Although russet-type potatoes remain king in Idaho, specialty varieties are making inroads and growing in importance for some grower-shippers.

Potandon Produce LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho, introduced its proprietary Klondike Rose — a red-skinned, gold-fleshed potato — about 10 years ago.

“I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes in the industry to see they could grow the category horizontally,” said Ralph Schwartz, director of category management and director of value-added marketing.

Since then, Potandon has added Klondike Goldust, a proprietary gold-skinned, gold-fleshed variety, as well as three others to its Klondike Gourmet line, which is marketed under the Green Giant Fresh label.

These specialty spuds can be a boon to retailers, he said.

“It gives the retail guys a chance to show their customers that potatoes are more of a diversified category than just round or brown,” Schwartz said.

Pontandon also has introduced value-added fresh products, such as bagged microweavable steamed baby potatoes with sauce ready in 4 1/2 minutes. They are marketed under the Green Giant Fresh label.

Its most recent launch is Klondike Express — 1-pound microwave steamer bags of Klondike Rose or Goldust — ready in six minutes.