Potato Grower

June 2021

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20 POTATO GROWER | JUNE 2021 Randy & Karlene Hardy "Our potato family." That's how Karlene Hardy describes the people from across the country she and her husband Randy have gotten to know and work with over the couple's 50 years in the potato industry. Well, if it's a family, Randy and Karlene Hardy could fairly be called its patriarch and matriarch. They've dedicated as much of their lives to the U.S. potato industry as just about anyone. While their roots are and always will be planted deep in the rich topsoil of their native Oakley, Idaho — where they will harvest their 50th crop this fall — their reach extends far beyond the little valley they call home. But let's start with their home. The high school sweethearts married in 1972 at the age of 19 and joined Randy's parents on the farm. Two months later, his father unexpectedly passed away, throwing the newlyweds into the deep end almost from the get-go. But they wanted to swim, so swim they did. Over 50 growing seasons, the farm has grown from 300 acres to about 2,800 today. Six hundred of those acres are dedicated to potatoes, all of which are fresh-packed at Sun Valley Potato, a grower-owned cooperative the Hardys joined in 1997. Randy

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