By Katie Teachout
The Journal 

Tons of Spuds

Twenty tons of potatoes given away in Ritzville

 

April 30, 2020

Katie Teachout | The Journal

Potato grower Marvin Wollman, center, who donated the potatoes given away in Ritzville, discusses the plight of growers with Jeff Schibel of Odessa.

RITZVILLE – Tons of spuds - 20 tons to be more accurate.

About 40,000 pounds of potatoes were given away along Main Street today, April 29.

Another 20 tons scheduled to be donated in Grant County tomorrow morning, courtesy of Marvin Wollman from his farm near Othello.

Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, who helped organize and attended the event, said the potato giveaway shows the generosity of farmers while highlighting the dire situation of the potato industry from COVID-19 restrictions.

Katie Teachout | The Journal

Brayden Duff of Davenport and Joey Duff of Ritzville loaded 15-pound bags of potatoes into vehicles all morning, calling the event a definite success.

"The Stay Home, Stay Safe order has dealt an enormous blow to potato farmers because 90% of all Eastern Washington frozen potato products are used in restaurants and other food service establishments," Dye said. "When those places closed, processing plants curtailed or closed their operations.

Now, there are more than 3 billion pounds of potatoes in storage, and at least one billion without a home."

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, was on scene to help load potatoes into cars.

He said today's event will have to be replicated many times in many places to prevent waste.

Dye, a member of the Washington State Food Policy Forum, said additional loads will be distributed over the next 2-3 weeks to local charities, food banks, churches and individuals in the state.

A potato giveaway is planned for 9 a.m. Thursday morning, April 30, at the Grant County Fairgrounds, 3953 Airway Drive N.E., Moses Lake.

See The Ritzville Adams County Journal's May 6 print edition for more photos and the rest of the story.


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Author Bio

Katie Teachout, Editor

Katie Teachout an editor with Free Press Publishing. She is the editor of The Ritzville Adams County Journal. Previously, she worked as a reporter at The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle, the Oroville Gazette-Tribune, Northern Kittitas County Tribune and the Methow Valley News. She is a graduate of Western Washington University.

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