A segment with Don Thibodeau provided insights into the industry’s technological innovation, Masser said.
“His explanation of GPS technology was informative, educational and showed our industry is filled with smart, innovative, hard-working people and there’s so much more that goes into growing a crop of potatoes than people may realize,” Masser said.
“If anything we showed them that our industry is filled with technological minds and innovation and we apply these things every day to produce a high-quality crop.”
Don Flannery of the Maine Potato Board provided an overview of the potato industry, Myers said, adding that the show also featured U.S. Department of Agriculture geneticist Chuck Brown.
Seed to store
The show explained the growing process, from planting to harvesting, Myers said.
“They were very technical about how this process happened and really emphasized the technology behind the whole cultivation process,” she said.
“They animated it, so viewers could get an idea about how this happened and how technologically advanced the industry really was.”
The show also offered a comprehensive view of the nutritional value of potatoes, Myers said.
“A number of industry folks were in this piece and spoke so well of potatoes, and, for me, the highlight was that they got the nutritional benefits in the first 10 minutes of the show,” she said.
Barb Shelley, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City-based United Potato Growers of America, said the program hit all points that had to be made.
“I was so pleased because it showed the resourcefulness of growers,” Shelley said.
“I learned something new myself … It was fascinating storytelling and the facts were correct because they gave the U.S. Potato Board a chance to weigh in.”
Total viewership for the potato episode of Modern Marvels on Jan. 28, Jan. 30, Jan. 31 and Feb. 8 was nearly 3.5 million, according to the U.S. Potato Board.
“This program puts potatoes front and center in viewers’ living room when they’re watching TV,” Myers said.
It also served as an effective rebuttal to the negative fallout potatoes took from the Atkins and South Beach diet crazes of a few years ago.
“The most important part was the nutritional value of potatoes — that was made very clear,” Shelley said.