From the research that brought you Honeycrisp apples: MonDak Gold potatoes

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It won't be long before spud-lovers will be noshing on a new variety of specialty potato developed by a researcher at the University of Minnesota.

The Business Journal reports that the potato is called the MonDak Gold – MonDak for the Montana-North Dakota region where it will grow, and Gold as an homage to the Yukon Gold variety. The potato was developed by Christian Thill, an associate professor in the U's Department of Horticultural Science.

The Grower, a journal dedicated to commercial agricultural production, reports that the MonDak Gold potato is in its first year of commercial production, following several years of testing.

"We were looking for a yellow-flesh variety that would process better, store longer and avoid the internal defects common to the Yukon gold,” potato consultant Chuck Stadick said. “In all the testing we’ve done so far, it has either met or exceeded the russet. This will be a good variety for processing and fresh uses.”

The first samples of the variety should arrive at retail grocers on the East Coast later this year. If its debut goes well, farmers will be able to boost production of the variety as soon as the 2015 growing season. Last November, it was reported that the variety is thought to be an improvement over Yukon gold because it has fewer internal quality problems, such as “yellow heart” disease.

University of Minnesota scientists are engaged in ongoing research on new varieties of produce, seeking to improve taste, disease resistance or shelf life. The popular Honeycrisp apple, developed by crossing the Honeygold and Macoun varieties, is an example of the U's previous success.

The Williston Wire notes that the U.S. is the fifth largest producer of potatoes in the world and 126 pounds are consumed by per capita every year. According to the National Potato Council, Minnesota is the seventh largest potato-producing state. Wisconsin is third and North Dakota is fourth on the list.

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