Among many edible crops that emerged at the dawn of modern human civilization and managed to spread across the entire world, few managed to distinguish themselves by their ruggedness, storage quality and its nutritional value. The potato indigenous flowering plants of South America and the Andes mountains (modern-day southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia) managed to prove its usefulness to our ancestors, who cultivated it, nurtured it, and ensured its survival during the last 10,000 years of our history. Centuries, after they were introduced to Europe and North America, potatoes, represent one of the most important parts of world’s cuisine and the fourth-largest food crop in the entire world (following maize, rice and wheat). Today, extensive research and the centuries of selective breeding, we now have access to over a thousand different types of potatoes that are grown all around the world.
The story of potato started around 350 million years ago when they started to evolve from the poisonous ancestor of the plant nightshade (this family of plants eventually evolved not only into potatoes but also into tobacco, chilli peppers and bell peppers). Potato slowly evolved into its current form in the South American Andean highlands between Peru and Bolivia. Human settlers reached that part of our world around 15 thousand years ago and managed to domesticate wild potato around 8 millennia BC. From that point on, potato slowly started its journey across the continent, but it received great attention in the 1500s when first Spanish conquistadors started exploring beyond the coasts of South America, especially after 1530s when they searched for gold in Peru.
As of June 2020:
Potatoes are mostly grown all over Australia. Some of the regions include the Riverlands, the Murray region and the Gippsland Region. In addition to these locations, they are also produced in the Riverina, the Lockyer Valley and the Perth region in Western Australia.