The Idaho Potato Museum

potato002Did you know that potatoes originated in Peru? Or that it was President Thomas Jefferson that introduced French fries to Americans when he served them at a White House dinner? Well, that is just one of the fascinating pieces of history and fun facts that you can find at the Idaho Potato Museum. And, by the way, John Adams thought Jefferson was putting on airs by serving such “novelties”.

potato001The drive from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone was longer than we prefer, so we decided to overnight near the halfway point. When we realized that Blackfoot, Idaho, where the potato museum is located, was about the halfway point, we couldn’t resist. Where else can you get a photo in front of a giant potato with a big glop of sour cream and a giant pad of butter on top?

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potato003We overnighted at the Fairway RV Park. Read my review here.

The next morning on our way out of town, we stopped at the museum. As you enter the Idaho Potato Museum, there is a life-size figure of Marilyn Monroe in a perfectly fitted potato sack with a field of potato plants behind her.potato004

Then for a $3.00 entry fee you can see the rest of the museum AND receive a bag of instant potatoes. Such a deal.

potato021There are displays of the origin, history of the potato and how it spread across the world.

Followed by comics created by the ever creative potato marketing people.

A great display of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head figures.

potato022Displays of antique potato artifacts over the years.  “They almost peel themselves!”

A giant display of many hundreds of potato mashers which was a Boy Scout project.potato013

Information about the history of harvesting potatoes.

Some interesting history:

After the Spanish Conquistadores landed in South America, Spanish sailors brought potato plants to Spain c. 1570 from Peru. By the end of the 18th century they were a staple crop in Europe.potato007

British and Portuguese brought potatoes when they colonized India and China, where they spread to other countries in Asia.

potato006Frederick the Great of Prussia grew potatoes in his flower garden c.1750 because he thought the flowers were beautiful. He was so convinced of the potatoes’ nutritional value he threatened to cut off his subjects’ ears if they refused to grow them.

Potatoes became fashionable in France when Marie Antoinette began wearing potato blossoms in her hair.

And some interesting facts:

U.S. potato production ranks third in the world, behind the Soviet Union and Poland, where nearly half of the world’s annual 291-million-ton crop is grown.

potato010The potato is the only vegetable that grows in the desert as well as in the mountains above 14,000 feet.

The potato belongs to the same group as tomatoes, tobacco, chili peppers, eggplants, and the petunia.

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THE World Record Potato Chip

The potato chip industry survived WWII despite severe rationing restrictions since chips were the only ready-to-eat, dehydrated vegetable available at the time.

potato005And, of course, 82% of people world-wide associate potatoes with Idaho. No other growing area has greater name recognition than Idaho Potatoes.potato023

There are many more interesting and fun facts about potatoes. But you will have to go to the Idaho Potato Museum to find them.

~ Brenda

 

8 thoughts on “The Idaho Potato Museum

  1. How could you not be in the same town as The Potato Museum and not visit! Thanks for the interesting facts. We LOVE to visit unusual museums like that. We went out of our way to visit the Spam Museum in Minnesota and the Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska is a must see.

  2. What a chippy little report. Shows the great value in traveling across the vast roads of the US and having the time to savor the flavor of the land. MMMMM sounds good!

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