Potatoes come in all types, shapes and sizes, and so do their incredible growers and farmers. Meet some of the wonderful people who ensure these delicious spuds make it from field to plate.
Dan Moss operates a family farming business spanning four generations. Located along the Snake River Plain of South-Central Idaho, the farm includes 15,000 fruitful acres and primarily produces russet potatoes.
Dan’s favorite way to prepare a russet is a simple, yet classic, baked potato. No foil necessary! Just wash, then rub with olive oil and seasoning salt, and put in a 425° oven on a baking sheet until easily pierced with a fork. This makes for a potato-skin-like baked potato with a crispy skin and fluffy, moist flesh!
Eric Halverson is a fourth-generation potato farmer based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Eric’s family operation grows red potatoes in five states, including 500 to 1,000 acres of red potatoes in North Dakota’s Red River Valley.
Eric recommends red potatoes as a delicious, unconventional choice for a perfect baked potato with a crisp skin and steamy, fluffy inside. He also loves reds for their presentation in skin-on mashed potatoes and potato salads.
Kristi Gundersen is a fifth-generation potato farmer based in Burlington, Washington, in the small, fertile Skagit Valley. The marine climate in this region creates a rich soil and an ideal growing environment for specialty red, white and yellow potatoes.
Kristi loves her yellow potatoes cubed, shaken with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and fresh rosemary and then roasted to crispy perfection!
John Coombs is a third-generation potato farmer in southern New Jersey near the shore. Tending to 350 acres of white potatoes in this region is a different experience than growing potatoes in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. The humid climate is not ideal for potato farming, so John’s family farm takes extra precautions to nurture a healthy white potato crop.
White potatoes are moist and produce a superb baked potato, which is John’s go-to snack or side after a long day in the field.
Melissa Bedlington-Kleindel is a third-generation potato seed grower. She has spent her life working a 1,000-acre farm located in northwest Washington state, bordered by the Cascade Mountain Range and Pacific Ocean. For more than 75 years, her family farm has produced seeds that create a variety of potato types, including purple-blue potatoes.
Passionate about her craft, Melissa is a fan of the earthy flavor of purple-blue potatoes, especially when roasted with red and yellow potatoes to create a colorful medley.
Jerry Tominaga first discovered fingerling potatoes 20 years ago at a food show. A third-generation potato farmer, Jerry recognized the opportunity to grow fingerlings just as they were taking off and being featured on menus and in cooking shows by notable chefs. Today, his operation dedicates 750 acres to fingerlings, which are an early-season variety with thin, delicate skin that requires special harvesting equipment.
Fingerlings have become a consumer favorite for their ease of preparation and deliciousness. Jerry loves them halved, seasoned and grilled or simmered whole in a flavorful curry.
Andy Diercks works alongside his father on a family farm that includes 850 acres of potatoes. For three seasons, Andy’s family farm has grown petite potatoes on one third of their acreage. Petite potatoes are a big business now due to high demand from both foodservice operators and retailers. That’s why they continue to expand their petite potato-growing operation.
His favorite way to enjoy petites is tossed whole with peppers and onions in aluminum foil and grilled to perfection.
For additional potato recipes and smart tips from Potato USA growers, visit this link.
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