Robinson Fresh and Albert Bartlett bring British potatoes to North America

Robinson Fresh and Albert Bartlett bring premium potatoes to North America. (Photo: Albert Bartlett)Robinson Fresh®, a division of C.H. Robinson, is now the exclusive provider of Albert Bartlett potatoes in North America. Albert Bartlett is a leader in the fresh and frozen potato market for the United Kingdom, and is increasing its presence in North America with headquarters in Denver and growers throughout the continent. “When we heard Albert Bartlett was looking for opportunities to further expand into the North American market, we knew we wanted to get involved,” said Michael Castagnetto, vice president of global sourcing at Robinson Fresh. “Albert Bartlett plays in a unique space in the food industry that we see as the forefront of consumer trends — the company prioritizes flavor to drive the category and provides a premium option to offer a meaningful culinary experience. As Michelin-star chefs and home cooks alike are utilizing this product, we believe this is the future direction of the produce industry.” More

Low carb potato variety wins New Zealand Food Award

Image result for LotatoesT&G’s Lotatoes has won The Ministry for Primary Industries Primary Sector Products Award at the 2017 New Zealand Food Awards. The category promotes, recognizes and showcases innovations in primary sector products, processing and packaging methods. Lotatoes came out on top with the judges being particularly impressed with the process used to naturally breed and sustainably grow the lower carbohydrate and fewer calorie potato that’s taken New Zealand by storm. “Lotatoes is a high-quality and delicious potato, sustainably grown right here in New Zealand by passionate farmers loved by kiwi consumers. We’re extremely proud of Lotatoes win at the 2017 New Zealand Food Awards,” says Andrew Keaney, executive general manager, T&G who accepted the top award. This potato, with 40% less carbs and fewer calories than other potato varieties, was developed by cross-breeding different varieties of potato seeds together. More

US: Red River Valley potatoes having good year

Potato growers in the northern plains region, which includes the Red River Valley on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, are enjoying healthy harvest yields, good quality and high demand. Red, and more so yellow varieties, have seen increases in market share in recent years. Ted Kreis, of Red River Valley Potatoes, said that the harvest has almost concluded for the year and yields have been above average for most potato varieties. “We grow all the main types of potatoes in the Valley for four fresh markets – fresh, seed, frozen processing and chips,” he noted. “The red and yellow varieties, in particular, have enjoyed above average yields, thanks to favorable growing conditions.” Consumers are turning more towards different colored potatoes, and the red and European yellow varieties are enjoying a surge in popularity. And despite the large volumes, demand is strong enough to absorb that stock. More

New potato variety with superior heat tolerance released in India

New potato variety in India, Kufri Lima, to take on the heat...Potato farmers in India can expect higher yields and profits with the release of a new variety, Kufri Lima. Developed in collaboration with the International Potato Center (CIP for its acronym in Spanish) and the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Kufri Lima, proved to be both early, heat tolerant and virus resistant, preferred traits by local farmers. It is the first CIP clone recommended for release in India. Earlier CIP germplasm was crossed with CPRI parents resulting in the release of eight varieties since 1975. According to Mohinder Kadian, a CIP Regional Research Scientist based out of New Delhi, earlier planting is possible with Kufri Lima due to its heat tolerance, giving farmers the ability to sell their potatoes at a premium price before other varieties hit the market. Other farmers have to wait for temperatures to cool down before they can plant. More

Turkey using local potato seed varieties to combat imports

Turkey’s Niğde Potato Research Institute aims to be more localised in the field of potato seeds. The Institute developed and registered indigenous seeds “Onaran 2015”, “Fatih”, “renowned”, “Nahita”, “Nam”, “Leventbey”, “Çanlı” and “Muratbey”in order to meet his goal. Ugur Pirlak, director of Niğde Potato Research Institute, said that they started breeding in 2005 to solve the problem of imported seed and that they registered 8 potato varieties. Referring to importance of producing seeds, Pirlak, continued as follows: “The largest cost of potato production is seed. The seed is imported from abroad and presented to farmers by replicating in this country. Of course, this situation greatly raises cost of our producers in potato production.” More

