The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is back on the road for its third consecutive cross-country tour with a new message for women: Take care of your heart. The 2014 Big Idaho Potato Truck Tour kicked off in Boise, Idaho, with waves, cheers and hugs from students of Riverside Elementary School and salutes from soldiers at the Air Force Base in Mountain Home.
In 2011, fresh Idaho potatoes were certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program by meeting the program’s nutrition requirements, and they now bear the Heart-Check mark on the packaging. This recognition is profoundly helpful in reminding consumers that Idaho potatoes can be a part of their everyday diet, according to the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). Knowing that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined, it’s more important than ever that women understand the role both diet and exercise play in achieving a healthy lifestyle, IPC says.
“The Idaho Potato Commission’s support of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement provides another new and exciting way we can remind consumers, especially women, of the nutritional benefits Idaho potatoes offer,” said Frank Muir, president and CEO of IPC. “In addition to a new charity beneficiary, we’ve rebranded the truck so it showcases fresh Idaho potatoes prepared in various ways and creatively communicates the potato’s nutritional benefits.”
Added Bernie Dennis, chairman of the American Heart Association National Board of Directors, “The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is grateful to the Idaho Potato Commission for supporting us in our fight against heart disease in women. This is an exciting opportunity for the Idaho Potato Commission to help educate consumers on ways they can prevent heart disease through diet and exercise.”
In 2014, the truck will visit 26 states and travel nearly 19,000 miles during a five-month period. The truck and its seasoned traveling Tater Team will stop at high-traffic events like the Kentucky Derby; the Art Car Parade and Festival in Houston, Texas; and the 55th World Lumberjack Competition in Hayward, Wis. Between events, the truck will visit key retailers and foodservice operators as well as local places of interest it finds along the way.
The Great Big Idaho Potato weighs more than 6 tons (the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho potatoes). It has become a traveling ambassador for the country’s most famous potato. After being seen by hundreds of millions of Americans in person and in the IPC’s national television commercial, the most frequently asked question is, “Is it real?” IPC says it will never tell but adds, “In the event it is, 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; and would take two years and nine months to bake.”
The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck was created and built by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce of Weiser, Idaho. With the help of a few specialized contractors, they spent an entire year designing and building the vehicle. The Kenworth Sales Co. and Western Trailer, both based in Boise, Idaho, also aided with the construction.
In the feature photo at top: The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck has a new look for the 2014 tour. Updated branding features fresh Idaho potatoes prepared in a variety of ways, and important nutrition information and the charity beneficiary, Go Red for Women, are prominently displayed on the back and side panels.