Idaho Potato Truck "sails" in New York harbor

Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 17:31:55-04

The world’s largest potato on wheels traded its tires for buoys in celebration of the 2016 Idaho Potato Harvest last month.

On Wednesday, August 24, the giant spud truck embarked on her “maiden voyage” through the New York Harbor -– beginning in Brooklyn and passing all the major landmarks in South Manhattan including the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Freedom Tower.

Over the next six weeks 320,000 acres in Idaho will be harvested and yield more than 13 billion pounds of Idaho potatoes. New York is the largest consumer of Idaho potatoes, and two iconic New York-based restaurants -- Macy’s and Toffenetti’s -- were instrumental in establishing Idaho baked potatoes as a “premium menu item” back in the 1930s.

Reports say New Yorkers consume more potatoes than those in any other state. To show its appreciation, the Idaho Potato Commission donated 12,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes (equivalent to the weight of the Big Idaho Potato on the Truck) to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, New York's largest emergency food program. The Kitchen has consistently served 1,000 homeless and hungry people every weekday for the past thirty years.

“New Yorkers have played a major role in building the Idaho potato brand and making the baked Idaho potato one of the most sought after side dishes on the menu,” said Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir. “It was a privilege for us to spend time at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and provide and serve healthy Idaho potatoes to those who are less fortunate.”

The Big Idaho Potato Truck was built five years ago to celebrate the Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary. 

The idea for the Truck was born from a vintage postcard depicting a giant potato on a flatbed trailer with the quote, “We Grow ‘Em Big in Idaho.”

To date, the Truck has traveled over 100,000 miles promoting the heart-healthy benefits of the Idaho potato and donating to local charities through its “A Big Helping” program.