The humble potato is anything but humble in the world of fresh market growers.
Producers can choose from hundreds of varieties, making choices on skin colour, flesh colour, size and myriad agronomic factors to meet the requirements of customers and consumers.
Michele Konschuh, a potato research scientist with Alberta Agriculture, worked on trials for no fewer than 134 varieties this year.
She told growers at a March 1 workshop in Lethbridge about some of the newer varieties and encouraged them to provide information on what their customers are looking for so it can guide future variety development.
Alta Rose: It has dark red skin, cream flesh, good flavour, high yield, mid-season maturity, medium dormancy and moderate scab resistance.
Alta Blush: It has smooth thin pinkish skin, good flavour, is said to make good mashed potatoes, was developed in Alberta, has mid to late maturity and high yields and stores well. It may be suitable for organic growers. It is sold out this year.
Other reds in development: Roko, Poppy, Bordeaux
AC Vigor: It is a new chipping variety with smooth skin, excellent taste and storability, high yield and early maturity. It is resistant to scab.
Alta Cloud: It has attractive russet skin and white flesh and is good for baking. It features full season maturity and high yields and is suitable for french fry and table use.
Alta Strong: It has an oblong shape, good flavour, high yields, mid-season maturity and medium dormancy and is suitable for french fries and mashed potatoes.
Blazer Russet: It has light brown skin and white flesh and is dual purpose, early maturing, resistant to external defects, scab and tuber blight. It also has short dormancy.
Pacific Russet: It is early maturing and has mid-season maturity, high yields, long dormancy and resistance to verticillium wilt and scab. It is popular in fresh market and sizes up fast.
Other white in development: Alaska Bloom
Capri: It has excellent taste and is early maturing, high yielding and resistant to scab and potato leaf roll virus (PLRV).
Citadel: It has high yields, high set, smooth skin, an oval shape and good cooking qualities.
Columba: It is early maturing, high yielding, oval and uniform and has good cooking quality and scab resistance.
Francisca: It is early maturing, high yielding and flavourful with smooth yellow skin and resistance to scab, blight and bruising.
Miss Malina: It is suitable for french fry or table use, has medium maturity, high yields and high dormancy and is resistant to scab, PLRV, potato virus Y (PVY), potato cyst nematode (PCN), blight and bruising.
Marilyn: It is a fingerling with high yields, yellow skin and flesh and moderate resistance to scab. It is good for roasting, boiling and steaming.
Nicola: This fingerling has yellow skin and flesh, mid-season maturity, resistance to scab and PLRV and a lower glycemic index. It is suitable for salads, boiling, mashing and roasting.
Satina: It has yellow skin and flesh, early to mid-season maturity, medium dormancy, high yields, organic potential and resistance to blight, scab, blackleg, internal rust spot, PVY, PLRV and bruising.
Other yellows in development: Montreal, Queen Anne
Penni: It is small but plentiful, has early maturity and good dormancy and is resistant to most diseases.
Other creamers in development: Yellow Star, Coquine, Rosa Gold