The Organic Seed Potato Project at UW-Madison works with organic farmers in Wisconsin and the Midwest to select potato varieties that excel under organic management. We have on-going trials of potatoes from a wide variety of market classes – red potatoes, yellow potatoes, blue potatoes, white potatoes, fingerling potatoes, russet potatoes, even multi-colored potatoes!
We evaluate varieties on organic farms, as well as on organic land at university research stations. This allows us to see variety performance under a wide range of ‘real-world’ conditions. Plant vigor, response to disease and insect pressure, tuber yield, tuber quality and tuber storability are evaluated – and we taste the potatoes too! Taste panels are held in fall, for freshly harvested potatoes, as well as spring, for stored potatoes.
This site will update regularly with information about the progress of our variety trials, plans for future trials, and ways that organic growers can participate. Information from our 2011-2012 trials of commercially available potato varieties can be found here. You’ll find new blog entries to the right, as well as links to our facebook page and flickr site. And always, feel free to drop us a line.
Our work is supported by granting agencies including the CERES Trust, North-Central SARE, USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, Organic Farming Research Foundation, and Organic Valley Farmers Advocating for Organics.