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The Onaway potato is a medium sized tuber with a round to oblong shape. When mature its exterior is a light burlap brown hue speckled with medium set eyes and slightly flaky skin. Its internal flesh is off-white to creamy yellow with a firm and starchy consistency. When cooked the Onaway potato has a rich potato flavor with nuances of butter and hazelnut. The cooked flesh becomes succulent and offers a higher moisture content than that of many other potato varieties such as the russet or yukon gold.
Onaway potatoes are available late summer into mid-fall.
The Onaway potato, botanically a part of Solanum tuberosum, is a member of the Solanaceae family. The Onaway is a pedigree variety whose combined characteristics make it highly regarded in the marketplace. It is an early season, high yielding, drought, and disease resistant potato providing commercial growers with the opportunity to plant multiple crops for extended seasons. Its commercial success is limited however as its high moisture content prevents it from being a successful chipping variety.
The Onaway potato offers vitamins C and B as well as potassium. They also offer trace amounts of niacin, iron, zinc and riboflavin. Onaway potatoes additionally contain chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and rutin, polyphenols which when extracted may have the ability to help treat and prevent certain diseases and health disorders.
Onaway potatoes can be used in many classic preparations that call for potatoes. Their high moisture content makes them an ideal mashing potato or pureed and used as a thickener in soups, stews, and sauces. Bake skin on and serve split and stuffed with complimentary ingredients such as bacon, chives, sour cream, blackened chicken, and sharp cheeses. Slice thin and use to make scalloped potatoes or ratatouille. Bake or boil and use the Onaway to make potato croquet or as a filling for samosas and empanadas. Onaway can be sliced and used to make roasted potato wedges however as a result of their moisture content they are not considered an optimal fryer potato. Onaway potatoes don’t store quite as long as other potatoes, be sure to keep them in a cool, dry and dark location until ready to use. Like most potatoes uncooked Onaway should never be stored in the refrigerator as this causes them to deteriorate faster.
Polyphenols extracted from the Onaway potato have been used in scientific studies to explore the potential health benefits the tuber may have, and it’s potential to be used in the medical field to prevent and treat diseases and other environment-related health disorders. One such study is focused on the ability of the polyphenol mixtures extracted from the Onaway to protect the lungs from harmful levels of sulfur dioxide exposure.
The first Onaway potato seedling was planted on Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle County, Maine under the name, Seedling B67-17. It was sent to Michigan for research and development by the National Potato Breeding Program, Crop Research Division and was introduced to the commercial market in 1956. Its given name derives from the town of Onaway, a once well-established lumbering area in the farming community of Presque Isle County, Michigan. When planting the Onaway should be planted by spacing the seeds close to one another, this will help prevent the tubers from growing to be too large and rough textured.