Despite the food revolution taking place in Ireland in the past few years, the Irish are still often made fun of for the way our diets have historically revolved around potatoes. Never in all our years has the greatest spud-loving nation in the world ever quite gone so far as crafting as large a potato as was spotted floating past New York down the Hudson River this week, however.
On Wednesday, August 24, passersby were amazed to see a six-ton potato making its way out of New York over water. It is a potato so large that it was hoisted onto a tractor-trailer, set aboard a barge and then pulled along by a tug-boat to make its escape.
The equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho potatoes and 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, the massive tater would make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes or 1.5 million French fries, depending on how you like your potatoes cooked.
You may wonder how the boiling sun didn’t heat the spud sufficiently to send wafts of a hearty potato dinner through the city. The answer is that despite the signs on either side proclaiming that it’s real the potato is very much fake.
Commissioned by the Idaho Potato Commission, the giant-Idaho lookalike was put together with steel, plywood, foams and concrete by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce in honor of the Commission’s 75th anniversary in 2012.
Such was the success of the first cross-country trip it made as part of the anniversary celebrations, the commission has dug up the 6-ton work of art each year since to tour various food festivals around the country.
Potatoes may get a bad rap as a carb source these days, but with the help of this potato the commission is promoting the 'certified heart-healthy Idaho potato' as well as helping out small charities in the towns and cities they travel to as part of their national tour.
Unfortunately, some New-Yorkers were unhappy at what they declared to be the “false advertising” of the signs saying the behemoth vegetable was in fact an edible, grown-in-the-ground potato.
“During the first two years that we had the truck, about 80% of the people who saw it at our events and stuff thought it was real — and it didn’t even say that!” Ellis Nanney, a tour ambassador for the Big Idaho Potato explained to the New York Post.
“After awhile, we decided, ‘We get asked if it’s real so much, we should have some fun with this. Let’s own it.'
“People write in and stuff, but for the most part, even if they’re a little upset at first, if we get a chance to interact with them, they usually leave with a smile.”
New York state is the number one purchaser of Idahos in the country so the artists felt felt they had to go all out with the barge advertising.
“New York is the number one purchaser of Idaho potatoes,” Nanney continued.
“We ship more potatoes here than any other state, so this is our way for Big Idaho Potato to give back to the Big Apple. We do a lot of fun stuff, but we’ve never embarked on something quite like this.”
The potato still has a long way to travel, so keep you eyes peeled at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ on August 26, or at the upcoming 50th annual Blueberry Fest in Plymouth, IN to see the spud for yourself.
RT yankee_MSU: ICYMI: A giant, 6 ton "potato" turned heads today as it floated along the Hudson … pic.twitter.com/M9Lc2V0Y6T— Devorah Westbury (@DevorahWestbury) August 24, 2016