rice and pasta, perhaps because they are faster to prepare, are replacing the beloved spud.

As if there aren't enough ironies in all this, the same blight that caused the Irish potato crop to fail and trigger the Great Hunger is now spreading throughout the United States — which IrishCentral was the first to report.

Officially called "late blight," it is ravaging farms and gardens throughout the Northeast. There is no treatment at this time, and agriculture officials have been able to do little but total the damages. Late blight is moving fast up the agenda of federal officials now that the news is being reported by major publications and the spread seems unstoppable.

It seems that the humble potato always manages to stay in the news.

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