Chef Leif Eric Benson, Oregon Potato Public Member was recognized by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as Chef of the Year 2010. Chef Benson showed us how to make a wonderful hand-mashed potato dish.
Here are some fun potato facts from the Oregon Potato Commission , you can also find delicious potato recipes on the website.
Potatoes have been an important crop in Oregon since it became a state. During the gold rush in Northern California, surplus potatoes from Oregon were packed by mule train, and later by wagon train to the miners. In 1849, four bushels of Oregon potatoes were selling for $500 in San Francisco. Oregon farmers thus dug potatoes and struck gold.
Oregon potato farmers harvested 35,000 acres in 2006 yielding over 1.8 billion pounds of potatoes.
Oregon has one of the highest yields per acre of potatoes in the world at 53,000 pounds of potatoes per acre!
75% of Oregon potatoes are processed into food products such as frozen french fries for fast food restaurants, hash browns, chips, dehydrated flakes, soups, etc. Up to 15% of these products go to foreign markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, South America, etc.
Nearly 25% of all french fries exported from the United States come from Oregon.
Oregon potatoes account for more value added production than any other crop grown in the state. This results in the marketing of over $250 million worth of fresh and processed potatoes each year.
The average American eats 134 pounds of potatoes a year, or over 365 potatoes per person per year - that's an average of more than one potato a day.
The potato is the second most consumed food in the United States - trailing only after milk products.
Contrary to a common misconception, potatoes are not high in calories. One medium sized potato contains 110 calories, while a one-cup serving of rice has 225 calories, and a cup of pasta has 155 calories.
Potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. One medium sized potato has fewer calories than a grapefruit, more potassium than a banana, and more usable iron than any other vegetable. Potatoes are also high in fiber, and loaded with complex carbohydrates. And best of all, potatoes are fat-free.