Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
New Brunswick consumers have access to new yellow-fleshed potato variety


April 23, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

The humble potato is standing a
lot taller these days, as New Brunswick shoppers now have a brand new
potato variety to enjoy – the Rochdale Gold.

The humble potato is standing a lot taller these days, as New Brunswick shoppers now have a brand new potato variety to enjoy – the Rochdale Gold.

Co-op Atlantic unveiled the new, yellow-flesh potato variety in Fredericton, N.B., in November. Co-op Atlantic, in a licensing agreement with the Government of Canada, has exclusive rights to the ownership of this new variety.

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“We are very proud to be announcing the launch of this new potato,” said John Harvie, CEO of Co-op Atlantic. “It is a great representation of the value that can be had in public and private partnerships. The development of the Rochdale Gold potato demonstrates the forward-looking, consumer-sensitive character of today’s agriculture industry. It is also proof of the ability to transform mainstream ‘commodity’ products into brands, with a focus on delivering the best value to consumers by being committed to the best use for the variety.”

“The Government of Canada encourages innovation in the agricultural sector,” said Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Andy Mitchell. “(This) is a good example of how government and industry can work together to strengthen the local
economy.”

“Innovation continues to be a key to the success of our province’s agriculture and food products industry,” said New Brunswick Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister David Alward. “New Brunswick growers, potato scientists and Co-op Atlantic worked together to provide consumers this new local product while strengthening our Atlantic economy at the same time.”

The Rochdale Gold is notable for its rich-yellow flesh, attractive appearance and uniform size, and a distinct, full-bodied taste when cooked.

Dr. Richard Tarn, Ph.D., director of the potato breeding group at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, explained that Rochdale Gold was more than 15 years in development and field trial before Co-op Atlantic identified an opportunity to market the new product in 2002.

Seeing the potential to give Atlantic consumers an improved table potato, the Moncton-based retail and wholesale chain jumped at the chance to steward the Rochdale Gold to market. Less than two years later, Rochdale Gold is making a starring appearance in New Brunswick kitchens.

During the 2004 season, Rochdale’s first year of commercial production, growers produced 30,000 kilograms for the consumer market. The potato variety will continue to be propagated in New Brunswick until yields increase to allow Co-op Atlantic to market the variety throughout the Atlantic provinces. Ultimately, the Rochdale Gold will find a home with both retail consumers and potato growers in domestic and export markets. Currently, Rochdale Gold is available only in Co-op stores in New Brunswick.