John Mishanec, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Most people do not give potatoes much thought. For a while, potatoes were on the outs because of the popularity of the many low carb diets. But people just love potatoes and it’s hard to keep a good vegetable down.
Potatoes are grown in most regions of the country. If asked to name a potato variety, most people would be hard pressed to come up with a single variety name. Yukon Gold is probably the variety with the most name recognition. It originated in the Pacific Northwest. It has name recognition because consumers could recognize it for its yellow flesh. Another variety with name recognition is one of the russet varieties, Russet Burbank. This variety was also developed out west.
Potato varieties grow best where they were developed so western varieties do not grow well here in the east. New York farmers would like to grow Yukon Gold or Russet varieties but they yield very poorly and many growers say they will go broke growing those varieties. New York has one of the best potato breeding programs in the country at Cornell University. Cornell has developed many great varieties.
The New York potato harvest season is beginning and you will want your customers to come back and ask for the great potatoes they bought from you. The only way they can do that is if you tell them what variety they are purchasing. New York varieties have great flavor, good cooking characteristics plus a wide range of textures and colors. Potatoes are one of the vegetables grown in NY that you can get almost year round. And best of all, they have not traveled 2000 miles.
Adirondack Blue – low starch
A new potato that is very popular because of its blue skin and blue flesh. Excellent flavor. You cannot go wrong with this potato. Combined with Adirondack Red and a low starch white potato, makes a great red, white and blue potato salad. People love the color. Good for showing your patriotism.
Adirondack Red – low starch
Another new potato developed by Cornell. It has red skin and flesh. It’s great for potato salad. People love the pink flesh color. You can make great chips from both the red and blue varieties.
Keuka Gold – intermediate starch content
A pail yellow fleshed variety with good disease resistance. Very good eating quality, and also the highest-yielding variety ever released by Cornell. This is why many farmers like this variety.
Salem – low starch content
Round to oblong, slightly flattened fresh-market variety with bright white skin. Has probably the best flavor of any potato you will find. Try it and you will be hooked.
Eva – intermediate starch content
A very attractive white-skinned variety, released by Cornell in 1999. The tubers have shallow eyes and bright skin. Does everything well in the kitchen and has good flavor. Named after the mother of the Cornell potato breeder who developed it.
Lehigh– low starch
This is the newest variety released by Cornell. It is a good looking table-stock potato. Good boiling quality. Has a pail yellow flesh
Carola – intermediate starch content
Gold skin and bright gold (yellow flesh). Very moist cooking qualities. A European variety that has gained some acceptance here in NY.
Katahdin – intermediate starch content
An older fresh market variety, and the most widely grown variety in NY in the 1950s through the 70s. White flesh and bright white skin. Developed in Maine, and named after Mount Katahdin. Good all rounder and stores very well.
Chieftain and Red Norland – low starch content
Both are red varieties that are widely grown in NY. Good eating quality. Great for mashed potatoes. Both are the standard red varieties.
Area Vegetable IPM Educator, retired
Cornell Cooperative Extension