Eastern WA potato farmers giving away 20 tons of potatoes

Potato growers are giving away nearly 20 tons of potatoes in Ritzville Wednesday morning as coronavirus restrictions halt production of potato products across Eastern Washington.

The potato giveaway begins at 610 W. First Avenue in Ritzville at 9 a.m.

“The ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order has dealt an enormous blow to potato farmers because 90 percent of all Eastern Washington frozen potato products are used in restaurants and other food service establishments. When those places closed, processing plants curtailed or closed their operations. Now there are more than 30 billion pounds of potatoes in storage,” said Rep. Mary Dye, who serves on the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

She said cold storage is limited because the supply of potato products has backed up.

“Freezers are full. There’s a lack of demand and all of these unprocessed potatoes have a short shelf life. So our growers are making an enormous sacrifice to give these potatoes away and help feed our communities at the same time,” said Dye.

By David Mann, YakTriNews, 4/28/20

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