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Limited-edition purple potato chips available in stores

Michigan State University and the Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. partnered to make the product.

December 30, 2019

2 Min Read
The Blackberry potato with a deep purple flesh and inside
PURPLE POTATO: The Blackberry potato has a deep purple flesh and inside, but it tastes like a standard potato. MSUE

Purple potato chips could be on shelves at a grocery store near you, thanks to a collaboration between Michigan State University researchers and Traverse City-based Great Lakes Potato Chip Co.

The chips are made from the Blackberry potato, the latest of more than 30 varieties developed by Dave Douches, director of the MSU Potato Breeding and Genetics Program. It took 20 years to breed the Blackberry potato.

“I always saw that there was a need in the specialty market for a good, purple-pigmented flesh variety of potato,” Douches says. “There were some old varieties around in the past that I felt didn’t really serve the market well, so we made an effort to try to improve on that.

“We were trying to find ones that had a round shape rather than a long shape, and also ones that had some disease resistance, as well as a deeper purple flesh color.”

MSU potato breeder Dave Douches and his students share the purple potato chips

UNIQUE CHIPS: MSU potato breeder Dave Douches and his students share the purple potato chips made from Blackberry potatoes.

Chris Girrbach, president of Great Lakes Potato Chip Co., and Douches work with Iott Farms in Kalkaska, Mich., to grow and harvest the Blackberry potatoes used for chip processing.

“Since we're a small producer, it's a little easier for us to do something like this,” Girrbach says.

The purple potato chips, Girrbach says, serve as a thank-you to the communities and Michigan agriculture partners who help support Great Lakes Potato Chip Co.

“Michigan growers are awesome,” he says. “MSU, in particular, puts a ton of research into potatoes. They work so hard to do stuff like this. I just hope people see how fun the research can be and how important growing it is.”

Source: Michigan State University Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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