(Photo by: The Carefree Kitchen)

Photo by: The Carefree Kitchen

We’re Running Out of Potatoes?!?

A look behind the USA Potato Shortage of 2022

November 3, 2022

If you weren’t already aware, Idaho is typically recognized across the nation for its abundance of high-quality potatoes. Our state alone accounts for about one-third of potato production in the nation. “So how could we have a potato shortage?” you may ask. Well, this year we are officially in the USA Potato Shortage of 2022. That’s right, and the main contributing factors might surprise you. 

Photo by: ThePacker.com

 

 

The biggest reason farmers are struggling this year is because of recovery from a weak crop in 2021. According to the Packer, “Very hot, dry, and smoky conditions during the 2021 growing season cut down 25%-30% of yields across Idaho.” Each production cycle should last through every August and the 2021 crops didn’t quite cut the standard. Every time these farmers experience a shortage the demand for potatoes grows higher and higher. Since the downfall of potato stocks, very small potatoes have been hitting the shelves in stores.

 

Obviously, last year didn’t present farmers with preferred conditions for potato growing. And right now, it’s looking like 2022 is failing to provide as well. According to the Packer “Smoke from wildfires in California and Colorado, created cloud cover in Idaho and prohibited plants from getting adequate sun.” Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean their crops are failing, they just won’t reach ‘The Idaho Potato Standard’ we all know very well.

Smoke from wildfires in California and Colorado, created cloud cover in Idaho and prohibited plants from getting adequate sun.”

— The Packer

 

Until the next crop is ready, you can find much smaller potatoes in store for higher prices than normal. Farmers have done everything they can, but once you factor in Mother Nature and the current wave of inflation, there’s not much they can do to help consumers with the cost or quality of their products. You may not realize it, but potatoes are all around you. Every time you eat chips, french fries, and any form of cooked potato you will now be affected by a higher price and lower quality. This change is very effective for a large majority of people because potatoes are so commonly eaten.

 

This is posing a major setback to local growers because potatoes actually create huge revenue for our state. According to Boise State Public Radio, Idaho Potatoes have become a multi-billion dollar industry. All over the nation, Idaho is known as ‘The Potato State’ because of our high quality and mass production of these spuds. In a way, this year’s shortage is very disappointing; but don’t worry, things are looking up.

 

The Potato shortage won’t last forever; in fact, Boise State Public Radio says, “those potatoes, we’re told, should start coming to stores sooner than later.” What a relief! Before you know it, shelves will be brimming with big, beautiful spuds for a lower cost again. 

If real, the 4-ton potato – the equivalent of 1,562 regular-sized potatoes– would produce 20,217 servings of mashed potatoes or 1 million average-sized french fries.”

— The Idaho Potato Commision

 

Speaking of bad luck with Potatoes…Did you know that a giant Idaho spud was pulled over in California? An Indy Ray Motorsports driver, Sting Ray Robb, was pulled over for not fastening his large potato correctly and speeding! According to the NY Post, he was going 63mph in a 55mph zone and his vehicle was 12,000 lbs overweight! The Idaho Potato Commission reported, “If real, the 4-ton potato – the equivalent of 1,562 regular-sized potatoes– would produce 20,217 servings of mashed potatoes or 1 million average-sized french fries.” In the end, the driver was given a fine and the Potato eventually found its new location. 

Potatoes have been putting our state on the map for years and although we are in a shortage, those spuds will continue to draw the nation’s attention. Don’t worry, these potatoes won’t be gone forever and many other states will continue to produce them as well. Watch for those climbing prices and lastly, don’t be too surprised when your potatoes are looking rather small.

 

Photo by: @BigIdahoPotato

 

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