Dozens of industry professionals took part in the annual Kern County Potato Variety Field Day where attendees got an opportunity to view new potato varieties and see the progress of ongoing growing trials.
“The potato field day in Kern County has a long history, it’s been going on for generations essentially,” said Farm Advisor Emeritus with Kern County Cooperative Extension Joe Nunez. “It’s an opportunity for the growers to see all the new varieties that are being developed throughout the country and see how they perform here in Kern County because our growing conditions here are a little bit different than where most of the potato varieties are being developed.”
The field day was held at Hart Memorial Park in Bakersfield where industry members from throughout the United States came out to see the performance of new potato varieties in commercial growing conditions. “It’s important to the potato breeders, whether they’re from Canada, the U.S., or Europe because we’re the first ones in the entire country, or North America essentially, that has a potato variety trial being harvested and displayed. So right now, the potato breeders are looking at their varieties for the first time,” Nunez said.
While multiple varieties were on display, Nunez noted which types the industry seems most interested in. “You have the Russets, you have the whites, you have the reds, and then you have the specialty types and those are going to be mostly the yellow-fleshed and that’s where the interest is right now.”
Smaller, New potatoes have also received a positive response from consumers, causing more interest from growers. “There’s some out there that didn’t yield that well, but there’s a whole bunch of little small ones there and those are actually what fit in with what a lot of growers are doing here. Again, it’s another specialty market that our guys are going in to,” said Nunez.
Listen to Nunez’s interview below.