“Probably 85% will switch into burbanks as soon as they’re comfortable with burbank quality,” he said. “The restaurant and the foodservice people like the way they bake. They bake fluffier and drier than norkotah.
“I think the classic has some potential as well as the teton, from what I’ve read. So far, we haven’t found that ultimate replacement for the burbank.”
It’s not for a lack of trying, Debon said. From a grower’s standpoint, she said burbank carries some agronomic baggage.
“Russet burbank doesn’t yield. It has lots of quality problems and diseases, that require lots of inputs. It really is kind of old,” Debon said.
But burbank, which can go fresh or processed, remains the most widely grown variety because it is still the go-to variety for McDonald’s french fries, she said.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, russet burbanks are expected to comprise about 52% of this year’s planted acreage in Idaho, followed by russet norkotah, with nearly 21%.