[11/30/16] Two New Northwest Potato Variety Selected By McDonald’s As Potato Of Choice

Posted in Feature

A pair of new potato varieties developed in the Northwest have been selected to join the ranks of a very exclusive club, as those considered worthy enough to literally make the cut for French Fries sold by fast food giant McDonald’s…

113016 Local Potatoes 1 :36 “…in the three states”

That’s Mark Pavek (PAW-veck), a potato researcher from Washington State University. He says the two new spud types, the Clearwater Russet and the Blazer Russet, are the first to make the necessary grade for purchase by McDonald’s in over a decade-and-a-half and could one day help replace the longstanding potato of choice for making the franchise’s famous fries, the Russet Burbank…

113016 Local Potatoes 2 :50 “…and internal defects”

Other taters used by Mickey D’s include the Canadian bred Shepody, the Ranger Russet and the Umatilla Russet, which was the last product of the Tri-State Program to be adopted by McDonald’s back in 1999.

Pavek says the process to bring a new potato variety to market for potential consideration by any restaurant chain can be a lengthy one, taking up to 20 years in some cases. But, when a new type passes the rigorous standards of a giant corporation like McDonald’s, the rewards to the program can make it worth the effort…

113016 Local Potatoes 3 :16 “…out new varieties”

The new Clearwater Russet also comes with the added benefit of a protein concentration that is 33% greater than the Russet Burbank, but Pavek says regardless of the namesake being used, consumers of McDonald’s French Fries won’t notice a difference in taste from one spud to the next.

Together, Washington State and Idaho account for nearly half of the potato production in the United States, turning out 23 billion pounds of taters every year. Over a third of all the spuds grown in the U.S. are made into French Fries, with McDonald’s alone using 3.4 billion pounds annually.