Is a seed just a seed, or is it something more? To some shippers it may be just a seed, but at Potandon it’s so much more. Being the only fresh potato supplier in the nation with our very own seed breeding and Development Company might make us a little biased, but it’s a bias we are quite proud of. It could be because of the time investment we make in seed development; each one of our potato varieties is the product of a decade of development for their seed type. It starts in our greenhouse facilities where our breeders choose high quality “parental” stock to be cross pollinated to create true potato seed. Through micropropagation, a batch of potato seedlings is produced which will eventually be developed and planted in an actual field. This process sounds simple, but in reality this portion takes three years. Over the next five years, these emerging varieties are exposed to a myriad of environmental conditions to determine if they have the “right stuff” to eventually make it to market. We perform growing trials with these potatoes using different soil types, elevations, climates, water and fertilizer levels, plus other agronomic variables. This allows us to identify stronger and more viable seed strains which eventually will produce better and longer lasting potatoes.
Finally near the end of this decade of research, only a handful of varieties are usually left and those will be turned over to the sales and marketing teams for branding, naming, and eventually introduction to the retail and wholesale world for sale to consumers nationwide.
The “parental” stock we use comes from regions across the world. Potandon has strategic relationships with agricultural experts in Germany, France, Korea, Canada, and South America, the home of the potato. We send people to look at multiple growing operations in many places and through a series of rigorous checks and balances, choose the ones that have the best chance of being a commercial variety in the next decade. Some of the things we evaluate are size, color, yield, shape, growing cycle, and most importantly taste. For decades the potato has been considered a carrier food, meaning it serves to carry other flavors such as gravy or ketchup. We are bringing potatoes to market which taste great without adding anything else added.