Potato Grower

December 2017

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21 You've probably never been to Ellis, Idaho. Janiel Parkinson sure hadn't. Yet there she stood, in a potato field in Ellis—ZIP code 83235, population pretty much invisible—watching with genuine interest as her husband, Doug, demonstrated how to properly test soil moisture. Suddenly, a handful of soil was shoved under Janiel's nose. "Doesn't that smell great?" said Doug, grinning fit to bust. "At that moment," Janiel says now, 23 years later, "I knew: This man is where he belongs." Doug Parkinson grew up in one of the most prolific seed potato- producing regions in the world, on his family's farm in St. Anthony, Idaho, in full view of the Tetons. As a kid, he enjoyed the farm but had no intention of becoming a career farmer. After earning a degree in applied electrical engineering, Doug intended to pursue a career in robotics. In the early 1990s, he and his young wife, Janiel, were living near Portland, Ore., when they came to an important and ultimately life-altering realization. "It's pretty hard to take the farm out of the farm kid," says Doug. "I had spent a little time in metropolitan USA and decided that wasn't going to work. That wasn't where I wanted to raise my family." So, with some trepidation, he picked up the phone in the fall of 1993 and called back home, where his father, Bob, and brother, Dirk, were still running the farm. As fate would have it, Bob was in the process of purchasing land on which to raise foundation seed for the main farm in St. Anthony. After hunting all over the Northwest, he settled on a location the Pahsimeroi Valley of central Idaho. And someone needed to run it. So Doug and Janiel WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21 Ellis, Idaho, has proven to be a perfect place for Doug and Janiel Parkinson to raise their family and high-quality, early-generation seed potatoes.

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