What is the big deal about potatoes?

One potatoGood news from Tuberville! This morning at 12:01 a.m. we learned that Pepsi accepted Tuberville’s application to participate in their charitable causes competition.  Please help us out by voting at http://www.refresheverything.com/search/?q=Help+feed+vermont and then using the icon on the right hand side of the page to post to facebook and/or Twitter.

Last time we visited I wrote a little bit about what the people next door were up to with their potatoes. That made me wonder, what’s the big deal about a potato anyway? Where did the potato come from and why is it so popular? The more I thought about it, the more questions I had. So I used my favorite search engine and looked up the history of the potato and thought I’d share what I found with all of you.

The potato was introduced to Europe by Spain (via the Andes) in 1536 and then scattered throughout the world by European mariners. Due to the lack of genetic diversity and limited varieties of potatoes, the crops became vulnerable to disease. In 1845 a fungus-like disease known as the potato blight spread throughout the poorer communities of western Ireland and resulted in the Great Irish Famine.

Potatoes were planted in Idaho as early as 1838 and by the 1900 production reached over a million bushels.  Potatoes could be stored in barns and roots cellars but as crop production increased potato growers sold their crops to both foreign and domestic markets. Two thirds of the U. S. potato crop comes from Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

The potato has a huge role in the world food supply.  In 2008 the United Nations declared the International Year of the Potato. Potatoes grow in a wide variety of climates. Potatoes are best known for its carbohydrate content which is in the form of starch. The potato also contains minerals and vitamins as well as carotenoids and polyphenols.

A five ounce potato with skin contains

  • 27 mg of Vitamin C
  • 620 mg of potassium
  • .02 mg vitamin B6
  • trace amounts of riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, iron, zinc, thiamin, folate and phosphorus.
  • and also contains approximately 2 g of fiber.

Wow, that’s lots of important stuff! It looks like I need to eat more potatoes.

If you have any interesting facts about potatoes, pictures of oddly shaped potatoes or suggestions for future blogs, you know, other stuff you’d like to know but don’t have the time research, leave a comment for me, Tommy B. from Tuberville and remember we can help to feed the world, one potato at a time.

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