Potato trivia and tales

Somethings are worth revisiting. Thanks to: James T. Ehler for this information.

Up until the late 18th century, the French believed that potatoes caused leprosy.
The potato is the fourth most important crop in the world after wheat, rice and corn.
Marie Antoinette wife of Louis XV was known to wear potato blossoms as a hair decoration.

The potato, which originated in Peru, took a long journey to reach North America. The Spaniards took it back to Spain in the 16th century; from there it made its way to Italy and northern Europe, then to Bermuda and the Virginia colonies of North America.

Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was a 18th century agronomist who convinced the common French people to accept the potato as a safe food. He used reverse psychology by posting guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them. He left them unguarded at night. So, every night, the thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of these precious potatoes!

It is most likely that all of Europe’s potato crop in the 1800s originated from only 2 plants brought back to Europe by the Spaniards. This lack of genetic diversity is one of the probable causes of the devastating potato blight of the late 19th century.

»The first permanent potato patches in North America were established in 1719, most likely near Londonderry (Derry), New Hampshire.

»The ‘Idaho’ potato or ‘Russet Burbank’ potato was developed by Luther Burbank (1849-1926) in 1871.

»During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.

»In 1952, Mr. Potato Head was born, and was also the first toy to be advertised on television.

»Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955. Just add milk.

»Potatoes and lettuce are the two most popular fresh vegetables in the U.S.

»Idaho is the ‘Land of Famous Potatoes’.

»Clark is the Potato Capital of South Dakota. Clark is home to the world famous Mashed Potato Wrestling contest.

»U.S. potato production in 1998 was 47.5 billion pounds.

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