Race-West to Market Huckleberry Gold

Published online: Jun 26, 2018 Articles, Seed Potatoes
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From russets to red and yellows, to specialty potato varieties, the U.S. is a majorproducer and consumer of potatoes. In recent years, more people are seeking out new varieties, and there is an increasing focus on flavor. One U.S.-based company has been tasked with distributing one of the newest varieties of potatoes: Huckleberry Gold. Grown in Idaho, Washington and Oregon, Huckleberry Gold is a cross of European and American varieties. 

“The Huckleberry Gold is a purple-skinned, yellow-flesh potato that has been cultivated in the Northwest by our grower partner,” says Harris Cutler of Race-West, the company chosen to distribute the variety. Every year they try out different varieties.

Last August,  harvesting of Huckleberry Gold began. Race-West grows for flavor, and this year they are working on an all-purple potato.

“The parentage of the Huckleberry is fascinating,” Cutler says. “It was devised from a mix of European and American varieties including Agria, as well as Viking Red, Norgold Russet, Sangre red and Bison red. These are some of the best-eating varieties that have ever been bred, and the Huckleberry Gold is a product of these.”

The 2017 harvest crop was the first commercial crop of the Huckleberry Gold. Suppliers still have the potato available for another month or so. Unfortunately, the new variety won’t be grown commercially this year, although organic will be available. Cutler explained that the reason is due to the lack of seed available, which for a new developmental variety is relatively common.
“We still have availability for the next 30 to 60 days, and then it will be finished for the year,” he says. “We have the ability to distribute them nationally. This year, we will have organic Huckleberry Golds available, and we are hopeful that next year we can return to commercial volumes in conventional again. There was not enough seed available for planting this season. Seed always tends to be more difficult to obtain for boutique varieties.”
Suppliers are noticing that U.S. consumers are becoming more aware of flavor. Therefore,  fruits and vegetables that have richer flavors are ascending in popularity.
“In Europe, consumers have been shopping for flavor for generations. Here in the U.S., we are only just catching  on,” Cutler says. “Potato varieties similar to the Huckleberry Gold have already been popular in Europe, and we think that this variety can be a big winner in the U.S.
“Race-West is a family owned business that specializes in root vegetables,” Cutler continues. “Our entire family participates in the business and our company focus is to bring more flavorful and healthy varieties of produce into the market.”