Potato – food facts
The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year. Potatoes are grown in all 50 states of the USA and in about 125 countries throughout the world. Potatoes are about 80% water and 20% solids.
Varieties: There are thousands of different potato varieties but not all are commercially available. Popular ones include Russet, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Desiree and Fingerling.
Related: The sweet potato belongs in the same family as morning glories while the white potato belongs to the same group as tomatoes, eggplant and the petunia.
Harvest season in the LV: July- December.
Growing Conditions: Potatoes thrive in well-drained, loose soil.
Pollination: Usually pollinated by insects such as bumblebees
Cooking/Preparation required: Potatoes are prepared and served in many different ways, including boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries and hash browns. Potatoes are usually served hot, but sometimes cold in the form of potato chips or potato salad.
Fertilizers or pesticides: There are many different pesticides found on potatoes. The chemical that is found on 76% of all conventional potatoes is chlorpropham, an herbicide that is used to stop the growth of weeds and to inhibit potato sprouting. As a root vegetable, potatoes absorb all of the pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides that are sprayed above the ground and then eventually make their way into the soil. Potatoes just missed the ‘Dirty Dozen‘ list, so it might be advisable to look for organically-grown potatoes.
Nutrition & Health: Contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. (Potatoes are vegetables but they contain a lot of starch that make them more like rice, pasta, and bread.) May promote bone health, lower blood pressure, heart health, aid in digestion.
Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.
‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ ratings do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.