US (WA): Average crop, lower prices for potatoes

As the potato harvest in Washington hits its last stride, production is expected to be on par with normal years. Good production across the nation, however, has led to abundant supplies and prices for fresh potatoes that are lower than last year.

“It's been about an average season, so far,” said Matt Harris, assistant executive director for the Washington State Potato Commission. He noted that approximately 165,000 acres of potatoes were planted this year, and all reports from growers have confirmed that this year will be, more or less, normal.

“We haven't heard anything from growers saying that yields are above what they've been in previous years and we haven't heard anything saying production will be worse,” he said. “About average, is what we're hearing.” The timing for the fresh potato harvest also began in June, as usual, and it's expected to continue through October. But the one thing which will likely be different this year, said Harris, will be the price of potatoes.

“There are too many potatoes on the market right now for the current demand,” he said. Production out of states like Idaho and Wisconsin typically all coincide this time of year, leading to lower prices. But even accounting for the normal dip in price that this time of the year brings, prices are low.

“Prices for fresh potatoes are depressed,” he said. “There's more supply than there is demand, so the returns are low for growers.”

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