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Why Are My Potatoes Wet? Are They New Crop?

Q:

The 50 count cartons of Russet Burbank potatoes are that were delivered to my restaurant today look like a little tired as they are shriveled up but the 80 count Russet Norkotahs look fresh and some are actually still wet. Exactly how old are my potatoes that I ordered from the food service distributor this week? They are supposed to be new crop. Some look tired. How can I find out?

A:

Excellent question. If this is new crop, there is a good chance that the potatoes never got to rest in storage but went right to a fresh shipper, were washed and sorted. The potatoes might have been harvested in heat and started perspiring, just like a human might, as it is still a living organism. If trapped in a bag or box then the moisture can cause the potatoes to be wet or sealed up with no ventilation and could actually mold if left that way too long. Quite often at the beginning of the season potato buyers at distributors won’t risk new crop being trapped inside a rail car for a long ride to their destination and will order by truck.

My first suggestion, if they are from Idaho, is to look on the carton lid and you’ll find the Julian Date that the potatoes were packed. For example, in 2018 if they were packed January 2nd, the date would be 002. If packed August 1st, that would be 213. Here is a link to help out:

https://idahopotato.com/uploads/media/directory-julian-dates.pdf

Carton pictured, before pertinent information is added. Below, a carton from a previous year. The shipper number is 69, the carton count is 50, the potato variety is Russet Burbank and the Julian date that the contents were packed is on day 320 which was November 16th.