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Meet The Farmers

Potato tips directly from potato growers.


Friehe Farms

Derek Friehe is the owner of Friehe farms and learned about the potato industry from his father. Friehe’s father, who immigrated from Germany in the 1980s, had the foresight to see the Upper Columbia Basin as a great opportunity for growing potatoes because of the good soil and the good source of water. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the operation continued to grow into what it is now. Today, Travis Meacham, the production manager at Friehe Farms, is using robust technology to increase efficiency on the farm.


Riverdale Potato Farm

Bryan Jones’ grandfather began growing greens in the 1950s for a naval base nearby before they switched to growing potatoes and never looked back. Jones’ dad is still very much involved on the farm and is the current owner but hopes Jones can take over someday. Today, Riverdale Potato Farms grows potatoes exclusively to be made into potato chips.


Schroeder Brother’s Farms

Eric Schroeder is a 5th-generation seed potato farmer with his brother and two cousins in Antigo, Wisconsin. During the spring season on a seed farm, seed is being delivered from other farms, while at the same time, Schroders Brother’s Farms is cutting their own seed and shipping it out all over the country.


Szawlowski Potato Farms

Colin Szawlowski is a 5th-generation potato grower whose great, great grandfather immigrated from Poland and decided to grow potatoes right in the North Hampton meadows. Szawlowski Potato Farms is a true family affair with Colin, his older twin brothers, his parents, and even his great uncles work together on the farm. His great uncles, who are 83 and 87, can be seen scouting the potatoes in the morning and again in the evening.


Three S Ranch

In the San Luis Valley of Colorado is 3rd generation potato grower, Jared Smith. Every potato farm is unique in some way, and this farm is surrounded by mountains that Smith, in his free time, flies through in his plane. The plane also comes in handy at the farm for getting a bird’s eye view of the entire operation. It is sometimes easier to spot potential problems from the sky rather than on the ground.


Streich Farms

Steve Streich is a 2nd generation seed potato grower in Kalispell, Montana, where the soil is beautiful and almost black in color. A seed potato farm is unique because it is what starts the potato supply chain and is key for a high-quality crop. The farm began in North Dakota by Streich’s father, but two moves later brought them to their current location in northwest Montana. It’s isolated from other potato farms and has a great climate for growing seed.


LaJoie Farm

Jay LaJoie is a 5th generation potato grower in Van Buren, Maine in a region called the St. John River Valley which just so happens to be right on the border of Canada. The farm grows a variety of fresh potatoes including purple potatoes. Today, most of the crop goes to a company in Pennsylvania that makes purple potato chips.


Bender Potatoes

Bender Potatoes grow seven varieties of white potatoes that are primarily turned into fries or potato chips. With a chipping plant just an hour away, potatoes harvested from Bryan Bender’s farm are chips by lunchtime the same day and in the grocery store the day after. The original farm was built in 1740, and shortly after, a now historical farmhouse was built in 1790 where Bender lives with his wife Betsy and their three kids.


Grant 4 D Farms

Welcome to Grant 4-D farms, a desert farm spanning 30,000 irrigated acres and growing nine different varieties of russet potatoes. Taylor Grant manages the farm with his dad where they’re utilizing high-tech farming equipment. One example of that is the moisture sensor setup which has four different depths for a full profile of the moisture of the crop. A rain gauge is on the back and all that information is beamed to a cloud server giving Grant access all over the world.


Baked Potato in a Multicooker

Potato grower, Kathy Sponheim, shows how to make a baked potato in an instapot.


Potatoes on the BBQ

Potato grower, Jason Davenport shows how to make his favorite potato recipe on the BBQ.


French fries in a fryer

Potato grower, Kathy Michael Sponheim shows how to make French Fries in a fryer.


Quick recipe for roasted potatoes

Potato grower, Eric Schroeder shows how to make his favorite roasted potato recipe.


Family recipe for potato salad

Potato grower, Kathy Michael Sponheim shows her family recipe for potato salad.


Potato breakfast tacos

Potato growers, Mike & Ali Carter share their favorite recipe for breakfast tacos.


Roasted red potatoes on the grill

Potato grower, John Halverson’s girls show how to make roasted red potatoes on the grill.

Potato FAQs

Can a person live on only potatoes?

Yes, potatoes provide all of the nutrients required to live a healthy and active life.  There are numerous accounts of people going on potato only diets any where from two months to a full year with resulting improvements in health markers and often weight loss. The protein in potatoes is complete and readily available, however it does not occur in significant quantities, so for growing children or those desiring to add muscle mass it is recommended to add lean proteins like non-fat milk or seafood.

Will consuming potatoes with green patches make me sick?

  • Green spots or patches on potatoes (known as “greening”) are a natural result of chlorophyll production in the tuber from being exposed to light. Chlorophyll is not toxic; however, its presence indicates an increase in the production of solanine. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), but
    only if consumed in very large amounts.
  • Click here to learn more Greening Fact Check

What do I do with “green” or “sprouting” potatoes?

Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause illness.

Continue reading

How do I properly store and handle potatoes after purchase?

  • Store potatoes in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Cold temperatures, lower than 50 degrees in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked.
  • Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the countertop).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending the shelf life of potatoes
  • Don’t wash potatoes, or any produce, before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage

Go to storage and handling.

What do I look for when purchasing potatoes at the grocery store?

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises, or discoloration. Click here to learn about potato storage and handling.