Fingerling Potatoes Prove Profitable


Fingerling potatoes now grow on about 1,500 acres of Colorado's San Luis Valley, and in a year when big potatoes were often making a loss, the fingerlings are moving from produce aisles with sticker-shock prices of $3 and up for a single pound.

"Fingerlings are really catching on. There is an emerging market for these potatoes," said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee.

Fingerlings are still very much a fledgling crop in the San Luis Valley, where the more traditional varieties of potatoes cover more than 50,000 acres. And there are very few numbers to put to fingerlings. Because the crop is still too small, production isn't yet tracked by the Potato Administrative Committee. And market prices are something of a mystery.

While traditional potatoes brought growers around $5 per 100 pounds this season--a little less than it costs to grow and harvest them--growers aren't saying just how much fingerlings fetched on the market.

Doing simple math based on retail prices, Ehrlich points out, would put a price tag of about $300 for 100 pounds of fingerlings.