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A group of purple, red and yellow potatoes

A group of purple, red and yellow potatoes

You Want Fries With That?

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Next time you go to McDonald's, there's a good chance you'll be eating an ARS-developed French fry. ARS scientists released two new varieties of potatoes—'Clearwater Russet' and 'Blazer Russet'—that will be used by McDonald's for French fries. The company has a high bar for its potatoes, having accepted only seven varieties to use in its fries over the years.

With an annual farm value of $4 billion, potatoes are a success story in the United States. The vast majority of potatoes are produced in northern States and are processed mostly into fries and chips. But potatoes are highly perishable, and the crop must be consumed, processed, or stored cold immediately after harvest.

The problem, however, is that cold storage can lead to an unacceptably dark coloring after processing that makes the potatoes unmarketable. The alternative is to increase production in warm areas of the southern United States. But internal heat necrosis, an internal tuber defect that leads to brown spots, is a major problem in those areas.

ARS scientists released the new potato varieties resistant to problems that develop during storage and to heat necrosis. The new releases include the 'Elkton', a new chipping cultivar with high resistance to internal heat necrosis that's proving to be extremely popular among growers in the South.

Related Information

Article: Blazer Russet Potato Wins Top Reviews
Article: Potato Variety Releases » 'Elkton'
Research Project: Elkton: A new potato variety with resistance to internal heat necrosis and suitable for chipping directly from the field in the southern United States
Research Project: Clearwater Russet: A dual-purpose potato cultivar with cold sweetening resistance, high protein content, and low incidence of external defects and sugar ends