Where are the Alaska Grown potatoes?

Wet weather plagued the agriculture community this year, leaving spud production running behind
Locally grown potatoes get processed into 5lb bags at VanderWeele Farm in Palmer.
Locally grown potatoes get processed into 5lb bags at VanderWeele Farm in Palmer.(AKNS)
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 6:14 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaskan shoppers may have noticed a lack of Alaska Grown potatoes on store shelves lately, after months of persistent rain has plagued this year’s agricultural season. The wet weather has inhibited farmers from harvesting their crops as early as they’d like.

Good news is on the horizon though, as VanderWeele Farm has harvested its entire crop of potatoes from the ground and began processing them Wednesday.

“We washed the first load and bagged it,” owner Ben VanderWeele said. “Tomorrow we’re washing and bagging, so we’re ready to start delivering to the grocery stores.”

With precipitation totals higher than average this year, farmers across the state have been struggling. In August, one Kenai hay farmer said high rain totals this year was one of the worst production years he had seen in 47 years.

According to VanderWeele, the rain did not affect the growth of the potatoes — just his ability to harvest.

“It was just too wet, too muddy,” VanderWeele said. “That’s why the harvest took longer, but we have a beautiful crop and there’s lots of them.”

According to VanderWeele, Alaska residents should start seeing bags of potatoes bearing that proud Alaska Grown logo on grocery store shelves in the coming days.