Knowing Your Roots

Blog 41

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.   

The results fully justify the efforts that the growers take and, when your grocer is ready to bring in more fresh potatoes, the temperatures are slowly returned to those of a fall field and the tubers are carefully washed, sized, sorted and packaged for delivery to your pantry. It’s a guarantee that these potatoes will have that just-dug, locally-grown Wisconsin flavor that your family craves when the cold winds blow. And remember, you are also helping the environment by buying Wisconsin potatoes which are truly local with almost all areas of the state less than 100 food miles from where they are grown!

So delve into those potato cookbooks to select the cozy, comfort casseroles, scrumptious soups and signature side dishes for everyone to enjoy this winter, and keep the freshness coming all year round!

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