Wisconsin grown potatoes provide a delicious and nutritious staple for mealtimes. Whether you enjoy them mashed, baked or fried, potatoes are sure to bring a satisfied consumer to every table.
The potato journey starts with seed potatoes. These fully grown potatoes are inspected for diseases and flaws to ensure only the highest quality are planted. Once they pass the test, the seed potatoes are run through a cutting machine to be cut into smaller pieces. Each piece must contain an eye, or indentation with a bud, to properly emerge from the ground.
The seeds are then planted in April and May after the last hard frost. Most farms use a GPS planting system to improve productivity and yield.
After the potato plants have emerged six to eight inches out of the ground, a machine goes through each row and mounds soil around the plants. This process, called hilling, allows more potatoes to grow underneath the soil. Throughout the summer, the plants are carefully monitored by crop scouts. The scouts check for diseases, pests and develop the best plan of action for any disturbances.
Near the end of July, the potatoes are ready to be harvested. A potato harvester drives through the fields and transfers them into a large truck or wagon. Upon arriving at the processing facility, the potatoes are unloaded, quality checked and placed in storage. Most farms have special large storage sheds that are dark and kept at a cool temperature. Potatoes can last for several months in these conditions.
Once the farm is ready to process the potatoes, they are taken out of storage, washed, polished and checked again for quality. Since the potatoes will be used for a variety of products, they must be sorted by size and quality before packaging.
After determining their final destination, they are packaged into the correct packaging to be sent to retailers. When the potatoes are transported to the store, they are ready to take home to your table.
The potato planting and harvesting process may only last a few months, but farmers are busy year-round processing and planning for the next growing season. Each farm is dedicated to providing you with a quality product you can savor. The next time you’re at the grocery store, consider supporting Wisconsin potato farmers!