Potato Lover’s Month is celebrated in February every year. Potatoes are the quintessential ingredient that acts as a base or side to many dishes. It comes as mashed potatoes, like french fries, baked potato cakes, potato chips, and so on. Every country uses potatoes to some extent. Potatoes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. They are easy to prepare and delicious to eat. They go well with any dish. Potato Lover’s Month allows us to celebrate this wholesome vegetable every day for a month. And the best way to celebrate is always by eating!
History of Potato Lovers Month
Potatoes have been around for many centuries. They were initially domesticated independently by various people. However, the first time they were cultivated at a large scale was by the Incas in South America about 1,800 years ago. The Spaniards introduced potatoes to Europe in the latter part of the 16th century when they invaded the continent.
By the end of the 17th century, potatoes had become a prominent crop in Ireland. Around the end of the 18th century, potatoes had become an important crop in all of Europe, especially in Germany and western England. In 1621, potatoes traveled to the Colonies. This happened when the Governor of Bermuda, dispatched two big boxes containing potatoes to the Governor of Virginia. In 1719, the first potato cultivation was done in North America by the immigrants of Scotch-Irish origin. The crop slowly spread across the whole country from that point.
Potatoes continued to spread all over the world and their demand continued to increase. The Irish agricultural economy fully became dependent on potatoes, so much so that the potato famine during the 19th century, rattled the Irish economy from the core. The aftereffects of this famine made the Irish people more conscious of their dependence on the crop.
Idaho is the current largest producer of potatoes. The farmers only started growing potatoes in 1836 due to the missionaries moving west to teach the native tribes to grow crops instead of having to hunt and gather. In 1872 the Russet Burbank variety of potato was created in Idaho and only then did its potato industry begin to prosper.
Potato Lovers Month timeline
Potatoes are first introduced in North America.
French fries are first served to Thomas Jefferson at the White House.
Governor Gardener declares February as Potato Lover's Month.
The potato industry in the Washington area creates almost 36,000 jobs.
Potato Lovers Month FAQs
Why were potatoes so popular in the 19th century?
Potatoes became popular in the northern parts of England. Potatoes led to a population boom and more workers for factories.
When were potatoes first grown in Idaho?
Potatoes were planted in 1838. By 1900 the state’s potato production was more than 27,000 tonnes.
When was the potato first domesticated?
Potato ceramic from the Moche culture (Larco Museum Collection) shows that it was domesticated in what is now Peru. This was between 8000 B.C. and 5000 B.C.
Potato Lovers Month Activities
Cook your favorite potato dish
From mashed potatoes and fries, to hash browns, the options are endless. Cook your favorite potato dishes this month!
Read about the Irish Potato Famine
Don't know much about the potato famine that affected Ireland in the 19th century? Well now is your time to grab a book and find out.
Share on social media
Remember to post your potato pictures on social media with the hashtag #PotatoLoversMonth. See what others have posted on that hashtag as well.
5 Fun Facts About Potatoes
Potatoes were even grown in space
NASA, along with the University of Wisconsin, sent potato seeds to be cultivated in space in 1995.
Green potatoes exist
Due to photosynthesis occurring in potatoes, they can turn green if kept under sunlight and given water.
Potato chips were made by accident
The chef, George Crum, made the first potato chips in 1853 as a prank on a customer.
Potatoes can be used for healing
According to lore, physical contact with potatoes for a prolonged time can prevent rheumatism or even improve a toothache.
Sweet potatoes are different
Sweet potatoes belong to a different family altogether and are actually swollen roots.
Why We Love Potato Lovers Month
They form a wholesome meal
Potatoes can make a very wholesome meal. They tend to make even very hungry people feel satiated.
They are nutritious
Potatoes are vegetables and, thus, are rich in nutrients. It is good if you include potatoes in your meals.
They bring people closer
Food helps bring people closer. Potatoes often remind one of family dinners.
Potato Lovers Month dates