And it’s available just in time for the holiday season.
If you’re looking to up your potato game this holiday season, you’re in luck. There’s a new potato variety in town, and it’s said to be so creamy that you don’t need to add butter, cream, or anything else to dress it up—it’s delicious right from the field.
The “Upstate Abundance” potato from Row 7 Seed Company is a new variety of the tuber so-named because of its abundance in growing fields. The new potato is grown in partnership with organic growers in New York and Pennsylvania.
What Are Upstate Abundance Potatoes?
Charlotte Douglas, president of Row 7, told us that Upstate Abundance potatoes are a new variety of potato developed by plant breeder Walter De Jong, a professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Breeding and Genetics Section at Cornell University.
“The golf-ball-sized potatoes have creamy, bright white flesh that is naturally packed with flavor,” Douglas says, adding that Row 7 played a significant role in its early trialing in the field and kitchen and was the first to release the variety to farmers and home gardeners in 2018.
“Upstate Abundance is a daughter of the variety ‘Jacqueline Lee’ and a Cornell University breeding clone, ‘NY121’,” explains De Jong. “Both of these parents have some resistance to late blight, a common disease in potato.”
As it turns out, Upstate Abundance has the same resistance to late blight, which De Jong says is “a plus, because developing a late blight resistant variety was our starting goal when we made the cross.”
How Long Did It Take To Develop Upstate Abundance Potatoes?
It was 17 long years from when ‘Jacqueline Lee’ was crossed with ‘NY121’ in early-2000 to when the new potato variety was revealed in 2017.
“This is a little bit longer than usual for potato, where the typical time between cross and release is 12 to 15 years,” says De Jong. “The reason this variety took a little longer is that we didn’t plant seed from the cross until 2005.
“Knowing what I know now, I wish we’d sown that seed sooner!”
De Jong has a familial connection to Upstate Abundance, too. In 2017 he realized that one of Upstate Abundance’s grandparents, i.e. one of the parents of “Jacqueline Lee,” is a variety that his dad had bred, “AC Chaleur.”
“My dad was a potato breeder with Agriculture Canada, but I’d never paid much attention to what he did while I was growing up,” recalls De Jong. “’AC Chaleur’ was bred to mature early, a trait that Upstate Abundance also has.”
How Are Upstate Abundance Potatoes Different?
De Jong notes that the most obvious difference between Upstate Abundance and almost all other varieties is potato size, explaining that Upstate Abundance produces many golf ball-size potatoes, while the typical potato variety produces a few large potatoes.
“Indeed, the reason we first became interested in Upstate Abundance is because of how unique it was at harvest: after we dug our first trial plot with a mechanical harvester, there were just so, so many, bright white, little potatoes,” he recalls. “And the small size does not require any special growing conditions—you don’t have to kill the plants early to keep size down, nor do you have to crowd them close together. Small size is just a feature of the variety.
“Another distinguishing feature is that Upstate Abundance is resistant to potato virus Y; few other U.S. varieties are,” he adds.
What Do Upstate Abundance Potatoes Taste Like?
Douglas says that because Upstate Abundance potatoes are grown organically and only available in season are two factors as to why they’re so delicious. That, and the potatoes are “naturally creamy and nutty, as though the butter is already baked in.
De Jong adds, “They taste great and are my favorite eating potato, as well as a favorite of many of my potato breeding crew.”
When asked what makes Upstate Abundance Potatoes creamy without needing to add anything, De Jong says, “I wish I knew, because then we’d try to breed that into future varieties! Breeding for flavor/taste/texture in potato is more art than science, and requires both tasting a lot of potatoes (to find the good ones) and quite a bit of luck.”
He does, add, “I would not be surprised if the creamy texture came from ‘AC Chaleur.’”
Will Upstate Abundance Potatoes Save You Money?
Because of their growth numbers in the field, Upstate Abundance potatoes provide a natural advantage for the grower, and in turn, the consumer, as far as pricing goes.
“And because of its unique texture, you can leave the butter and cream in the dairy aisle,” notes Douglas. “That’s a cost-saving right there.”
When Will Upstate Abundance Potatoes be Available in Grocery Stores?
If you’re in the Northeast, Upstate Abundance Potatoes are currently available in 100 Whole Foods locations across the region; Row 7 expects to expand to the mid-Atlantic and West Coast next year.
If you’re more of a DIY-er, De Jong says the Upstate Abundance potato commercial seed was produced in Idaho, Nebraska and New York in 2022. To that end, he expects the potatoes will be grown in most U.S. states by home gardeners, and by large scale commercial growers in the west and east. Upstate Abundance potato organic seed will be available online at row7seeds.com beginning in November.
Read the original article on All Recipes.