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CPAC has full plate for 2010 summer and new potato season

by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | May 31, 2010
Summer 2010 is shaping up to be an especially busy season for the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, with events and activities to include co- hosting the National Potato Council's summer meeting in June.

At the CPAC booth in the Colorado Proud aisle of WestEx, a foodservice show sponsored by Sysco and the Colorado Association and held on May 11 at Denver's Merchandise Mart, CPAC Executive Director Jim Ehrlich and Administrator Linda Weyers said the NPC meeting will feature U.S. Olympic figure skater Rachael Flatt, who is a spokesperson for CPAC and Colorado potatoes.

Ms. Flatt is slated to attend the NPC luncheon, according to Ms. Weyers. The young athlete lives in Colorado Springs and won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, WA, earlier this year. That win secured her berth at the Olympics, and the new high school graduate performed well at the Vancouver Games in March.

She is considered a major contender in the sport and, Ms. Weyers said, is a "wholesome, all-American role model and perfect match for Colorado potatoes."

The three-day meeting, which includes both the industry luncheon and a dinner, will be presided over by NPC President Roger Mix, a potato grower who resides in the San Luis Valley. Mr. Mix is a fourth-generation farmer in the area, and he brings prior NPC administrative experience to his position as president, having served as vice president of environmental affairs and vice president of finance and office procedures.

The potato veteran, who farms with his wife, Rosalie, and his parents, Sherrel and Linda, additionally was a Colorado representative to the Denver-based United States Potato Board for six years and is vice president of the Colorado Certified Potato Growers Association.

The Produce Marketing Association's annual trade show and convention is another major event for the committee, and it is hoped Ms. Flatt will greet visitors to the CPAC booth during the Fresh Summit in Orlando this fall.

"We are also participating in Ride the Rockies," Ms. Weyers said. This year marks the 25th annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 riders on a weeklong ride through the Rocky Mountains during June.

The 532-mile ride this year will include Wolf Creek Pass, which hits an elevation of 10,863 feet above sea level before dropping into the San Luis Valley on the east side. CPAC will provide riders with body-fueling baked potatoes during the June 18 leg.

Also upcoming is the annual Fall Harvest Festival, which will be celebrated Sept. 11 this year. Held in Monte Vista, the festival includes cooking demonstrations and contests featuring chefs from the Colorado Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, "taste tours" of the downtown area, field and warehouse tours, games and other activities. This year the CPAC cookbook, which was developed last season, will be available at the event and is selling now on the committee's web site, Recipes in response to a cookbook contest range from appetizers to main dishes, sides and desserts.

(For more on the Rocky Mountain market, see the May 31, 2010, issue of The Produce News.)