We have another crisis in the Sunshine State and this time it is not a big freeze affecting the citrus crop. Florida's potato farmers are facing ruin.

boiled and baked, roasted and fried, steamed, riced, pureed, whipped, and mashed

Wholesale prices have fallen by 5% and more. There has been a decrease of over 20% in acreage devoted to potato culture. The bathing beauties on the beaches are opting for low-carb diets and eschewing potatoes. French fry consumption has dropped by 17%.

hash browns and country fried, chips, crisps, shoestring and julienne, french fries and frites

Matt Seay is a Flagler County potato farmer. He sells the crop from his 200-acre farm to potato chip manufacturers. He is counting on the low-carb diet fad to run its course.

Frito-Lay and Jay's, Taquito, Cajun Chips and Pringles, Dakota Style and Golden Flake, Dirty's All Natural Chips, Humpty Dumpty Chips, and "Ivory Crisp" Potato for Tasty Chips

"Every time I hear 'Atkins,' it almost makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck," he said. "And a lot of those fast-food restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon. That's not helping."

Russets and bakers, round floury and waxy yellow, round redskins and long whites

Florida potato farmers are not alone. From Idaho and Washington state, to Maine and Michigan, spud growers have called upon powerful forces to help in the good fight. And it is a fight. The National Potato Board has kicked off an aggressive $4.4 million campaign for 2004. Joining with Weight Watchers, the two nutrution giants have decided to tell "The Truth About Carbs."

Irish Potato Bread, Potato Donuts, Cod and Potato Salad, Broccoli Cheese Potato Soup, Potato Sauce, Potato cake

The "white" foods outlawed by the infamous Atkins Diet include rice, pasta and bread as well as potatoes. It is not known yet if rice growers, pasta makers and bakeries will band together to safeguard their livelihood. On the potato front, the effort has spread beyond the boundries of the United States. Canadians are also concerned.

potatoes and gravy, meat and potatoes, a side order of fries, stuffed potato, potato cheese patties

Potato growers on Prince Edward Island have a vast oversupply. Between 80% and 70% of last season's crop is in storage. Normally only 20% is left at this time of year. It is envisioned to dump the surplus for fertilizer. There are concerns that mass dumping of potatoes could cause environmental damage.

potato salad, potato soup, potato dumplings, potato bread, potato pancake, potato balls
In Britain the English have begun to be somewhat concerned. The market in potato futures has fallen heavily. However, there is a bright side to the picture. February 16th through the 22nd is British National Chip Week. Linking to traditional Valentine themes of the preceding week, the campaign features a pair of bright red lips as a logo and the catchy slogan,

Time to get your lips around some chips.

www.news-journalonline.com

www.idahopotato.com
www.mainepotato.com
www.potatoes.com
www.peipotatomuseum.com
www.potato.org.uk