Spud Soars to Top Five in Idaho
By Marcia Wood
January 18, 2007
Delicious and versatile, Alturas
potatoes are also highly popular with knowledgeable growers. This tuber, from
Agricultural Research Service scientists
and their university colleagues, rates as the fifth most commonly planted
potato in Idahothe state that produces more potatoes than any other.
Alturas is suitable for processing not only into frozen potato products--or
dehydrated foods such as instant potato flakes--but also for fresh-pack sale in
supermarkets. That's according to
G. Novy of the agency's
Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen, Idaho, about 200
miles southeast of Boise. Novy is a co-developer of the top-ranked tuber, along
with Joseph J. Pavek and Dennis L. Corsini, formerly with the agency at
Aberdeen and now retired; plant geneticist
R. Brown with ARS at Prosser, Wash.; and university co-investigators in
that state, as well as in Idaho and Oregon.
After more than a decade of evaluationsincluding taste tests, trials
in research fields, and experiments at potato-processing plantsthe
scientists decided to offer Alturas potato to growers in 2002.
Their decision came after the tuber had, for example, met the exacting
standards of taste-test panelists and had, in the outdoor trials, yielded more
potatoes than the classic Russet Burbankthe "American Idol" of
the potato world, against which all promising experimental potatoes are
Alturas has a light netting or russeting, which distinguishes russets from
other potato types, on its light-tan skin, with white flesh inside.
Researchers named Alturas for a prehistoric lake that once covered much of
The tuber is one in a series of top-quality potatoes developed through the
collaborative research of ARS scientists in Idaho and Washington, and their
university colleagues in those states and in Oregon. The tubers help growers
satisfy America's appetite for potatoes, the nation's favorite vegetable.
Potatoes provide fiber, vitamin C, potassium and other important nutrients.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.