potatoes

Courtesy of Weber Farms

The Northwest farmers who grow potatoes for your French fries are themselves plenty fried.

The three massive agribusiness companies that make much of the world’s frozen fries, tots and hashbrowns are going to pay Northwest potato farmers less this year. 

“It really is a punch in the gut,” says Adam Weber, a 27-year-old, third-generation grower in Quincy in Washington’s Columbia Basin.

A potato processing plant in the central Washington town of Warden burned down in a dramatic overnight fire Thursday. 

By early Friday morning, emergency responders had evacuated nearly a third of the homes near the plant. Flames were licking a large tank of ammonia, and firefighters feared it might explode. 

“This was a very large fire,” Kyle Foreman with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department said. “Certainly one of the top 10 in my career.”

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Home-delivered fast food is a booming global business, but when it comes to French fries, there’s a hitch. 

They often get soggy on the ride. So now, top fry-makers are racing to perfect a crispy fry that can survive a 15-minute ride with a food delivery service. Companies right here in the Northwest are frying up a crisp solution to this soggy situation.

To truly get the facts on delivered French fries, I ordered some.

ANNA KING / NW News Network

Circle irrigation pivot lines fan out in the distance -- dark skeletons against the dirty snow and matching sky.

Ed Schneider has grown french-fry-making spuds here near Pasco, Wash., for 40 years. But this year America’s fries are on the line.

Thompson & Morgan

A Western Oregon mail order company has begun selling what might become the No. 1 conversation starter of Northwest garden parties this summer.

Congress Puts Potatoes On The Menu In Nutrition Subsidy

Dec 15, 2014
Idaho Potato Commission

Northwest potato farmers are cheering a small provision tucked into the newly passed federal spending package.

USDA

Northwest potato growers say they've been snubbed in a federal nutrition program.

You Say Potato Co-op, They Say Potato Cartel

Nov 29, 2013
USDA

A set of lawsuits winding its way through federal court in Idaho combine a couple phrases you might not expect to find together: "massive international cartel" and "potato."

Simplot Plant Sciences

One of the country's leading suppliers of french fries is asking the federal government to approve genetically modified potatoes. The USDA announced the move Friday by the J.R. Simplot Company of Idaho. It would be the only genetically engineered potato on the market.

Simplot has branded them Innate potatoes. The company figured out how to use existing potato DNA to design a spud that’s less prone to dark spots. It also produces less acrylamide when cooked. Acrylamide is a neurotoxin found in many foods. Studies on animals have indicated it may also cause cancer.