EAGLE, ID, September 15, 2008 - The 2008 growing season was spectacular for Idaho spuds. The combination of warm days, cool nights and just the right amount of rainfall created the perfect growing environment for America's most famous potato. The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), representing Idaho Potato processors, shippers and growers, is confident that consumers will be more than pleased with the quality of potatoes that will soon be piled high in their grocers' produce bins.
Idaho Potato growers are expected to harvest about 300,000 acres, producing approximately 11 billion pounds of the signature spuds during the harvest, which runs from August through October. After harvest, 62% will be processed into frozen or dehydrated potato products; 29% will be shipped fresh to supermarkets and restaurants nationwide; and 9% will be used for certified seed - to grow more potatoes next year!
"Hands down, this was a terrific growing season," said Frank Muir, President and CEO, Idaho Potato Commission. "The growing conditions were perfect for our famous russet potatoes, and many farmers are expanding into other potato varieties like reds, fingerlings and Yukon Golds as well, giving consumers more Idaho Potato varieties than ever before."
With more than 16 potato varieties, including organic, grown in Idaho, it's no wonder that potatoes are America's favorite vegetable. Annual per capita consumption of all frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes in 2007 was approximately 126 pounds. With more and more consumers realizing the nutritional return on investment (ROI) of one Idaho Potato, that number is sure to grow. For less than a quarter, one spud provides 110 calories, almost half the daily vitamin C requirements, nearly two times as much potassium as a banana, fiber and loads of important vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, potatoes are fat and cholesterol free.
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.