Q. Is there much difference between this year’s Idaho potato crop and last year’s? I had to switch to a cheaper potato last season when the cartons got to $40 for big potatoes.
A. Last season Idaho farmers grew 294,000 acres of potatoes and because of a wet spring and cool, early summer the yields were not that good for the larger count 1 lb and bigger potatoes. So they did get “pricey” or as my mother used to say “that’s too pricey for me to pay”. This season, Idaho growers planted 315,000 acres (as demand exceeded supply with the 2010-2011 crop year) and were worried about similar conditions at the start, the weather stayed cool and the planting was 2-4 weeks behind. Mother Nature shined favorably on the potatoes in the form of lots of nice days and cool nights at the end of the growing season and the potatoes from Idaho got just the right amount of “heat units”. While the Russet Norkotah and Ranger varieties typically bulk up a little more than the russet Burbank variety, all the potatoes had a chance to grow long enough to mature and get some extra size.
So, the large 1 lb potatoes are very reasonably priced and a real bargain versus last season. This 2011-2012 Idaho potato crop looks terrific, so we hope you’ll switch back over to Idaho.