Back by popular demand, the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck officially set off on its seven-month cross-country journey with support and good wishes from Governor C. L. (Butch) Otter and hundreds of Emmett, ID, residents.
In 2012, the Idaho Potato Commission built a larger-than-life version of the vintage Idaho potato postcard in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary. Weighing in at six tons (the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho potatoes), the Great Big Idaho Potato is traversing the country to greet fans and to help raise funds and awareness for Meals On Wheels Association of America,one of the older and larger national organizations dedicated to helping end senior hunger.
“Last year the Truck became a national sensation. We’ve received thousands of emails and calls from folks across the country asking when and where they can see the Truck, and we’re thrilled it’s back on the road,” Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of IPC, said in a press release. "Idaho potatoes are a staple in almost every household in America and are one of the most important agricultural crops in Idaho. Idaho potatoes generate close to $5 billion in revenue annually and employ more than 30,000 people. The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is our unique way of reminding consumers to always look for the famous ‘Grown in Idaho' seal.”
The Truck has been seen by millions of Americans in person and on the national television commercial. the most frequently asked question is, “Is it real?” If it were, the Great Big Idaho Potato would take more than 10,000 years to grow; is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds; would take two years and nine months to bake; could make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes and more than 1.4 million average-sized fries.
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck was created and built by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce of Weiser, ID. With the help of a few specialized contractors, they spent an entire year designing and building this incredible vehicle. The Kenworth Sales Co. and Western Trailer, both based in Boise, ID, also aided with the construction.
To find out when the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will be in a city near you, visit www.bigidahopotato.com. The website provides in-depth information about the Truck, the IPC’s partnership with MOWAA and weekly updates with tales and photos from the road.
See and post photos and join the Truck’s social media community using #bigidahopotato on Twitter and Instagram (@bigidahopotato). Don’t forget to “Like” the Truck on Facebook (Facebook.com/bigidahopotatotour), too.
During the Truck's 22,000-mile journey, it will make dozens of stops, including the following: the National Football Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Derby Parade, College Baseball World Series and a special visit to the World's Largest Catsup Bottle. At the end of the year, it will return to its home turf in Idaho to participate in the third annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise.
In support of Meals On Wheels’ effort to end senior hunger by 2020, the IPC has donated $200,000 to MOWAA. This national organization represents more than 5,000 MOWAA programs across the country that together prepare and deliver more than 1 million meals each day to homebound seniors. On any given day, between 800,000 and 1.7 million volunteers who donate their time and often their own resources to make sure the elderly in their communities receive delicious, nourishing meals. Potatoes are an important food for these programs because they are nutrient dense, affordable and extremely versatile. And perhaps most importantly, many seniors enjoy eating potatoes.
The MOWAA logo appears prominently on the Truck and on the website www.bigidahopotato.com, where donations can be made electronically. In turn, MOWAA will keep their volunteers and friends updated on the Tour by posting the Truck’s schedule and photos from the road on their Facebook page and website and in their monthly newsletter.
If you are interested in learning more about the organization, visit www.mowaa.org.