Potatoes

Some Idaho potato farmers are worried heavy wildfire smoke may have damaged their crops.

 

Classic Film / Flickr

Funeral potatoes have gone mainstream. The word on the crunchy, cheesy and gooey casserole has gotten out. Walmart is selling a frozen version of the dish – and the internet is freaking out.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Idaho’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and farmers need good soil to keep their crops growing. But keeping soil healthy is a challenge around the globe and in Idaho.

Julochka / Flickr

Idaho and potatoes are synonymous for good reason; the Gem State is the nation’s biggest producer of the vegetable. With the fate of NAFTA unknown as negotiators head into an eighth round of talks, the potato industry is monitoring those talks closely.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the value of Idaho's agricultural production was down six percent in 2016.

potatoes
Kris Krug / Flickr Creative Commons

Wildfire smoke challenged the state’s potato crop this year as hazy skies blunted direct sunlight this summer. According to the Twin Falls Times-News, farmers dealt with weather extremes on both ends of the spectrum. An unusually wet and snowy start to the year saturated the soil, forcing later planting days in the spring.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Workers at a Twin Falls potato processing plant are claiming the company is trying to bust up a bid to join a local branch of the Teamsters Union next month.

Employees of Lamb-Weston, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods based in Eagle that specializes in potato products, claim a so-called “union busting firm” has been hired to dissuade workers at a Twin Falls plant from joining Teamsters Local Union 483.

Pat Joyce / Flickr

Researchers at Idaho State University have programmed drones to be able to identify potatoes infected with a virus.

Researchers say they've been able to find individual plants infected with potato virus Y, commonly called PVY, with 90 percent accuracy using cameras mounted on drones, The Capital Press reported Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved commercial planting of two types of potatoes that are genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

The approval announced Friday covers Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co.'s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the company's second generation of Innate potatoes.

The company says the potatoes will also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity and a reduced amount of a chemical created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures that's a potential carcinogen.

Benjamin Nolan / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite Idaho’s “world famous” potatoes, the International Potato Center is actually in Lima, Peru. After all, that's the part of the world where the potato originated. The center has the largest potato gene bank, with the goal of conserving biological diversity of the plant.

The organization’s overall mission is a lofty one: to battle global poverty through partnerships and technology. 

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has denied a request by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dismiss a lawsuit by eastern Idaho potato growers seeking to end a quarantine after the discovery of a microscopic pest that caused some countries to ban Idaho spuds.

But the U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month did dismiss Idaho officials from the lawsuit, noting state court was the proper venue concerning potential violations of state law.

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and that still damages crops.

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. says that the Russet Burbank can also be stored at colder temperatures longer to reduce food waste.

The potato is the second generation of Simplot's Innate potatoes and also includes the first generation's reduced bruising and a greater reduction in a chemical produced at high temperatures that some studies have shown can cause cancer.

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company is seeking federal approval to market a second genetically engineered potato.

Simplot won approval for its first modified potato late last year. The “Innate” potato, as it’s branded, is due to be the first genetically engineered spud on the market.

Simplot dubbed the genetically engineered potatoes “Innate” because the inserted genes come from other potatoes.

The first genetically modified crop wasn't made by a megacorporation. Or a college scientist trying to design a more durable tomato. Nope. Nature did it — at least 8,000 years ago.

Well, actually bacteria in the soil were the engineers. And the microbe's handiwork is present in sweet potatoes all around the world today.

A Western Oregon mail order company has begun selling what might become the No. 1 conversation starter of Northwest garden parties this summer.

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