Here We Go Again…

Big Idaho Potato 2.0 takes off across America

Published online: Sep 06, 2018 Articles Frank Muir, IPC President and CEO
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This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Potato Grower.

Big things are happening at the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). We recently launched the highly anticipated new Big Idaho Potato Truck, otherwise known as Big Idaho Potato 2.0.

Those of you who have followed its seven-year journey know that we introduced the original Big Idaho Potato Truck in 2012 in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary. It was only supposed to be on the road for one year, but it was an instant success from coast to coast. Folks devoured it, and the media couldn’t get enough of it! So, we said, “Okay, one more year.” Now, here we are seven years later, and the Big Idaho Potato Truck Tour couldn’t be any more popular; it’s literally become a part of American pop culture. Even though the original potato became a little too road-worn, we knew we couldn’t end the Tour. Instead, we built 2.0.

For a potato that was only built to last a year, it certainly outdid itself. During its seven years, the Truck traveled approximately 155,000 miles, visited over 7,200 cities, and was included in more selfies than we’ll ever be able to count. Millions of folks have taken photos and posted them on their own social media accounts. And, during its time on the road, the Truck has done some pretty cool things:

  • Traveled on a barge around New York Harbor in front of the Statue of Liberty and under the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Took a lap on a NASCAR track in the Poconos
  • Appeared in many iconic parades, including the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.; Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade; the SeaFair Festival Parade in Seattle; and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade in Canton, Ohio
  • Visited NASA in Houston, where an astronaut did a “moon walk” on the big potato, then declared, “America now has its own “Spud-nick!”
  • Helped fulfill a Make-A-Wish for a boy in Virginia who was born with a rare form of dwarfism
  • Been the star of our popular nationally televised commercials

If you’re wondering what we did with the old potato, we donated it to Kristie Wolfe, a former Tater Team member, who is in the process of turning it into a tiny house in Idaho.  And, if it’s anything like her other tiny houses—a Hobbit Inn in Washington state, a tree house in Hawaii and a reclaimed Forest Service lookout in Idaho—it will be a sight to see! You can follow the transformation on Instagram at @bigidahopotatohotel.

Now, about the new potato: It’s just as impressive, with a few subtle differences. It’s made from fiberglass so it’s sturdier, lighter and a little trimmer in the middle so we can take it more places. The most commonly asked question we got about the old potato was, “Is it real?” We’re certain that won’t change with the new potato.

If the potato was real, it would…

  • Be the equivalent of 21,562 medium-sized potatoes
  • Make 20,217 servings of mashed potatoes
  • Make close to 1 million french fries
  • Take nearly 7,000 years to grow
  • Take about two years to bake

My favorite part of the Big Idaho Potato Truck Tour is its charity component, “A Big Helping—Idaho Potatoes Supporting Local Causes Nationwide.” In many of the markets the Truck visits, it works with a local charity to help raise funds and awareness about the organization or the important cause it supports. A signature board is set up at the event, and for every signature collected, $1 (up to $500) is donated to the nonprofit. I’m pleased to announce that this charity component will continue.

Keep your eyes peeled, because the Big Idaho Potato Truck is traveling across America promoting Idaho’s most famous crop. To see when it will be in your neck of the woods, visit www.bigidahopotatotruck.com