Green thumbs: Winners of the 2021 Arrowtown Spud Comp are, from left, Morgan Gardiner, Ian Todd and Marion Botherway


It got off to a good starch, but a couple of people made a right hash of Arrowtown’s seventh annual Spud Comp.

Last Saturday afternoon saw the judging of the hotly-contested event, hosted annually by The Fork and Tap, in which Arrowtown residents are given a seed potato, a bag and soil at the end of October and have until Waitangi weekend to outdo the rest.

This year about a dozen people entered the event, ranging from experienced gardeners to

Bags were meticulously examined by potato expert, Irishman Conor McNicholas, who foraged for spuds in a wheelbarrow before the taters were handed off to be weighed and counted.

Judging was based on the heaviest single spud, the weightiest clutch overall and the biggest yield.

Third overall was Ian Todd, who took the award for the heaviest potato, second was Marion
Botherway, who grew the most potatoes, and in front was the aptly-named Morgan Gardiner, whose spuds weighed 1.273kg.

The wooden spoon award — while not announced — had to go to local snapper Michael Thomas, who miraculously managed to grow a hash brown and some frozen chips.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the day, though, was Arrowtown-based charity Baskets of Blessing, which received all of the potatoes grown to turn into meals for those in need.