BOISE, Idaho, October 29, 2004 - Idaho Potato growers will harvest approximately 348,000 acres of Idaho Potatoes this year, producing 13.2 billion pounds of potatoes. Weather conditions during the potato growing season were ideal, and the ample rain and favorable temperatures yielded potatoes that are consistently shaped, as well as large and smoothly-textured.
As the freshest potatoes in the world arrive in supermarkets across the country, the Idaho Potato Commission's (IPC) newest national television commercial featuring national fitness icon, Denise Austin, touts the nutritional benefits of America's favorite spud.
"This year we decided to air this new commercial during the middle of the harvest season, while awareness is high and we are most apt to capture the public's attention with the important message that Idaho Potatoes are extremely good for you," said Frank Muir, President, CEO, IPC.
The 2004 growing season was a welcome change from the last two seasons (2002 and 2003), which were unusually hot and dry. (The state's irrigation system, which growers in Idaho are directly responsible for managing, worked "over time" for the last two years.)
The Idaho Potato industry contributes approximately $2 billion to the state's economy each year and accounts for roughly one third of the U.S. crop. Idaho's rich volcanic soil, extraordinary climate and superb irrigation system are directly responsible for the unmatched quality and taste of Idaho Potatoes. Idaho Potatoes have a high solids content which translates into potatoes that are fluffier mashed, crispier fried and lighter baked.
Roughly 60% of the total Idaho crop comes from the eastern region of Idaho, one of the richest potato producing regions in the world. Once harvested, the Idaho Potato crop is typically utilized as follows: 62% is used to make processed potatoes, such as frozen and dehydrated; 29% are shipped fresh; 9% are for certified seed and the remaining crop is used on the farm or is unusable.
Consumers across the country love Idaho Potatoes! The state of New York boasts the highest usage - followed by Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.
"Our Idaho Potato farmers have grown an outstanding crop this year and our job is to encourage consumers to purchase and enjoy our potatoes year 'round," said Muir. "Idaho Potatoes are good for the whole family, plus they come with in portion controlled packages and taste great."
Although Idaho is famous worldwide for its premium potatoes, some consumers don't realize that only potatoes grown in the Gem State can wear the "Grown in Idaho" Seal. Both words Idaho® Potatoes and the "Grown in Idaho®" seal are federally registered Certification Marks that certify to consumers that they are purchasing genuine Idaho Potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho.