KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – It’s a busy time of year at Wong Potatoes north of Merrill.
Dan Chin has been in the potato business for a long time. “This is probably our 48th crop of potatoes for me,” Chin said. “Our family’s been growing potatoes in the Klamath Basin for 90 years.”
While some potatoes are processed or used for chips, the spuds from Wongs are “eating potatoes.”
“You bake them, you cook with them, you roast them, mash them,” explained Ron Settlemire of Wong Potatoes. “Christmas potato type stuff. Turkey, stuffed potatoes, all that fun stuff.”
Chin said a wet winter helped set the stage for a good harvest. “Good quality, good size. We’re hoping to make a little money this year.”
The potatoes are now being bagged and boxed for distribution.
“We ship across the United States, East Coast.” Chin said.
“All over the world, pretty much,” added Settlemire. “A lot of them stay here we send things to Canada.”
“We do send some potatoes over to the Pacific Rim countries,” Chin said. “I know in the past, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong.”
Chin said the market is constantly changing. “They’re not buying the 20-pound bags, and big Russets anymore. They like the specialties: reds, yellows, fingerlings.”
But while consumer tastes may change, Chin believes some things remain the same. “Kind of grew up as a potato rat and I guess I still am a potato rat.”
You’ll find more online at: wongpotatoes.com
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.