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Where are Our "Eastern Potatoes" From? [Moved from Home Cooking board]

LED Jan 22, 2008 04:32 PM

Our favorite, flavorful potato is a five-pound bag of what appear to be generic Eastern Potatoes from a local chain grocer. We find they carry so much more nuance and, well, flavor than starchy, flavorless Idaho's. The only identifier on the five-pound bag is Mabijo Packing Corp, NYC Terminal Market, Bronx, NY 17474.

So, we wondered, from where do these taters hail? We couldn't figure why they'd have been Maine 'taters, since we assumed the Maine Marketing was only slightly less enthusiastic -- or had only slightly less money -- to market their Aroostook County potatoes than the Idaho farmers.

But we wondered: Could these Eastern Potatoes have come from, say, Ohio or Pennsylvania or New Jersey or Upstate New York? Indiana? West Virginia? Tennessee? Delaware or Virginia or Maryland? What IS an Eastern Potato anyway?

Is there a Department of Agriculture "Eastern Potato" designation?

The only thing we found using Google was that the Mabijo Packing Corp. is apparently upstate, on Rr 2 Box 71, Goshen, NY 10924, (845) 651-7266.

Chowhounders, what say you? -- Brooklyn, NY tater lover

  1. m
    MakingSense Jan 23, 2008 09:17 AM

    The Idaho Potato Commission is a State agency, funded by a tax on potatoes, to help the farmers with research and development because potatoes are an important crop in the State of Idaho and mean a lot to the economy of the State.
    The potatoes grown there are primarily Russets, used for baking, french fries, mashed potatoes and hash browns. Not good for a lot of other uses.
    All potatoes aren't good for all uses. The generic "eastern potatoes" you're buying might be good for salad, in stew, boiling, or some other uses, but not as good for baking. It can also be a matter of individual preference.
    When I want really good baked potatoes, I look for Russet Burbanks from Idaho.

    1. c
      crt Jan 23, 2008 07:02 AM

      I did a Google search of 'east coast grown potatoes'. It seems depending on harvest times your 'east coasters' could come from several different states...

      "On the East Coast, for example, potato crops from Florida are the first to arrive in the market. As the season progresses, the potato harvest moves up the coast until the season ends with potatoes from Maine,"

      Link to article below.


      1. Cheese Boy Jan 22, 2008 08:11 PM

        LED, potatoes are harvested and then stored for months for a continual supply till next harvest. The less distance those potatoes travel, the better for the farmer. Don't be surprised if those Eastern taters are from Long Island, New York. So, your suspicion is somewhat correct, and supposedly a potato's origin can vary based on our local supply.

        See the Hunt's Point market link here that reveals the potato's earlier whereabouts.
        Click on 'potato & onion' once in ... http://www.terminalmarkets.com/huntsp...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheese Boy
          byrd Jan 23, 2008 03:42 AM

          In my neck of the woods "LI" as the years go by there is less and less acreage devoted to the "eastern potato" (good for boiling, vis a vis the russet "idaho" which is good for baking: it has to do with water content). Last year 5,000 acres were planted to potatoes, at the turn of the century 20,000 acres were planted. The main crop nowadays is vino. 1973 was the first year of planting, with 16,000 acres in cultivation now. It's the bottom line, $4 - $5 for a fifty pound sack of potatoes, $15 - $50 for a bottle of grape juice.

          1. re: byrd
            paulj Jan 23, 2008 07:50 AM

            A general cookbook like Joy discusses the basic difference between waxy potatoes and mealy ones. The large Idaho ones are mealy, giving the dry fluffy character that many like in baked potatoes. It sounds as though these 'eastern' ones are waxy ones, better for things like potato salad. In between the are ones like Yukon Gold.

            The other big variable is the age, from the small 'new' to the fully mature.


        2. Euonymous Jan 22, 2008 08:04 PM

          From your description I'm guessing that they might be Kennebecs, but I don't know where they might have come from.

          1. k
            Kelli2006 Jan 22, 2008 07:43 PM

            I know that there are many local potato farmers that supply the Frito-Lay plant in Wooster, but I have never seen them sold retail outside of a small area. Most local farmers grow a Russet Burbank, but I have seen reds on occasion

            1. m
              mpalmer6c Jan 22, 2008 07:05 PM

              Well, if "Eastern" doesn't just refer to geography, the Eastern Potato is the same as the Round White Potato. They're grown over a wide area, apparently.

              1. LNG212 Jan 22, 2008 05:24 PM

                A lot of potatoes come from PEI. Could they be considered "eastern potatoes"?

                1 Reply
                1. re: LNG212
                  Gio Jan 22, 2008 05:32 PM

                  Aren't the PEI potatoes usually so labeled? At least here they are. They're very proud of those spuds. I think because 20+ years ago the PEI potatoes escaped a blight which infested the ME potatoes.

                2. Gio Jan 22, 2008 05:01 PM

                  From what I have read, Eastern potatoes are generally attributed to the state of Maine.
                  Mabijo is simply the distributor.

                  1. s
                    Springhaze2 Jan 22, 2008 04:51 PM

                    I know some of them come from NJ...the "garden state". We also grow some fantasic tomatoes and corn.

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