F2F Meet the Grower: Melissa Bedlington-Kleindel
Melissa Bedlington-Kleindel is a third-generation seed potato grower. She has spent her life working a 1,000-acre farm located in northwest Washington state, bordered by the Cascade Mountain Range and Pacific Ocean. For more than 75 years, her family farm has produced seeds that create a variety of potato types, including purple-blue potatoes.
Seed potatoes originate in a tissue culture lab where Melissa and her team create new seed potatoes from existing varieties and refine them to prevent disease and ensure quality for commercial growers. Seed potato growers are attuned to consumer preferences and look for new varieties to meet demand. Their goal is to create top-quality, disease-free seed potatoes that produce a high yield for commercial potato growers.
Melissa’s operation has grown purple potatoes for 20 years and witnessed firsthand their rising popularity, thanks to their unique color and nutrition benefits. Purple-blue potatoes hold more moisture than other types and have a thin skin that requires delicate tending. Passionate about her craft, Melissa is a fan of the earthy flavor of purple-blue potatoes, especially when roasted with red and yellow potatoes to create a colorful medley.
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