EAGLE, ID, October 8, 2007 - There's good news for Idaho Potato lovers across the country, especially in the top-consuming states of New York, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas! The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC), representing Idaho Potato processors, shippers and growers, reports an exceptional harvest during this, its 70th Anniversary year.
Idaho Potato growers are expected to harvest 348,000 acres, producing approximately 13 billion pounds of the signature spuds during the harvest, which runs from August through October. "This harvest is reason to celebrate," said IPC President/CEO Frank Muir. "In spite of extreme heat in July, growers managed their crops using Idaho's exceptional irrigation system, and the weather may actually have accelerated the harvest," explained Muir. Contributing to the crop's quality are Idaho's rich volcanic soil, warm days, cool nights and an adequate supply of clean water for irrigation.
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.
Idaho Potatoes are distinguished by their unmatched quality and taste and a high solids content that translates into potatoes that are fluffier mashed, crispier fried and lighter baked. In general, 62 percent of Idaho Potatoes are processed frozen or dehydrated; 29 percent are shipped fresh to supermarkets nationwide; and, 9 percent are used for certified seed. Americans love potatoes! Annual per capita consumption of all frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes in 2006 was approximately 126 pounds.
The 70th Anniversary of the IPC has been marked by the continuation of the highly successful television advertising campaign that for the first time will run nationally on cable TV. The new ad stars IPC's long-standing spokesperson and America's favorite fitness expert, Denise Austin and touts the many versatile ways to prepare and enjoy an Idaho Potato. The campaign continues to educate consumers on the superior taste and nutritional benefits of Idaho Potatoes, and reinforces the fact that only potatoes grown in the Gem State can wear the 'Grown in Idaho' Seal. Both Idaho® Potatoes and the 'Grown in Idaho®' seal are federally registered certification marks that guarantee consumers they are purchasing genuine Idaho Potatoes.
Additional highlights during the anniversary year included the IPC's first online video contest on YouTube, where consumers were asked to create a video starring Idaho's famous potatoes. The winning videos from this iTuber Video Contest made their debut at SpudFest, a family film festival founded by Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island.
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.