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OSU potatoes target fry, gourmet markets

Two new potatoes from Oregon State University offer some important options for the spud industry, says plant breeder Solomon Yilma.

The debut of Sage Russet and AmaRosa in March marks the release of potatoes he feels will be important to the processing industry and provide a colorful gourmet market choice.

“The Sage Russet can be sold in fresh markets, and it gives processors a good new french fry potato,” says Yilma. “AmaRosa is a specialty variety with high antioxidants with an attractive red color inside and out, and offers a potato that will be focused on the fresh market, particularly the gourmet sector.”

Key Points

Oregon State has released two new potato varieties.

Production of the french fry and fresh market newcomers targets the PNW.

A new russet is outyielding comparable varieties.


Both potatoes are developed for production throughout the Pacific Northwest, and result from work under the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program, which licenses the varieties through the Potato Variety Management Institute. “These releases should do well in Idaho and Washington, as well as Oregon,” says Yilma. “I feel the variety can be grown well throughout most of the Western states.”

Sage Russet has a medium-early maturity, producing long, somewhat flattened tubers with medium russeting, he says. Total yields equal Russet Burbank and Ranger Russet levels, adds Yilma, adding that “the percent of U.S. No. 1 tuber yields equal those of Ranger Russet and Russet Norkotah.”

Pass the fries

Specifically targeting the french fry market, Sage Russet produces lighter fry color than do Burbanks, he notes.

But there is concern over a high level of susceptibility to shatter bruise, he says, and the variety is fusarium dry rot susceptible.

The variety can be produced as an early or late crop, with what Yilma describes as “spectacular” yields.

In a summary of three years of yield data on Sage Russet tested in the PNW, Colorado and California, the newcomer bested all in total yields with a 612-cwt. result, producing 502 cwt. of No. 1’s, or 81% of the crop, reports Yilma.

In those comparison trials, Russet Burbank yielded 576 cwt. with 61% No. 1’s.; Ranger Russet, 579 cwt. and 77%; and Russet Norkotah, 447 cwt. and 82%.

Sage Russet is resistant to late tube blight, and moderately resistant to early drying net necrosis, early blight and scab. It is moderately susceptible to soft rot and potato virus Y, or PVY, and is susceptible to corky ringspot and late blight foliar disease.

AmaRosa, a smaller potato that will require some harvest and packing adaptation, is a midseason with a fingerling quality and “high culinary quality,” says Yilma. These tubers are great for microwave cooking, frying and baking, he adds.

However, in yields this release doesn’t measure up to comparisons in the same state trials listed above for Sage Russets. AmaRosa posted only a 274-cwt. yield with 27 No. 1’s. Norlands were at 481 cwt. with 84% No. 1’s, and LaSodas registered a 552-cwt. yield and 82% No. 1’s.

Resistant to late blight tuber and scab, AmaRosa is moderately resistant to early drying and net necrosis, and susceptible to PVY, potato leafroll virus and late blight foliar disease.

“AmaRosa should be handled carefully to prevent skinning,” he warns. Chips made from AmaRosa keep their red patina without fading.

The new releases are also gaining international interest, says Yilma, with New Zealand producers trying out AmaRosa, and Australian processors trying Sage Russet.

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Sage Russet

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Ama Rosa

This article published in the May, 2011 edition of WESTERN FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.