The potato is the most important non-cereal crop for feeding the world, ranking behind corn, wheat and rice. The starchy vegetable is about 80 percent water and grows best in a long, cool season. Here are some other potato facts:
- After dairy products, potatoes are the second most consumed food in all of the United States.
- The average American eats just under 140 pounds of potatoes every year – more than 50 pounds fresh, 55 pounds frozen, 2 pounds canned, 13 pounds dehydrated and almost 17 pounds of potato chips.
- In 1995, potato plants were taken into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. This marked the first time any food was ever grown in space.
- Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Maine lead the U.S. potato production.
- While potatoes may be synonymous with the Irish in history, the crop was grown in the Andes Mountains centuries before Europeans set foot in the New World. Potatoes were first introduced to Britain and Ireland in the late 1500s.
- The world’s largest potato weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s enough for 73 portions of medium fries at McDonald’s.