Boise, ID, March 30, 2012 – After months of much anticipation and fanfare, the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck officially set off on its seven-month cross-country journey following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Idaho Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter in front of the Idaho Capitol Building.
In celebration of its Diamond Anniversary, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) built a larger-than-life version of the vintage Idaho® potato postcard. Weighing in at 6 tons (the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes), the Great Big Idaho® Potato is traversing the country to greet fans and to help raise funds and awareness for Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), the oldest and largest national organization dedicated to helping end senior hunger.
“Potatoes are very important to Idaho and I’m proud of the work the entire industry has done for the past 75 years to develop a first-class brand that is recognized around the world,” said Governor Otter. “The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck serves as a traveling ambassador for the great state of Idaho, the number one producer of potatoes in the country.”
“This is a very special year for us as we recognize an industry that has worked tirelessly to grow the finest potatoes available. We know that our potatoes provide nourishment to millions of folks every day of the year but many don’t realize how important the potato industry is to Idaho,” explained Frank Muir, president and CEO, IPC. “Idaho® potatoes generate more than $4 billion dollars in revenue annually and employ more than 30,000 people. Agriculture and potatoes in particular are the primary reasons Idaho is among the most fiscally sound states in the nation.”
The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck made its national debut at the Famous Idaho® Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho last December when ESPN prominently featured it several times during the game. Since then, the Truck has made several public appearances and at every venue, the most frequently asked question is, “Is it real?” We’ll never tell, but in the event it is, the Great Big Idaho® Potato…
* Would take more than 10,000 years to grow.
* Is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.
* Would take 2 years and 9 months to bake.
* Could make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes and more than 1.4 million (1,455,570) average-sized fries!
The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck was created and built by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce of Weiser, Idaho. With the help of a few specialized contractors, they spent an entire year designing and building this incredible vehicle. The Kenworth Sales Company and Western Trailer, both based in Boise, Idaho, also aided with the construction.
To find out when the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck will be in a city near you, please visit www.bigidahopotato.com. The website provides in-depth information about the Truck, the IPC’s partnership with MOWAA and is updated regularly with tales and photos from the road. Information can also be found on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/FamousIdahoPotatoTour and Twitter http://twitter.com/BigIdahoPotato.
Folks who stop and see the Truck are invited to take photos of themselves with this all-American icon and share them with their friends and family.
After the Truck’s cross-country tour, it will be back on its home turf in Idaho to celebrate the 2012 harvest at Shelley Spud Days as well as participate in other events around the state.
Meals On Wheels Association of America
In recognition of its milestone anniversary, the IPC made a $100,000 donation to MOWAA. This national organization represents more than 5,000 MOWAA programs across the country that, in total, prepare and deliver more than one million meals each day to homebound seniors. It is estimated that on any given day, there are between 800,000 and 1.7 million volunteers donating their time and often their own resources to make sure the elderly in their communities are nourished. Potatoes are an important food for these programs, because they are nutrient-dense, affordable and extremely versatile. And maybe most importantly, they are a food that many seniors enjoy eating.
Those who visit the Truck will be encouraged to make a $7.00 donation to MOWAA, the cost of preparing and serving one meal. The MOWAA logo prominently appears on the Truck and on the website www.bigidahopotato.com where donations can be made electronically. Additionally, the driver of the Truck will have pre-stamped envelopes for people who want to mail in donations. In turn, MOWAA will keep their volunteers and friends updated on the Tour by posting the Truck’s schedule and photos from the road on their Facebook page and website and in their monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in learning more about the organization, visit www.mowaa.org.
About the Idaho Potato Commission
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. For more information, visit www.idahopotato.com.
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