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I’m wondering if you know of any farmers in this area around Chicago that grow Idaho Potatoes (or is that a ridiculous question)?
Excellent question. And maybe some confusion exists out there. The russet potato, over the years may have been associated with Idaho as we have been the largest supplier as a percentage of brown potatoes sold in the USA for over 60 years. Idaho potato is not a variety, just a location where the climate, the soil, the access to water and the skill of Idaho potato growers all came together to produce something spudtacular!
The variety of russets that made us famous was the Russet Burbank. Farmers growing russets in and around Chicago may actually start with a russet variety such as the Burbank, but the chances are it won’t have the solids or starch percentage to water ratio. For example, they often depend on Mother Nature to supply a lot of the moisture. It’s not unheard of to have the rain that comes measured in inches per hour. The potatoes grown in Idaho have more controlled water sources during the growing season, as little as 10-11 inches of total moisture from rain during the entire growing season of 110-120 days. They supplement this with water from underground sources, canals, irrigation, etc. as needed. Thus, we end up with a potato that’s not packed with water growing in a soil that drains easily. That creates a dry fluffy baked potato.
So, a grower in the Midwest can certainly grow a russet or brown potato, but we like to think (and it is backed up by years of performance results as well as consumer preference) that Idaho grows the best tasting russets.
Established in 1937, the IPC is a state agency responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation, and rich volcanic soil give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, which differentiates them from potatoes grown in other states.
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Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous "Grown in Idaho®" seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho's ideal growing conditions, including rich, volcanic soil, climate and irrigation differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.
661 South Rivershore Lane
EAGLE, ID 83616