January 4, 2021

The Power of Potatoes: Down to Earth & Versatile

Mashed, baked, grilled, fried - potato preparation methods and cooking options are endless. The starchy root vegetable comes in all shapes and sizes as well as in a handful of different colors. While potatoes have become a staple food in cultures around the globe, many consumers seem to take the root vegetable for granted. Aware of the power of potatoes, the United States is one of the world’s top potato producers and home to experts in high-quality and sustainable potato farming. Take a closer look at how potatoes are produced in the United States and the many possibilities they provide in the kitchen!

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Whether to the  north, south, east or west – when looking at a map of the United States, it quickly becomes clear that potatoes are grown in nearly every state. Originating in the Andean region of South America, the root vegetable has become the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. Thanks to fertile cropland and agricultural expertise, the U.S. has taken on potato farming throughout the country, with a particularly strong potato industry flourishing in Idaho. In fact, the United States is recognized as a world leader in potato production and processing. With that being said, consumers are often surprised to discover that the vast majority of all potato farms in the U.S. are family owned. 

Down to Earth 

The high-quality production of potatoes in the United States is a result of the dedication and innovative approach of growers, coupled with well-kept growing practices and sustainable growing techniques. Since many potato farms in the United States are family owned, the approach to growing and harvesting potatoes is influenced by generations of experience. U.S. growers take pride in their products and consider themselves responsible for protecting the land and minimizing their impact on the environment. Some of the environmental stewardship practices currently in use by the U.S. potato industry are biotic farming methods, natural pest controls, and the planting of companion crops. 

“U.S. potato farmers use only sustainable growing techniques to ensure generation after generation of healthy crops. The care of the soil is a year-round affair involving the addition of compost, rotation of crops and growing of cover crops. These reduce erosion and add nutrients to the soil naturally.” – Potatoes USA

In addition to sustainable growing techniques, U.S. potato farmers are required to meet specific standards in order to guarantee the growth of high-quality potatoes. From breeding programs and seed certifications, meticulous soil & crop management, and careful harvest & storage techniques – there are many guidelines and regulations for potato growing. Consequently, U.S. potato products offer high-quality, consistency, and variety.

Anything, but Plain

Potatoes aren’t just tasty as french fries or mashed potatoes. There are a number of ways to prepare potatoes and adapt them to dietary needs. Plus, the wide variety of potato types offer a range of flavors that can be paired with different cuisines. 

Russet potatoes, known for their thick skin and light and fluffy center, can be enjoyed in multiple ways – baked, pan-fried, mashed, or roasted. The preparation of red potatoes in soups, stews, and salads helps bring out their subtly sweet flavor, while grilling them can bring out their nutty, full-bodied flavor. The golden skin of yellow potatoes hints at their slightly sweet, caramelized flavor, which comes out when baked, roasted, or grilled. Aside from offering an earthy flavor, purple potatoes provide a vibrant visual delight to any dish. 

Whether purple, red, white, or yellow, the Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad offers an easy, healthy and delicious way to prepare potatoes any time of year. Potatoes aren’t just good for lunch and dinner; power-packed with potatoes, vegetables, beans and spices, the Potato, Black Bean, & Swiss Chard Hash is a breakfast meal that will get you through the day. The potential of potatoes goes farther than what many may think. On a surprisingly sweet note, potatoes can also be used to make tasty and gluten-free desserts, such as in Purple Potato Brownies.

“I am thankful to wake up every day and work in the potato industry. I get excited about the fact that the potato is as versatile as it is, everyone has some type of potato product they love!” – Eric Halverson from Black Gold