Did you know that Wisconsin is one of the top potato producing states in the nation? We’re No. 3 to be exact! In 2018 alone, our state produced more than 27 million pounds of potatoes.
With more potassium than a banana, potatoes are an excellent choice for your dinner plate. Potatoes are high in fiber and packed full of energy to fuel your body and brain throughout the day. According to the national potato marketing and research organization, Potatoes USA, the majority of the nutrients in a potato are found within the potato itself, not just in the skin. The only nutrient significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber.
And the best part? There are countless ways to enjoy a potato! My favorites include hash browns with breakfast, red roasted potatoes with lunch, and baked potatoes with dinner.
On my recent tour of Alsum Farms & Produce, I was able to get an insider view of how potatoes are harvested and packaged. In Wisconsin, potatoes are usually harvested from around late-August to mid-October, depending on weather and temperature. Alsum Farms & Produce grew 2,750 acres of potatoes this year, with approximately 90 percent of them being russet potatoes, six percent yellow potatoes, and the remaining three percent red potatoes. There are many varieties of potatoes and all are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B6. These vitamins help to strengthen our immune system and metabolize fats and proteins.
Alsum Farms & Produce began over 45 years ago and pride themselves on sustainability and supporting local farmers. By partnering with family farms across the nation, Alsum provides a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to grocers in the Great Lakes region every day of the year. When you head to the store to shop for your next potato recipe, be sure to look for Alsum potatoes and choose Wisconsin. Buying Wisconsin products not only benefits farmers, but also Wisconsin businesses and communities. As a leading potato-producing state, Wisconsin is known for both the quantity and quality of our potatoes.
Alsum Farms & Produce is also a member of the Healthy Grown program. Healthy Grown brand potatoes are grown utilizing the best practices in integrated pest management and water conservation. Participating farmers work with ecologists, conservationists and university researchers to utilize and find better, less-invasive ways to manage pests, prevent erosion, and conserve quality water. Through this program, potatoes are grown with a “whole farm” approach, as farmers work to protect their land and the local wildlife.
Potato growers all across the state of Wisconsin are enlisting progressive farming techniques to propel their farms into the future. Planting and harvesting equipment equipped with GPS technology helps growers optimize planting efficiency and fuel consumption. Computer-based irrigation scheduling conserves water, and variety rotation preserves soil nutrients. These sustainable techniques help farmers ensure their farmland will be viable for generations to come.
Wisconsin is a potato powerhouse and a leader in the development of new potato varieties, sustainable growing practices, and produce traceability initiatives. On average, potatoes generate $352 million for our state’s economy annually! So the next time you are looking to power-up your day with a local food source, consider a Wisconsin potato. You can learn more about Wisconsin potatoes varieties, their health benefits, and recipes for healthy potato dishes at eatwisconsinpotatoes.com and learn more about Alsum Farms & Produce at alsum.com.
To follow my adventures as Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland, visit aliceindairyland.com!
Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes can be reached at DATCP, 2811 Agriculture Drive, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53718 or DATCPAlice@wisconsin.gov.