Freshly dug Carlingford potatoes, their
name incorrectly spelled on a hastily made
sign, were out for grower inspection at
last July’s field day at University of
California Intermountain Research and
Extension Center in Tulelake. Seven acres
of the spuds were commercially grown for
marketing tests that continue this spring.
- Capital Press file photo
When the Klamath Pearl potato got ho-hum
reviews during supermarket retail sales tests
in 2003, Klamath Direct, a marketing
cooperative, turned to restaurants for more
The results are good.
“I really liked them,” said Alan Brines, the
executive chef of McGrath’s Fish House. The
Northwest-based restaurant chain has 15
locations, and folks in the corporate office
from President John McGrath down have heard of
It’s a knockoff of a European variety, called
Carlingford, that matures in 75 days as a
tuber 2 inches in size.
The McGrath’s March menu trial was assembled
by Brines at the Beaverton kitchen where he
It included a small helping of mashed Pearls,
a presentation garnished with apples and feta
cheese, and herb-roasted Pearls.
Brines said by telephone that he believes the
specialty spud has a place among McGrath’s
rotating special menu items, but it may be too
pricey to turn it into the regular menu.
“Our price point is a bit lower” than the San
Francisco Bay-area restaurants that also tried
the Pearl over this past winter.
In addition to working on a food-service
strategy, Klamath Direct is also mulling
offering the tiny potatoes through upscale
growers’ markets. There’s hope that the little
spud could be worth $5 a pound at retail.
If the markets develop, that could translate
into grower gross profits of $5,000 an acre,
far above returns for either fresh or chipping
Tam Moore is based in Medford, Ore. His e-mail
address is email@example.com.