Winter is upon us! There is an icy blast down from Canada, and snow is in the wind. All those fresh local vegetables that we love are a fading memory. But are they? Well tomatoes, yes. Broccoli, yes. Lettuce, definitely. Potatoes, no! Thanks to the Wisconsin potato growers, we have access to fresh, local potatoes all winter long!
Frozen fries and chips are wonderful but you can’t top the taste of a fresh potatoes prepared from scratch in your own kitchen; the Wisconsin potato growers have invested millions learning how to perfect the product that delivers that taste.
The humble spud is a living being that must be treated with great care. In the fall the growers use incredibly expensive machines to harvest the tubers at just the right maturity and temperature and carefully move them to the storage sheds without a blemish or bruise. Once there, the temperature is slowly brought down to a level that preserves the goodness we want and the humidity is carefully controlled to keep the tubers fresh and bursting with flavor. Conditions are monitored and adjusted continuously and tuber health is followed closely with complex sensors that can detect the gasses emitted by those that may need extra care. To stay on top of this advanced technology, the Wisconsin potato growers invested $10 million and in 2006 built a state-of-the-art potato storage research facility located at the Hancock Research Station in central WI. The growers generously donated this facility to the University of Wisconsin so they can conduct advanced research to find even better ways to store potatoes and enhance their quality. (more…)