INSIDERSGiving White Potatoes a Better Reputation

Giving White Potatoes a Better Reputation


I need to a make confession, when I first started at HZPC I wasn’t a fan of white potatoes. I had only ever eaten white potatoes that were off grade chipping potatoes. They weren’t meant to be eaten as fresh potatoes and it showed. Part of my job at HZPC was to promote and sell our white potato varieties including Sifra and Whitney, so I knew I needed to do some research.

I called my friend Ken Jochimsen up at Zuckerman Family Farms. I had known him for years and he had been bugging me all that time to take home a bag of Sifra and try it out. I had always told him no but now I was begging him to ship me a bag. Once I received the package I went to work in the kitchen with my family. We boiled Sifra making the creamiest mashed potatoes we’d ever eaten before, and the jury decision was unanimous we loved it. Our family of four went through a 50-pound box in a little over two weeks.

Sifra isn’t your typical white potato as it’s not meant to be a chipping variety; it’s meant to be cooked in your kitchen. At HZPC we saw an opportunity to give consumers and growers an option for white potatoes which is why we brought Sifra and Whitney to market.

Sifra is a low nitrogen requiring, early tuberising, late maturing variety with round oval tubers, light white skin and creamy flesh. Whitney has attractive, uniform short-oval tubers with bright skin and white flesh. It shows a good resistance to common scab and is early maturing. Both varieties yield extremely well, and the good news is there’s seed available for 2024. This upcoming growing season will be the first year where we can start selling Sifra and Whitney to more growers and expand acreage.

We’re really wanting to change the reputation of white potatoes, which includes giving consumers more time to eat them. Traditionally there’s been a big gap in white potato production across both the United States and Canada as they typically don’t store well. Whitney will store up to four months giving growers the opportunity to extend their shipping season past the typical September/October window.

We’re in the midst of white potato shipping season right now. As the new potato crop starts to come off in Ontario through to British Columbia in late summer/early fall, it’s traditionally been the only time of year shoppers can find white potatoes at the store. And while I know that will change in the future with more Whitney and Sifra potatoes available, I’d recommend heading out to the store and grabbing some white potatoes, you may just find your perspective on them changing.

Aron Derbidge
Aron Derbidge
President, HZPC Americas - Derbidge has spent the last 20 plus years in and around the potato business. He has served growers, packers, shippers, and marketers of potatoes through packaging, logistics, variety development and seed production. He has been in potato breeding, variety development and seed production for the last 10 plus years. Derbidge is based in Idaho Falls, Idaho but his territory is North America, so he’s able to visit most potato producing areas across both Canada and United States. He’s currently serving as the potato chair for the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Potato Section. Derbidge is the proud father of two teenage girls and husband to his wife of 23 years. In his spare time, he enjoys precision sports, golf and fishing.