Many Red River Valley potato growers look to their growers association to promote sales of red potatoes.

Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director for Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, East Grand Forks, Minn., said last year"s advertising campaign was successful and is being repeated this season.

The ad copy, "Thinking red potatoes? Think the Red River Valley," is easy for people to remember, Kreis said.

The association plans to place ads in trade publications and use campaign materials at trade shows, including Produce Marketing Association"s Fresh Summit, the National Restaurant Association"s show, and the New York Produce Show and Conference.

Last year was the association"s first year at the New York Produce Show, and Kreis said attending the show is a good way for the Northern Plains association to promote potatoes because New York is an important part of its customer base.

The Northern Plains association receives a lot of positive feedback when it participates in the National Restaurant Association"s show, Kreis said.

Chefs and restaurant buyers already know that red potatoes are great for their menus, he said.

"They love their versatility and color," he said.

Roasted red potatoes and skin-on mashed red potatoes are popular in restaurants, Kreis said. Some buyers still need to be convinced that red potatoes are good for baking, so the association distributes samples of baked red potatoes at the restaurant association"s show."Most people are surprised at how good they are," Kreis said. "They have a different flavor and texture, and a higher moisture content, which makes them creamier."

Much of the restaurant business might be refrigerated red potato products rather than fresh potatoes, said David Moquist, partner and sales manager for O.C. Schulz &amp Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D.

He said he has noticed more restaurants serving skin-on mashed red potatoes, which may help increase demand for red potatoes at retail.