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This Spud’s For You: Farm Donates 2 Million Potatoes During Pandemic

May 6th, 2020

Potatoes are the first item that comes to mind when you think of Idaho, and Cranney Farms is making sure the state lives up to that reputation.

Cranney Farms, located about 160 miles southeast of Boise in Oakley, has been in business for 113 years. The farm’s potatoes are usually sold to a variety of eateries in Idaho including upscale restaurants, diners and grocery stores. The potato crop accounts for slightly more than 50 percent of the farm’s total sales. 

When restaurants and schools were forced to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for produce, including potatoes, plummeted as the supply chain was upended. Many in the farming industry resorted to throwing away their excess production supply, unable to pivot quickly or efficiently towards innovative supply chain solutions. 

Cranney Farms took a different route. The farm found a way to turn the negative into a positive and help their friends, neighbors and extended community in the process. 

In April, Cranney Farms announced they were giving away the surplus of potatoes to any individual or family for free. Cranney Farms CEO Ryan Cranney posted on the business’ Facebook page, “We started dumping potatoes today as we have no home for them because of this Covid 19 disaster. The potato supply chain has definitely been turned upside down. If you would like a few bags come by.”

Within hours of Cranney’s post on social media, people began arriving by the dozens to pick up sacks of potatoes. Customers drove from as far as 450 miles away to take potatoes for themselves, loved ones, neighbors, and those struggling to buy food. By May 1, Cranney Farms had donated an estimated two million surplus potatoes.

“We have NO more potatoes that we are currently giving away!” Cranney Farms said in a Facebook post. “We give thanks to all of you who have been so good in sharing them with your communities.”

In the face of adversity, Cranney Farms is giving back to the community. Through a simple message on social media, the farm is helping to provide food to thousands of families in need across southern Idaho, turning their potatoes into positivity.

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