Oregon is one of the top potato producing states in the US.
Oregon Potato History
Potatoes have been an important crop in Oregon since it became a state. During the gold rush in Northern California, surplus potatoes from Oregon were packed by mule train, and later by wagon train to the miners. In 1849, four bushels of Oregon potatoes were selling for $500 in San Francisco. Oregon farmers thus dug potatoes and struck gold.
Oregon Potato facts
Major Potato varieties grown
- Oregon potato farmers harvested 35,000 acres in 2006 yielding over 1.8 billion pounds of potatoes.
Oregon has one of the highest yields per acre of potatoes in the world at 53,000 pounds of potatoes per acre!
75% of Oregon potatoes are processed into food products such as frozen french fries for fast food restaurants, hash browns, chips, dehydrated flakes, soups, etc. Up to 15% of these products go to foreign markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, South America, etc.
Nearly 25% of all french fries exported from the United States come from Oregon.
Oregon potatoes account for more value added production than any other crop grown in the state. This results in the marketing of over $250 million worth of fresh and processed potatoes each year.
The top potato varieties grown in Oregon (fall harvest 2016, by acreage) are:
- Russet Norkota (17.5%)
- Umatilla Russet (17.4%)
- Russet Burbank (12.1%)
- Ranger Russet (11.2%)
- Shepody (9.4%)
- Alturas (7.5%)
- Frito-Lay varieties (5.9%)
- Pike (4.7%)
- Clearwater (4.1%)
All other varieties count for less than 3% of the Oregon Fall potato acreage.