As the 2003 Idaho potato harvest begins to wind down, the realization is starting to surface that the record-setting hot summer has taken a toll on quality.
Potato observers state that because of the extended periods of heat and despite the tremendous effort to keep potatoes irrigated, many fields are coming in with rough potatoes.
In addition, more sugar ends have been found than was originally expected in southern and western Idaho. This leads to off color in french fries.
Despite those two realizations and the fact pink rot reared its ugly head again in some growing areas, the crop should generally come in as an average crop, observers state.
“Things are not worse than last year, but Idaho has had better years,” an observer stated.
The three factors are not uncontrollable but with the growing season lining up as it did, a percentage of the crop will be affected.