Packaged in 2-lb portions the potatoes sell for $2.49 in Midwest and New England supermarkets. Like "fresh-cut" salads broccoli and cauliflower these potatoes are value-added items aimed at harried consumers who don't have time to wash and cut their own vegetables. But "fresh-cut" doesn't quite apply this time because the potatoes are partially cooked or blanched so that only 10-12 minutes of boiling is required in the home. Microwave cooking is also an option. Also setting the potatoes apart from their fresh-cut cousins is the packaging material used. While fresh-cut produce is packaged in semi-permeable films that permit the food's respiration to continue Fresh From The Start potatoes come in a film that performs like a vault. It incorporates a barrier layer of polyvinylidene chloride-coated polyester. In packaging ambient air is evacuated the bag is backflushed with a carbon dioxide/nitrogen gas mixture to retard spoilage and then the bag is securely sealed. The barrier structure maintains the internal atmosphere throughout the 21-day shelf life. (Darkening of the potatoes and mold formation are inhibited by adding commonly used preservatives.) Supplied by Cryovac (Duncan SC) the packaging film also includes a layer of metallocene polyethylene that functions as a sealant. Maine Packing runs the material on a vertical form/fill/seal system.