Whether mashed, hashed, baked, boiled, fried or dried, potatoes are the leading vegetable crop in the United States. Now, two Cornell faculty members -- and one of their dads -- have joined forces to publish "The Complete Potato Grower's Guide: What Every Grower and Gardener Needs to Know" (Timber Press).

It is "the only comprehensive resource for home gardeners and commercial potato growers" in North America, say the book's authors: Walter De Jong, Cornell associate professor of plant breeding and genetics who oversees Cornell's applied potato breeding program and potato molecular genetics laboratory; his father, Hielke De Jong, a longtime potato breeder and fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada; and Joseph Sieczka, professor emeritus of horticulture at Cornell.

The 260-page book provides comprehensive growing information for 55 certified disease-free varieties for home and commercial growers, including information on classification, plant structure, natural history; origin; conventional and organic production techniques; pests and diseases; usages in cuisine and culture, curing and storage; special techniques for growing potatoes; cultivar development; genetic resources; and versatility in food and nonfood uses and each variety's culinary qualities.

The plant profiles include 191 color and 14 black-and-white photographs, most taken by Cornell photo specialist Kent Loeffler, of the exterior and interior of the tuber and a succinct description of each variety's physical and culinary qualities.