US: Food service professionals tour Idaho potato harvest

Kevin Stanger, with Wada Farms in Pingree, Idaho, leads food service professionals on a tour of his facility. The tour was sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.Twice each week, Egan Click, with Sysco Corp. in Chicago, inspects 100,000-pound rail loads of Idaho potatoes to make certain they meet customers’ size and quality specifications. But Click acknowledges that prior to participating in an Idaho Potato Commission-sponsored harvest tour, he didn’t fully appreciate the “unbelievable” process Idaho growers, packers and shippers follow to meet the standards associated with their state’s seal. Click was among the 28 professionals within the growing food service category IPC included in a Sept. 26-29 tour. Participants representing major potato markets such as Illinois, California, Texas and New York toured potato harvest, a fresh packing operation, a dehydrated potato plant and a frozen potato processing plant. Don Odiorne, IPC’s vice president of food service, said the food service professionals head home with photographs and stories about Idaho potato production to share with their staffs and may become “brand advocates.” More