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Old September 14, 2006   #1
Tom Wagner
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Default "Ellen Valencia" A new potato variety

One of several hundred seedling clones of a cross of Yellow Finn to Adora is set to be named Ellen Valencia.

It is an oval/round yellow skin, yellow flesh alternative to the Yukon Gold. It has the same low carb attribute as Adora and the flavor somewhat like Yellow Finn. It is high yielding; a single hill of about 3 lbs, cut up and planted made nearly 200 lbs!

I grew this variety where Ellen Valencia used to grow strawberries in her backyard garden. I am using her first and middle name to honor her. She died at the age of 99 a few years ago and her daughter wants her to be remembered, thus the reason for the variety name.

For three years now, starting with the first year seedling hill stage, this clone and its siblings are met with great acceptance. The sibs are grown on several organic farms in and around Carnation, WA. Because of the low solids (low carbs) it boils very nicely. It makes super potato salad and Au Gratin dishes.

Ellen Valencia's daughter liked the flavor so much that she agreed to help me in the cost of tissue culture clean-up costs. In order to grow certified seed, it must be free of all pathogens.

Yellow Finn is the Holy Grail of potatoes here in the PNW. It is late maturing, too small of tubers, has a scaly skin and has a slightly knobby stem end often time. So this new clone may be one alternative for the future. It does well on organic soils as well as conventional.

Ellen Valencia's pioneer parents are from Sweden and Finland, and I think it is fitting that a Yellow Finn is involved in the pedigree.

Such as it is in a day of picking potato berry crosses and naming potatoes.

Tom Wagner
Redmond, WA
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Old September 15, 2006   #2
Earl
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Any idea as to when it may become available for the public to buy at grocery stores? We need competition for the $4 for 5 lbs. Yukon Golds.
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Old September 16, 2006   #3
Tom Wagner
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Earl,

The clone ELLEN VALENCIA, mixed with a number of sibling clones is, and will be, marketed by several organic farms locally. The public will try them through farmers' markets, CSA's, and a few Seattle restaurants. Total production is just a few tons. I will see if more can be produced for next year. Keep in mind, this clone has existed for only two years now.

The clone by itself will be increased internally for seed increase and observation.

The clean up will take a few months and a few more to produce the test tube plantlets to be planted out in the greenhouse to produce mini tubers. This is done by potato labs equiped to produce pathogen free tubers prior to certified potato plantings in the field. Normally it takes two years or more to produce enough seed stock to allow a commercial grower to gear-up for brokered sales. Even then, brokers have difficulty selling an unknown product even if it is an improvement.

I remember less than 20 years ago when Yukon Gold was still rather unknown. A grower in Kern County, California took out $20,000 ads in the Los Angeles Times to promote Yukon Gold.

Mail order sales of certified seed or mini tubers to home gardeners would be a quicker way to promote Ellen Valencia potatoes.

Tom Wagner
Redmond, WA
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