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Promoting Potatoes

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potatoes

Cool Stuff About Potatoes!

Did you know that human use of potatoes dates back at least 7,000 years to the Andes Mountains in South America? Even though the Incas worshipped potatoes and even buried potatoes with their dead, the Irish are probably best known for their love of potatoes and the blight that destroyed their potato crop. In 1845 and 1846 more than one million people died from the famine caused by potato blight, and another million left Ireland to find food.

A potato plant is a vine that grows above ground with tubers that grow from the roots underground. We eat the tubers. There are over 5,000 varieties of potatoes in the world. In the United States, one of the most common varieties is the red potato. Did you know that Minnesota ranks 6th in the nation in potato production? Red potatoes grown in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota have a deeper red color and more robust flavor than potatoes grown anywhere else. This is because these potatoes are non-irrigated and grown in heavy black soil unique to the Red River Valley of the North. More than 146,000 acres of potatoes are planted here each year. The average yield per acre is 260 hundredweight - that's 260 one-hundred-pound bags! There is a Potato Days Festival in Barnesville, Minnesota each year that has been rated one of the best festivals in the country by US News and World Report (among other things, people wrestle in a mashed potato pit).

Potatoes were once so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes. In fact, there is even a potato called Yukon Gold! A single medium-sized potato contains about half the daily requirement of vitamin C and provides complex carbohydrates needed to fuel our brains and bodies. You can pick some up with your family at the local farmers' market or FARM NAME. Try potatoes using the recipe in this month’s newsletter. Today at lunch, you will have the opportunity to sample potatoes in FOOD ITEM from FARM NAME/CITY, and because they are considered a powerhouse of nutrients, you will feel energized throughout the day!

potatoes

In [MONTH] your child tried [FOOD ITEM] with locally grown potatoes from [FARM NAME] in [CITY] . Prepare this delicious recipe with your family and ask your child(ren) if they can answer the following trivia questions.

  1. Human use of potatoes dates back over 7,000 years to the Andes Mountains in South America. The Incas worshipped the potato (and even buried potatoes with their dead), but what ethnic group or nationality is probably best known for their love of potatoes?
  2. How many varieties of potatoes are grown around the world? And what is the Minnesota Red River Valley most famous for?
  3. Miners once traded gold for potatoes. Why?

Trivia Answers

  1. The Irish, because of their dependence on this food crop. In 1845 and 1846, potato blight caused famine in Ireland. More than one million people died and another million left Ireland to find food.
  2. There are more than 5,000 varieties in the world. In the United States, one of the most common varieties is the red potato. Red potatoes grown in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota have a deeper red color and more robust flavor than potatoes grown anywhere else.
  3. Potatoes were valued for their vitamin C content. A single medium-sized potato contains about half the daily requirement of vitamin C.

MS Word version of Newsletter

potatoes

History and Origin

  • The potato took a long journey to reach the United States. The Spaniards took potatoes from Mexico and Pero back to Spain in the 16th century; from there potatoes made their way to Italy and northern Europe, then to Bermuda and the Virginia colonies of North America.
  • Today potatoes are grown in all 50 states of the USA and in about 125 countries throughout the world.

Nutrition

  • High in potassium for optimal muscle performance, iron for converting food to energy, and with as much protein as a half a glass of milk, potatoes are sometimes considered a powerhouse of nutrients.
  • Potatoes are a good source of starch
  • The skin of the potato contains the majority of the potato's fiber, and many of the nutrients are located close to the skin
  • The potato itself is 99.9% fat free and yet it is a nutrient dense food. It is an important dietary staple in more than 130 countries.

Did you know…?

  • The states of Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Maine, California, Oregon and Wisconsin produce nearly 75% of the total crop of the United States.
  • The world's largest French fry feed is held every year in Grand Forks, North Dakota during Potato Bowl USA. In 2006, a new world record was set with 4,620 pounds of French fries that were served at the French Fry Frenzy. Around 10,000 people were served. About 113 gallons of ketchup were used, too!
  • The average person in the United States eats 124 pounds of potatoes every year while Germans eat more than 200 pounds every year.
  • The potato was the first vegetable to be grown in space!
  • In 1952, Mr. Potato Head was born, and was also the first toy to be advertised on television.
  • It takes 10,000 pounds of potatoes to make 3,500 pounds of potato chips. In the U.S., a pound of potato chips costs about ten times more than a pound of potatoes!
  • Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955. Just add milk.
  • Potatoes and lettuce are the two most popular fresh vegetables in the U.S.
  • The potato is about 80% water and 20% solids
  • Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing "french fries" to America when he served them at a White House dinner.
  • The largest potato grown was 18 pounds and 4 ounces according to the Guinness Book of World Records — and was grown in England in 1795.
  • You can treat facial blemishes by washing your face daily with cool potato juice
  • You can treat frostbite or sunburn by applying raw grated potato to the affected area
  • Reduce aches and pains by rubbing boiled, cooled potato water on the affected area
  • The fastest potato eating on record was 3 pounds of potatoes consumed in 1 minute 22 seconds by Peter Dowdeswell of England in 1978.

How to Eat Potatoes

  • Baked potato
  • Mashed potato
  • Baked French fries
  • Potato soup
  • In casseroles or hot dish
  • Chopped and grilled with garlic and onion
  • Potato pancakes
  • Baked potato chips

The above information was compiled from:

www.thehotpotato.com/en/datos-nutricionales/
www.minnesotapotato.org/
www.nppga.org/
www.potatodays.com/
www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/growing-potatoes-in-minnesota-home-gardens/

potatoes

Tasting Poster (526 K PDF)

Table Top Trifold (508 K PDF)

Index Card (398 K PDF)

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red potatoes

Red Potatoes

photo by Kent Lorentzen
Grand Rapids Farmers' Market
potato varieties

Many Potato Varieties

photo by Kent Lorentzen
Grand Rapids Farmers' Market
yellow potatoes

Yellow Fingerling-type Potatoes

photo by Brett Olson
Renewing the Countryside
baskets of potatoes

Baskets of Russet-type Potatoes

photo by Brett Olson
Renewing the Countryside
potatoes
  • Potato Stamps — Kids don't need fancy tools or techniques to put their stamp on a T-shirt — they don't even need to know how to paint. Adding a playful print to a plain top is simple with ordinary baking potatoes.
  • Potato Float — Seawater contains many dissolved substances and these add mass to the water producing a greater mass per unit volume, or density, than that of pure water. The relationship between the density of a fluid, weight of an object, and buoyancy is critical in understanding the ocean, because density has a direct influence on the way seawater and objects in seawater behave.
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