Sunday, November 18, 2007

This was an interesting article in the UK Times featuring Albert Wada, Southeast Idaho potato farmer:

Albert Wada is one of America’s potato kings. Farming 12,000 acres of land in Idaho, the state that produces a third of America’s spuds, Mr Wada is one of the biggest potato farmers in the United States, having bought the business in 1972 from his father.

“My father emigrated from Japan to the US in 1922, and moved to Idaho during the war after immigrants of Japanese descent were forced to leave California. He started growing potatoes in the fall of ’42, on the land I stand on now, and we haven’t missed a crop since.”

By his own admission, it is the shift in diet of some of Mr Wada’s distant relatives in Japan that has seen his Idaho crops benefit from a rise in price over the past 18 months.

Japan and China are driving an increase in demand for processed potato - sliced and frozen for chips (or French fries, to use the American term). “The fast food craze in China and Japan accounts for the largest percentage of the increase in the price for processed potato. The French fries potato market has reversed a downward trend for potatoes – it’s not a huge increase, but it is a rebound.”

You can visit Albert Wada's web site at

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