This Spud's For You

The organic food market has seen incredible growth in the United States, expecting to exceed $16 billion this year. The average U.S. adult eats about 136 lbs of potatoes every year. Put these two together and the smart money is on organic potatoes. Researchers at Oregon State University put their money where their... mouth is....

"We are interested in developing potatoes suitable for organics, and also on evaluating taste and chemical composition of the more promising lines," said Vales, OSU's foremost researcher on potato breeding and genetics. These are not GM potatoes, but instead are carefully selected and well bred individuals, adapted for the rigors of surviving in a North West farmer's field as she transitions from conventional to organic produce. The researchers are attempting to make growing the potato as organic as possible by selecting disease, pest, and stress resistant strains, limiting the amount of chemicals needed to grow the crop. They are also looking for market advantages over more common potatoes such as better taste, unusual shapes, different skin or flesh colors, and increased levels of phytochemicals. The new breeds of potato are trying to address the realistic need for massive production, recognizing that much of the large scale agriculture in the U.S. can not immediately adopt organic practices. These potatoes represent the forefront of the transition to a healthier and more sustainable way of farming our favorite foods. Organic French fries anyone? ::Medford News

Note: You may want to check out the mail order organic potatoes we covered from the other side of the coast- organic potatoes from sea to shining sea.

Tags: Oregon

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