First day at WA-OR Potato Conference 2010

The first day of the first Washington-Oregon Potato Conference 2010 is now in the history books. Let it be noted that it was a cold and rainy Tuesday in Kenewick but the weather didn't hold people from crowding into the Three Rivers Convention Center for the Cultivar Performance Workshop and to pick up all the free schwag at the Ag Expo.

At the Spudman booth Jasa Simon and I had a constant stream of visitors filling out the surveys for a limited edition "Proud to be a Spudman" stocking cap and just as happened at last week's Idaho Potato Conference our supply of caps were exhausted by mid-afternoon. We have an ample supply of bumper stickers and plenty of free magazines. Please stop by and complete a survey if you're at the conference on Wednesday or Thursday.

I'm encouraged by the positive comments I've heard at the conferences about Spudman and I look forward to meeting more growers and people involved in the potato industry during the next two days at the conference. If you don't get to the conference you can always email me with your comments or story suggestions.

I'm picking up on a general consensus among some seed growers that the Norkotah may be the root of all that is wrong in the potato industry. It's a limited field of opinion but just today while speaking individually to a handful of seed growers that all expressed some degree of animosity toward the Norkotah. The basic complaint is that it's a bad tasting potato, doesn't bake, boil or fry well. A good looking potato with a good yield but the people I spoke with today were adamant that the best thing that could happen is if growers stopped producing it.

During the cultivar performance workshop Mark Pavek, Rick Knowles, Dan Hane, Rick Navarre and Chuck Brown discussed some up and coming cultivars that show promise, from standard brown skin, white flesh to speciality varieties including baby potatoes, fingerlings, red skin/red flesh, purple skin/purple flesh and yellow flesh potatoes. I'll have more on this tomorrow.

- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor

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