Canchan, also commonly known as “papa rosada,” is a very popular variety in Peru, developed by the International Potato Center (CIP) in the 1970s and released by INIA, Peru’s national institute of agricultural innovation, in 1990. It is a red potato with white or perhaps light yellow flesh. Tubers are medium sized, mostly three to four inches. It is an improved variety with some highland background but better resistance to late blight. In a story that we have seen repeat over and over, Canchan’s resistance made it the most popular potato in Peru, where it was grown on as much as 400,000 acres at its peak. Then, as always happens when a single variety becomes overused, late blight adapted to overcome Canchan’s resistance. It is still a good producer in areas where the newer strains don’t dominate, but it now requires fungicide applications for commercial production.
Canchan is a fairly dense potato, more on the waxy side of the spectrum than floury. It has very high amylose content, which may make it a better choice for diabetics, particularly if it is cooked in a way to enhance resistant starch content, like cooking, cooling, and reheating. It has thin skin and shallow eyes, so cleaning is easy and peeling is unnecessary.
Canchan plants are large, with mid to late maturity. This variety seems to have some short day response, although it does produce in the summer. As is often the case with varieties that are not completely day neutral, the stolons tend to be longer in the summer and the yields are better in the fall. Yields are high in the fall, reaching three to four pounds here.
True Seed (TPS)
True seeds of this variety were open pollinated and I think Canchan is male sterile, so they should all be outcrossed. Canchan was grown in a block with other tetraploid potatoes that have demonstrated resistance to late blight, so there should be some good material to search for resistance here.