2019 was the first year that I offered true potato seeds of individual varieties and controlled crosses in addition to our standard TPS mixes. I was curious to see if there would be much interest in these. Some of the top sellers were predictable, ranking as they have for years, but others surprised me. I try not to let sales direct my work too much, because trends tend to be over by the time I recognize them, but based on these results, I will continue to incorporate more individual lines and controlled crosses for the foreseeable future.
1. Wide Tetraploid Mix
No surprises here. This is consistently our top seller, most likely because it is the mix that I recommend for beginners. This is a great way to get your first taste of seed grown potatoes and the mix changes enough from year to year that it should never get boring.
2. Cuchipa Ismaynin
I’m not too surprised by this one. This is a pretty cool looking potato. If anything, it is a little surprising that this became a top seller without any indication of what the progeny will be like. I am growing TPS of this variety for the first time this year, just like you. I hope people post lots of pictures!
3. Blue Tetraploid Mix
The only surprise here is that Cuchipa Ismaynin knocked this one out of second place. People love blue potatoes. I love the look of blue potatoes, but I typically find it harder to get great tasting blues than I do with other colors. Because of that, I always expect yellow potatoes to be more popular, but blues outsell them 3 to 1 or more every year. The only solution is to keep working on better blues.
I have probably never written as much about any single potato as I have about Rozette, so I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising that it has done well. I wondered if perhaps this would be less popular as one of the few male sterile lines that I offer, but that doesn’t appear to be a concern for most people. There is now a lot of Rozette seed out there and I can’t wait to see what kinds of results you get!
5. Skagit Valley Gold x Nemah
I made two controlled crosses with Skagit Valley Gold last year, this one and SVG x Qoyllu. The most interesting thing is that SVG x Nemah totally smoked SVG x Qoyllu, outselling it about 4 to 1. I wonder why. My guess is that the two parents in this cross looked more predictable, while it is harder to imagine what SVG x Qoyllu might produce. I expect some stunning yellow fleshed potatoes to come out of this cross.
This one really surprised me. Ayock is a cool looking blue fingerling potato that I decided not to release because it didn’t make the cut for yield. It now lives on only in our tissue culture library. Nobody seemed deterred by that though and it looks like the TPS that I expected to last a few years will soon be sold out. The hunt is on for a better Ayock and there are about 30,000 lottery tickets out there!
7. Red Tetraploid Mix
Back into familiar territory. The red tetraploid mix has traditionally been our number three seller, but it got pushed down by the new offerings this year. Red fleshed potatoes are always exciting. It is hard to get them with solid, deep red flesh, but the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun.
8. High Dormancy Diploid Mix
This is another perennial top seller. It took me about four years to build up a sufficient collection of high dormancy diploids to make this mix. It used to be really hard to get these stenotomum type diploids, but they now make up about a quarter of the potatoes that I grow each year. This mix is probably our best for unusual shapes too.
9. All Domesticated Mix
I was a little surprised to see this crack the top 10 this year. This mix is for the true adventurers. I’ll be the first to admit that you are going to get a lot of unusable stuff from this mix, but you are also bound to get some weird and wonderful and even totally conventional. I have put seeds from about 300 gene bank accessions into this mix over the last several years, with no selection whatsoever. There is nothing else like it.
Pirampo is the only low dormancy potato to crack the top 10. It is a pretty spectacular looking potato and people love the Peruvian varieties. This is another one where I haven’t grown the TPS yet, so I’m very interested to see what you get from it. I just started my first seeds a few weeks ago and the germination was very high. If everyone who bought this grows all the seeds this year, there should be about 20,000 progeny! I hope some of you will take some pictures.