At Riverdale Potato Farm, Bryan Jones specializes in growing potatoes for one of America’s favorite snacks: the potato chip. Located just a few miles from the ocean in Saint Augustine, Florida, Bryan’s atypical potato growing season runs from January to the middle of June. But that’s not the only uncommon thing about Bryan’s farm. Because the weather can be wet, he uses military-grade trucks to get the produce out of the field more efficiently.
To create the ideal potato chip, Bryan focuses on growing smaller, rounder potatoes with thinner skin and a more uniform shape. As a result of these methods, his potatoes can go from harvest to a bag of chips in 24 hours.
Bryan also uses innovative technology, including tools to track rainfall and subsurface irrigation, allowing him to grow a bountiful crop using less irrigation and fertilizer. This also helps protect the St. Johns River, which runs beside the farm.
“We’re trying to irrigate less and keep the water table exactly where it needs to be,” said Bryan. “We also use a fertilizer technique, where instead of spreading it, we drop it exactly where the plant needs to uptake it. That way, our nutrients don’t leave our soil, and we can protect the river.”
Bryan’s family includes two young children, and he wants the farm to be an option for them if they’re interested one day.
“There are always plenty of challenges,” Bryan shared. “That’s why we have to be innovative with our operations so that we preserve this land for generations to come.”
His favorite potato dish?
Chips, of course! But when he wants to mix things up, he loves making his own homemade fries. Check out this recipe for easy air fryer fries.