Celebrate the 2009 Idaho® Potato Harvest Online!

« Back | Print

EAGLE, ID, September 15, 2009 – This harvest season, America’s favorite potato continues to please both consumers’ waistlines and wallets with a new, interactive educational video game that offers a chance to win $10,000!  Beginning September 15, consumers who visit www.idahopotato.com and play the “Idaho® Potato Harvest Game” can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win $10,000: $5,000 for the winner and $5,000 to be donated to a school selected by the winner.

“We know that consumers and schools alike are struggling during this weak economy and the new ‘Idaho® Potato Harvest Game’ gives kids of all ages another reason to love Idaho® potatoes and learn how America’s favorite potato is grown,” said Frank Muir, President and CEO, Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). ”Idaho® potatoes are an excellent food option during these tough economic times.  At just around 25 cents, one medium Idaho® potato provides an incredible source of vitamins and nutrients.”

The game and sweepstakes launch September 15, 2009, and will run through October 31, 2009.  Consumers simply watch a short, animated video hosted by the IPC mascot, Spuddy Buddy, who tells the Idaho® potato harvest story – how it starts from a seed, grows into a nutritious spud that eventually makes it to your plate.  After the video, consumers are asked to play a short memory game, which requires arranging a series of storyboards in the order they appeared in the video.  The game is open to U.S. residents ages 7 and older.  The winner is selected at random via a raffle drawing and will be notified on or about November 15, 2009.  For sweepstakes rules and guidelines, visit www.idahopotato.com.

2009 Idaho® Potato Harvest and New Varieties

Beginning in late August and lasting through October, Idaho® potato growers expect to harvest around 319,000 acres, producing approximately 12 billion pounds of premium potatoes of which 62% will be processed into frozen or dehydrated potato products; 29% will be shipped fresh to supermarkets and restaurants; and 9% will be used for certified seed to grow more potatoes next year.  The majority of the potatoes harvested are the brown russets.   However, niche varieties, including Golds, Reds and Fingerlings, will also be harvested from the Gem state’s fields this year.  Idaho produces about 25 potato varieties including:

Russets: Burbank, Norkotah, Ranger and Western;

Golds: Milva, Yellow Finn and Yukon Gold;

Reds: Cal Red, Red La Soda and Norland;

Fingerlings: Russian Banana, Ruby Crescent, French Fingerling and Purple Peruvian;

Other Varieties: All Blue and Huckleberry.

Website Enhancements

In addition to housing the “Idaho® Potato Harvest Game,” the IPC Website has been improved with new features to keep hungry consumers coming back for more:

  • The popular Denise Austin Widget has been enhanced and will include helpful tips on health and nutrition as well as ways to save money in the kitchen.  The new widget, “Watching Waistlines & Wallets with Denise & Friends,” will feature periodic tips from University of Idaho home economics specialists;

  • Due to popular demand, the Watching Waistlines & Wallets Micro Site will offer more healthy and affordable recipes and photographs than ever before;

  • The press is always headlining the nutritive benefits of potatoes.  To keep consumers updated on the latest potato news, a Newsfeed scrolling the most current potato updates from around the globe will appear on the IPC Website homepage.

Celebrity Endorsements

Fitness guru, Denise Austin, continues her role as the IPC’s spokeswoman.  This fall, an updated commercial will air communicating the value of Idaho® potatoes – for around 25 cents, one 5.3 ounce spud has only 110 calories, contains zero fat and cholesterol, and is packed with nutrients including 45% daily value of vitamin C, nearly two times as much potassium as a banana, fiber, protein, vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates.  Additionally, the “Watching Waistlines & Wallets with Denise & Friends” widget will continue to provide fitness, nutrition and money-saving tips to consumers every day.

This fall, revered TV personality Mr. Food (aka Art Ginsburg) and Olympic Gold Medalist in Cycling, Kristin Armstrong, will both hit the airwaves to talk taters to consumers.  Mr. Food who is best known for his quick and easy cooking philosophy, as well as his focus to always help his viewers save money at the supermarket; will support the “Watching Waistlines & Wallets” program throughout the year. Additionally, Mr. Food will be featuring America’s favorite versatile vegetable on his daily show this fall; highlighting all aspects of it including the harvest, storage, cooking tips and of course, delicious, cost-saving recipes.

Idaho native Kristin Armstrong eats Idaho® potatoes to keep her fueled during her strenuous training and competitions.  Two weeks after she races in the 2009 UCI Road World Championships in Mendriso, Switzerland, Kristin will conduct 25-30 television interviews from her home in Boise.  She’ll discuss her career and share her recipe for Parmesan Potatoes.  Several of her interviews will be available for viewing on the IPC’s Website.

About Idaho® Potatoes

The Idaho® potato industry contributes $2.7 billion - more than 15 percent of Idaho's gross state product - to the state's economy each year and accounts for roughly one third of the U.S. fall potato crop.  Sixty percent of the crop is produced in the eastern region of Idaho, making it one of the largest potato-producing regions in North America.

Founded in 1937 as the Idaho Fruit and Vegetable Advertising Commission, the IPC, made up of nine commissioners representing processors, shippers and growers, is the national authority on the world's best-loved potato: The Idaho® potato.  The IPC is funded by a tax levied on all Idaho-grown potatoes based on hundredweight, with the monies used to advertise, promote, research and improve the state's potato crop.

The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho-grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research. The Commission also protects the use of the "Idaho® potato" and "Grown in Idaho®" seals, which are federally registered Certification Marks that belong to the IPC.  These Marks ensure that consumers are purchasing potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho.