North America's growers and distributors of specialty potatoes have formed the Specialty Potato Alliance. The group, founded on June 1, will focus on fingerling potato varieties from heirloom and new varietal stock.

The members have introduced and marketed fingerling potato varieties throughout the U.S. and will have offices, distribution centers and growing areas positioned around the country.

The alliance plans to provide specialty potatoes to the foodservice and retail markets, and plans to offer special packaging and product mixes and introduce new and proprietary varieties.

"By founding this new company, we can now effectively provide price-stable product with just-in-time delivery and forward distribution on a daily basis so there will be no gaps in the fingerling market and product will always be available," said Richard Leibowitz, the managing director of the group, in a release.

Through year-round distribution, the alliance will be able to develop menu programs and promotions for chain restaurants, independents and caterers nationwide, said Jill Overdorf, a member of the alliance.

The alliance plans to announce specialty potato products and founding members on July 26 at the Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference in Monterey, Calif.