Since this is a thread about potatoes, and it was mentioned earlier "that if you were to buy only one type of veg that's organic it should be celery," I thought I'd add a copy of a letter I received from a potato grower on PEI, the "Idaho" of Canada. We were corresponding about how insipid I found some commercial potatoes to be. As a result of this letter, some research, and growing my own potatoes, I'll never buy a commercial potato again, and especially so with russets.
I know a little about how potatoes are grown, commercial and organic.
I don't know specifically about Idaho, but similarly in Canada there is a potato region on Prince Edward Island, where like Idaho they are known as the potato capital, and potatoes have been grown there for many years.
Much of the soil has become depleted and in poor condition over many years of growing potatoes, which are heavy feeders. To just supply chemical fertilizers and then spray pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, when you look at that soil, it just looks dead. Try to find an earthworm, not bloody likely. Soil erosion due to cultivation methods is also an issue, as is growing a "monoculture" where potatoes only are grown again and again and for miles.
Now I never blame the farmer, in PEI, many of them are indentured in my opinion, working under contract for giant food corporations to produce terribly cheap potatoes for the frozen french fry manufacturers. So the market economy at work wants to do things to have the cheapest cost, the most profit, the public generally doesn't notice the poor quality, especially when you add the grease and salt.
Now I'm not pinko or anything, but it's interesting in contrast when you go to Cuba. The whole island has been converted to organic.
So to farm large quantities of potatoes industrially.... you want all the plants to die off at the same time. (When you want to harvest potatoes for storage, the skins only firm up a couple weeks after the tops die off, so that's when you want to harvest them to have a good tough skin to store well). Old school small scale organic growing would have waited for the plant tops to die, dug that up accordingly.
Enter Monsanto... why not spray all your potato green tops with Round-Up, then they can all be killed at the same time, you can know the date, and go from there as to when you want to harvest. Potatoes were #3 on a list of the worst contaminated crops in terms of chemicals. They regularly are in those "dirty dozen" lists, of the most contaminated vegetables. Roundup BTW kills by being absorbed through the leaves then going down the to roots in my understanding, to kill the roots to kill the plant. Extra bonus: inhibits sprouting, if potatoes are fully dead they won't sprout at all.
Anyhow, I'm fortunate that my husband grows amazing potatoes in his organic garden. He's got varieties that he's collected from various places, some red on the inside, blue, purple, yellow, black truffle, long skinny buttery fingerlings, etc... They grow very easily, although he does add some "amendments", things like compost, a little kelp and organic minerals. He puts a little pine needle with them (or pine shavings) to prevent scab, a fungus that can be warded off by acidifying the soil a little instead of needing a fungicide.
The taste is night and day.
The organisms we're talking about are part of a healthy soil, the organisms contribute to breaking down things to make nutrients available. A plant with good organic nutrition (rather than just chemical N-P-K fertilizer) is better able to resists pests, disease, and produces tastier food IMO.