US: Wet spring, dry growing season can’t slow Skagit Valley spuds

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The 2017 Skagit Valley potato season will begin shortly after Labor Day

The red, white, gold and purple potatoes that grow so well in Washington’s topographically diverse Skagit Valley are not only a sought-after consumer product but are also a major component of the region’s brisk ag economy. Agriculture has long been the primary industry generated on approximately 90,000 acres in the Skagit Valley of the Cascade Mountain Range. In a draft of the WSU Skagit County Extension Agriculture Statistics for 2016, reports were presented on numerous crops for the 2015-16 season. In the potato segment, it was reported that “Potatoes have become a very important crop with acreage expanding significantly over the past 15 years.” Growers this year have described record precipitation over the winter and into spring 2017, but they have also noted dry conditions for the past several weeks. The consensus has been that irrigation has mitigated the dry weather, and this year’s colored variety and specialty crop has sized up nicely. Notably, the number of organic producers in all Skagit County items continues to increase, and potato grower-shippers are among those certified.