Growers in Colorado's San Luis Valley are beginning harvest of 67,600 acres, saying the crop is one of the best they've ever seen.
With higher prices and tuber quality expected to be good, growers are optimistic that the 2001 crop will bring big dollars to the depressed valley.
The crop is described as "average," with smaller tuber size but with good quality.
Last year 76,500 acres produced $74 million in sales. This year's 67,600 acres hopefully will bring in $100 million.
Counting several thousand acres in northern Colorado, Colorado ranks fourth in the nation's production. Potatoes were first grown in the SLV in 1875. At that time they produced some 70,000 pounds and brought about $125 a ton in the Leadville mining camps.