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May 22, 2018

UMaine debuts its new gourmet potato for specialty markets

Courtesy / University of Maine
Courtesy / University of Maine
Pinto Gold, a new gourmet potato variety developed by the University of Maine's potato-breeding program, is making its debut in smaller specialty markets.

Pinto Gold, a new gourmet potato variety developed by the University of Maine's potato-breeding program, is making its debut in smaller specialty markets.

The potato is a high-yielding, yellow-fleshed specialty variety with excellent roasting and eating quality, according to Gregory Porter, who leads UMaine's potato breeding program. The oblong tubers have a red and yellow "pinto type" skin pattern, which makes them appealing to smaller specialty markets, and the Pinto Gold name highlights the unique skin color pattern and the tubers' yellow flesh.

Porter, a professor of plant, soil, environmental sciences and agronomy, said the potatoes are excellent roasted, but can also be used for boiling, pan frying, baking and in salads.

Pinto Gold is the fourth potato variety released by UMaine since 2014. The university, in partnership with the Maine Potato Board, previously released Easton, Sebec and Caribou Russet.

Although Pinto Gold will likely never be produced on thousands of acres in the state, Porter said he believes it will be beneficial for small-scale growers, restaurants, home cooks and gardeners.

"They're pretty, unique and the tastiest roasting potatoes you could ever have," he said.

The variety is adapted to cool, northern growing areas and produces a high yield of small tubers under those conditions.

The potato has been under development since 2006, with research trials conducted in Maine from 2009 to the present. Beginning in 2012, seed samples were sent to organic growers for small-scale production and marketing trials.

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