Dutch potato breeder HZPC books record turnover and gross profit

Related imagePotato breeder company HZPC, based in the Netherlands, announced during a shareholders’ meeting on 5 October that a consolidated net turnover of €318.5 million was achieved for the financial year 2016/17. The gross profit is €59.3 million and the net result is reportedly €8.5 million. A dividend of €7 per HZPC certificate has been determined, which is €1.25 higher than the previous year and €2 above the five year average. With this net turnover and gross profit, HZPC has achieved new record figures. A higher net profit was achieved in the financial year 2013/14. The takeover of the assets and seed potato activities of KWS Potato together with an acquisition in Russia have contributed to the higher HZPC year figures. In addition to this, the growth is also due to the continuing growth in seed potato acreage and the corresponding increase in seed crop production and -trade. More

US: Spud breeders focus on PCN-resistant russets

John O’Connell/Capital Press
Rich Novy, right, a potato breeder with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, saves breeding clones crossed from an Irish parent with late blight resistance while evaluating more than 100,000 first-year “single hill” clones Sept. 28 in trials hosted in Aberdeen.A project underway in Aberdeen, Idaho, aims to develop russet potatoes with resistance to pale cyst nematode, while identifying new molecular markers associated with resistance. Researchers with the local potato breeding program harvested a special block of first-year clones on Sept. 29, screened for their ability to help the industry cope with potato cyst nematode. The block contained a half dozen plants from each of 223 breeding clones resulting from crosses of Western Russet and Eden, a round Scottish variety with known resistance to potato cyst nematode. Joe Kuhl, a University of Idaho associate professor of plant genetics, will also use clones from the plot in genetic mapping research to identify new genes associated with PCN resistance. Kuhl said he’s midway through a five-year project focused on breeding PCN-resistant russets, funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. More

Israeli scientists develop more nutritious, colorful potatoes

FeaturedImage_2017-08-24_Flickr_Purple_Potatoes_5087912635_3f0480714e_bAre you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how to produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them. If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt. Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research. “Our findings may in the future be used to fortify a wide variety of crops with betalains in order to increase their nutritional value,” he said. More

Research: Whole food, purple potatoes may help prevent colon cancer

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Eating purple potatoes could reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, according to a new study. Pigs fed the vegetables found levels of a damaging protein that fuels tumours and other inflammatory bowel diseases were reduced by six times. Researchers say other colorful fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and red grapes, could bring the same beneficial effects. The study in pigs by an international team of researchers found purple fleshed potatoes suppressed the spread of colon cancer stem cells – even as part of a high calorie diet. Both uncooked and baked potatoes had similar effects. According to Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences, Penn State, white potatoes may have helpful compounds, but the purple potatoes have much greater concentrations of these anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant compounds. More

Canada: Cuban delegation eyeing Quebec potato varieties

Cuban Delegation Visits Seed Potato Companies in QuebecA Cuban delegation visited several seed potato companies in Quebec during August, visiting seed production fields, different types of mini-tuber production and in-vitro laboratory facilities in the province. It was the first time an official delegation from Cuba visited seed potato growers in Quebec. The visit was organized by Quebec based breeding, research and development company, Progest 2001 Inc. The Cuban delegation was headed by the National Director of Crops and also included members of the National Director of Seeds and the Potato Director of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Cuba (INCA). The delegation held several meetings with seed growers and seed companies across the province of Quebec. The delegation participated in a Potato Field Day organized by seed potato companies in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, evaluating potato varieties on display. (Further information from andre.gagnon@progest2001.com. Progrest 2001 website in French, English and Spanish)

