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How Idaho's cold October might affect the nation's french fry supply

Early frost in October impacted 15% of the potato crop, but 85% was already harvested, according to the Idaho Potato Commission.

BOISE, Idaho — An early cold spell may be to blame for an impending potato shortage nationwide. That means your side of fries could soon cost a little bit more. 

“It seems like there's a lot of folks that are concerned about whether or not they're going to have french fries this year,” Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said. 

He said that in the past year Idaho has harvested 308,000 acres, which is 2,000 less than last year.

“The challenge this year is weather, we had an early frost hit us in October and at that point it had an impact on a portion of our crop,” Muir said. “It had an impact on about 15%, it's important to note that we already had harvested 85% of the crop.” 

That 85% represents about 13 billion pounds of potatoes, according to Muir.

“To put that into perspective, if you took that pile of 13 billion pounds and you walked it over to Albertsons Stadium and you dropped it in the middle of it, 13 billion pounds of Idaho potatoes goes from the end zone to end zone and one mile high - that's a lot of potatoes,” Muir said.

So how does this impact you? “Prices could go up a little bit in retail, you could see a little bump at restaurants, but it's not going to be significant,” Muir said.

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