Who’s that? It’s Spuddy Buddy, my new pal! And he sure does like California avocados! Who would have thought that an Idaho potato buddy would want to perch up in a tree to see what it would feel like to be an avocado? After all, potatoes grow in the ground, right? How did Spuddy happen to come to our avocado ranch anyway?
Two weeks ago I was one of 30 bloggers invited to visit the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit conference in Anaheim, California, as guests of the Idaho Potato Commission. As I mentioned in my last post, this show is so big that it can be overwhelming! Our host, Dr. Potato and his team came up with an ingenious idea to help us find our way around the show. We were given a “Mission”…with a map of the huge PMA Expo and a passport to help us find seven different Idaho potato growers. Imagine 3o food bloggers, let loose in the largest convention center on the west coast, with every kind of fruit, vegetable and fresh produce product imaginable to see, photograph and taste. Yes, it was a good thing to have a map and a plan!
Our Mission began at the Refresh Lounge, hosted by the Idaho Potato Commission, where we met Dr. Potato and his team. We were treated to potato doughnuts and a mashed potato bar, plus a comfortable place to sit down and visit. Don’t you love the red truck with the giant potato?
My first stop was at Wada Farms, a family operation with many years of farming tradition. Wada Farms promises satisfaction by the truckload…they’ve been growing potatoes for 70 years, and to prove it they brought this cool truck!
Visiting each of the Idaho potato exhibits proved that the potato farmers of Idaho take great pride in their work. As the wife of an avocado grower, I know how much care goes into producing our crop. All farmers have this in common…a true love for the land and growing the best crops to produce the very best quality food. Check out this touching tribute to the Idaho potato farmer!
Young or old, all farmers seem to have a huge fascination with trucks…and who hasn’t wished they could drive a truck or a tractor? The Idaho Potato Commission set up a remote control truck race and let everyone who wanted to drive take a turn! Have you ever tried to race remote controlled trucks? I can tell you that it’s not as easy as it looks….Mimi Avocado failed miserably at the truck race!
Another Idaho potato producer chose to build a Happy Days Diner as their exhibit. They even had actor Don Most available for photographs! Remember Ralph Malph?
At Southwind Farms we tasted a delicious potato salad, made with the gourmet fingerling potatoes that they grow near the Snake River in Idaho. Read about this wonderful family farm here.
Chef Kristen Trevino and her team were making yummy Southwind Fingerling Potato and Celery Salad. Check out more of their recipes here.
I spent quite a long time visiting with Bruce Crapo and his niece Jill Cox of Sun Glo of Idaho, Inc. This is a family with four generations involved in all aspects of potato production…from farming, to packing and shipping, sales… quite an accomplishment! Interested in learning how a family grows a business like this? Click here for the story.
Are you curious about what goes into producing potatoes? I am! Wouldn’t it be great to visit Idaho and see the farms firsthand? Luckily, Sun Glo has a video about their operation. Take a look!
Wilcox Fresh and Eagle Eye Produce exhibited lots of fresh produce in addition to potatoes!
I have to admit that I will never look at an Idaho potato in the same way again. When I buy potatoes that say “Idaho” on them, I’ll think of these wonderful people who were so hospitable and generous in sharing their love of farming with me. We talked about the differences between growing potatoes and growing avocados….the challenges we face as farmers…and our concerns for the future of farming and the responsibility of providing the highest quality food for our customers.
After we completed our mission to visit all of the Idaho Potato booths, we ended our journey at the enormous Idaho Potato Truck, where we were given a big bag of goodies. And that’s how Spuddy Buddy ended up at our avocado ranch!
The PMA Fresh Summit conference was one of the very last stops for this truck and the Tater Team who traveled for 7 months, spreading the news of Idaho Potatoes to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission. It was fun to see the truck up close, and meet The Tater Team too! Check out some of their videos here.
Many thanks to the Idaho Potato Commission and Dr. Potato, Don Odiorne for the opportunity to spend the weekend at the Fresh Summit conference with the Produce Marketing Association. Want to know more about the weekend? Here are some other posts by blogging friends who were there too!
Everything But Produce! on California Greek Girl (Mary Platis)
Citrus 101 on The Recipe Renovator (Stephanie Weaver)
Fresh Summit on Jolly Tomato (Jeanne Fratello)
The Avocado Sisters had a chance to meet up with Dr. Potato and the Tater Team for dinner later that day. We enjoyed hearing stories from the Tater Team about their travels with the giant Idaho potato! La Fuji Mama went to Idaho recently and learned all about potatoes ...read her post here.
As much as I’d love to visit Idaho, I hope that Dr. Potato will come visit our avocado ranch someday too! Spuddy Buddy will be here waiting for him! We’d be glad to trade fresh California avocados for some of the those delicious Idaho potatoes any day!