More than 45,000 pounds of potatoes to be given away in Grays Harbor

Port of Port Angeles commissioner, state candidate, organizer

More than 45,000 pounds of fresh potatoes delivered to Aberdeen are scheduled to be given away free to Grays Harbor families today, Saturday and Sunday.

Connie Beauvais, a Port of Port Angeles commissioner and Republican candidate for the state Senate in the 24th Legislative District, organized the effort to provide free potatoes at four locations in Grays Harbor. She organized similar events in Port Angeles and Forks.

Beauvais said there are 19 pallets, each holding 2,400 pounds of potatoes, to be given out to families drive-through style by volunteers. Those picking up potatoes do not have to leave their cars, and volunteers will wear masks for a safe transfer. Each family can pick up two 10-pound bags.

The potatoes came from Moses Lake producer Desert Ridge. Wilson Logistics trucking company, headquartered in Pacific, provided the shipping to get the potatoes over the mountains into Grays Harbor County, Beauvais said.

Beauvais said a local Boy Scouts group has volunteered for Saturday’s giveaways.

A similar event in May at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles drew 70 volunteers, ranging from Boy Scouts to motorcycle club members. That event provided more than 29,000 pounds of potatoes to the more than 1,700 cars that came through during the three-hour event, Beauvais said.

Later that day, six volunteers from service clubs and the local police force in Forks gave away more than 5,000 pounds of potatoes.

The roots, so to speak, of the potato giveaway came from an initiative by the state Potato Commission, local producers and Freightliner Northwest. With so many of the usual buyers of fresh potato products like restaurants and other food service establishments shut down during the pandemic, producers had potatoes stacking up unused in processing facilities.

Growers set a goal of providing 1 million pounds of fresh potatoes to families across the state. On June 2, Freightliner Northwest and the Potato Commission announced that milestone had been reached.

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