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MONTE VISTA, CO -- With an updated marketing strategy that dovetails with the U.S. Potato Board's "Goodness Unearthed" campaign, the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee is sponsoring a 2009 consumer recipe contest that encourages creativity with spuds.

The recipes, which will ultimately be compiled in a new cookbook from the committee, take in all menu categories, from breakfast-brunch to soups to main dishes. A category designated "other" can include desserts and snacks, according to CPAC Administrator Linda Weyers.

Running now through April 15, the contest is open to all consumers and can be accessed through the CPAC web site (www.coloradopotato.org) as well as through full-page ads being featured in 59 newspapers and 18 states. The ads are placed by Family Features Syndication, said Ms. Weyers, and by the time the contest closes in April, the papers will have accounted for 4 million viewer impressions.

Gift card prizes have been provided by the Kroger Co., she added.

"The contest is meant to encourage people to look at the economy and creativity with staple items, focusing on nutrition and convenience," she said.

As the contest brings in entries, the CPAC marketing committee is moving ahead with development of its yearlong strategy, which also includes continuation of a close relationship with the Colorado foodservice industry. For several years the committee has worked with the American Culinary Federation's Colorado chapter on a number of events such as culinary school cookoffs. In 2008, during the San Luis Valley Potato Festival held in Monte Vista, a number of visiting chefs teamed up with local establishments in a very potato-specific cooking contest which was judged by festival-goers.

Ms. Weyers said that this year the committee will again present specialty varieties at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic and also at the Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA.

"We will also attend the WestEx show in May, a regional foodservice expo in Denver," she said.

That show, which brings some 400 exhibitors to Denver's Merchandise Mart, is an exposition of the Rocky Mountain foodservice and restaurant industry, and the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee will be an exhibitor under the umbrella of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

(For more on San Luis Valley potatoes, see the Feb. 2 issue of The Produce News.)