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item Brown, Charles - Chuck

Submitted to: Potato Progress
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2004
Publication Date: 12/9/2004
Citation: Brown, C.R. 2004. Specialty potato field trial of 2003. Potato Progress. IV(16):1-2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The term 'specialty potatoes' refers to a relatively small portion of the potato market. These are potatoes that have pigmented flesh or unusual skin color (e.g., purple skin). Yellow flesh potatoes are also considered to be in the specialty category. We conducted a yield trial at the USDA/ARS Systems Research at Paterson, WA site in 2003. The purpose of the trial is to evaluate performance of a large number of specialty clones and named varieties under commercial production regimes and to provide exposure to and samples for growers, the fresh market and processing industries. The yields of the highest yielding genotypes are comparable to mainstream varieties. There are examples of yellow flesh, red flesh and purple flesh genotypes that have total yields and yields of over 4 ounces that are similar to those of Ranger Russet and Norkotah Russet. The top yielders among the yellow flesh were the varieties Satina, Provento and Fabula. Among the red flesh types there was s a considerable range of performance with many representatives that have relatively small tuber size. Breeding lines PA97B21-1, PA97B23-2, N40-1, and POR00PG2-16 had total marketable yields comparable to Red La Soda, and higher than Dark Red Norland, although all of the breeding lines had yield of four ounce and above size less than Red La Soda. Specialty potatoes still have erratic markets. Buyers with large volumes are relatively unfamiliar with these types of potatoes and therefore tentative about buying them. In addition, the amounts of seed available are still very small. The evolution of this still tiny portion of the potato economy will be interesting to watch. A typical producer of specialty potatoes at this time would be a small scale highly diversified family farm that sells from its own roadside vegetable stand or in Farmers' Markets.