Mexico: Zebra Chip-tolerant potatoes for the fresh market identified

Over the past few years, the potato production of US, Mexico, New Zealand and Central America has been under threat by Zebra Chip (ZC), a disease associated with the Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum bacteria, vectored by the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli). The disease turns part of the amide in soluble sugars so, when potatoes are cooked, sugars caramelise and streaks appear. Of course ZC is currently monitored with pesticides, but sustainable defence requires the development of resistant and/or tolerant varieties. Entomologists from the University of California Riverside, together with researchers from INIFAP (Mexico), characterised four promising potato lines (246, 865, 510, NAU) exposed to Cls-positive adult psyllids and monitored the vector’s behaviour towards the plants and the effects of the bacteria on the tubers. The potato lines were compared to ZC-susceptible variety Atlantic. More

Norway: NordGen potato collection accessions available for distribution

Rättviks röd (photo Simon Jeppson)

At present the NordGen potato collection consists of 72 varieties, breeding clones and landraces (local strains). For most of the accessions available for distribution, additional information can be found in the Nordic Potato Book (Potatisboken) produced by NordGen. Material from the NordGen in vitro potato collection are distributed on request all year round, depending of supply. The in vitro material is primarily for breeding, research and demonstration purposes. The available accessions can be found in the in vitro potato list. Multiplication of the material is often necessary before your request can be distributed, so please be aware that it might not be sent until some months after the request. Mini tubers are produced yearly from a subset of the collection and can be ordered by interested researchers, open-air museums, local history societies from February 1. Please contact Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson. You will then get information about availability and delivery time. (Source and further details: NordGen)

Canada: Varieties showing promise head to potato trials, buyers

More than 100 separate bushel baskets of potatoes were lined up on the grass at the Crop Diversification Centre South during the Centre’s annual field day held August 24 in Canada’s Alberta province. “Breeding is a long-term process which takes about 10 to 12 years to get to the market,” said Benoit Bizimungu, chief potato breeder with Agriculture Canada. “We start every single cycle with a really huge amount of different potato varieties…. We screen from 100,000 potential varieties every year. It’s a very long-term process but also a complex one. From that 100,000 we start every year, the expectation is to get hopefully one or two varieties.” Bizimungu said the potatoes on display at the field day are essentially an adaptation trial showing varieties selected at the research stage. The next step is to see how they adapt to different environments. “It’s the selection process that makes the difference,” said Alberta Agriculture potato research specialist Michele Konschuh. More

Agrico celebrates growth during stormy Potato Europe in Emmeloord

On Thursday 14 September, Agrico participated in a rainy Potato Europe 2017 in the Netherlands. Agrico celebrated its latest results together with affiliated growers at this leading international trade fair, held in World Potato City Emmeloord. Agrico demonstrated how it successfully does business with its growers to the potato sector at Potato Europe. The record amounts paid to growers last summer clearly show how relevant Agrico’s cooperative business model is today. Agrico celebrated this successful cooperation based on the enterprise of its growers with them on what was the only day of the trade fair. Innovative varieties are another driver behind Agrico’s growth – varieties that are in high demand and used to feed many people around the world. Fontane is one of the Agrico varieties that has been growing its market share for years. This high yielding French fry variety was in the spotlight at the event, as was Carolus that gives growers certainty about their yields thank to its unique resistance to phytophthora. More

Is US Russet potato supply down across the country?

While local Washington potatoes seem to have settled into a crop-size similar to 2016’s, suspicions are across the country that the Russet potato supply is down somewhat. “We grow close to the same every year–we might switch it up between the colours–but we’re hearing that acreages across the country are down somewhat,” says Dale Hayton of Valley Pride Northwest Produce in Mount Vernon, Wa, who adds that the Washington market is starting about a week late this year thanks to a wet planting season. “Particularly the Russets—we’re hearing those acres are off a pretty significant number.” Russet potatoes are the highest volume item in the potato category. “But that tightening of supply really helps the other potatoes in the rest of the category,” says Hayton. Hayton thinks there are a few reasons to the smaller supply this year of Russets. More