By Anna Millar
Perez the potato lived in Mexico. He was a Russet Burbank, whose ancestors came from Colorado, but he really wanted to travel the world to meet other spuds like him. One day, Perez decided he would try to journey to Europe. Perez packed his favorite hat, and rolled over to the processing plant near the farm. Now Perez knew exactly what happened at the planthe, he knew that potatoes were chosen and sorted to go to the potato chip factory, while others were merely discarded for other purposes. Perez did research on this topic. He knew that to make it to the chip factory, his physical appearance would have to be better than the other spuds in his field.
Being careful, yet resourceful, Perez took advantage of every mineral and nutrient that the farmers sprayed on the crops while he was still growing. When the fanners sprayed potassium, Perez leaped and fought every other spud that was in his way. Eventually, Perez was ready. Or at least, he felt he was.
When the farmers came out to harvest the crop the next day, Perez made sure his tuber was exposed, so that he was in perfect position to be harvested. Once Perez made it into the back of the farm truck, he knew he was on his way. Other spuds were jumping for joy, but Perez remained still. He believed his mission was too valuable for him to lose focus.
Eventually, the truck came to a halt. Perez prayed and hoped that he had made it to the factory. Suddenly, he started rolling backwards along with all the other spuds in the truck. They were all arriving at the delivery center. Perez looked up. He noticed that there was a man speaking English in front of him. Perez began to get excited. He didn’t necessarily know what country he was in, but the one thing he knew for sure, was that he wasn’t in Mexico anymore! Eventually, the large pile of potatoes started moving forward. A mechanical noise started ringing, as the potatoes got transferred to a conveyor belt. Perez remembered hearing stories of the conveyor belt as a young spud, but he had never seen one with his own tuber. The conveyor belt was where you either became a desirable chip, or you got thrown out because you were inadequate. The importance of making it through the conveyor belt was very high.
There were multiple workers on the conveyor belt. Picking and pulling at the spuds that weren’t good enough to be a chip. Slowly, Perez saw nearby potatoes being pulled from the line. All of a sudden, Perez felt himself lifting up from the belt. “Dios mio!” Perez exclaimed. “This had to be a mistake,” he thought to himself. “I had done everything right.”
A surge of fear suddenly overcame Perez. He did not think that he was going to become a chip like the rest of the potatoes in the line. “No! ” he shouted to himself. He was not going down like this. Just as he thought the line worker was going to out Perez, instead, the worker lead Perez out of the room altogether. “Where was he taking me?” he thought to himself.
Perez saw a bright white light. Now a whole other emotion raced through his mind.
“Am I dead?” he asked out loud.
“No,” another voice in an accent that Perez had never heard before, answered. Perez started to see the colors of the room re-enter his vision. Who was saying that? Perez had no idea.
Suddenly, he looked over at another potato. But this one was blue, and he had never seen such a beautiful spud before.
“My name is Anne, I am an Adirondack Blue potato, but I was raised in the far north so I speak with a thick French accent… who are you?” she asked Perez.
“My name is Perez, and I am from Mexico. I am a Russet potato that was raised on a large plantation. I thought I had made my escape to America, but now I don’t know where I am.”
Anne laughed. “You are in America. Can’t you hear them speaking English?” Perez finally regained complete consciousness, and looked around. There were other potatoes of different varieties looking over at him. Perez was a little confused.
“Why am I here?” he asked.
“We have been selected for the Day of the Potato,” Anne answered with enthusiasm in her voice. Perez was a little confused. He knew that in Mexico there was a Day of the Dead, where people honored their fallen loved ones with celebration. Was this the same thing? Admiring spuds?
“What is that?” Perez’s eyes lit up.
“Well…” another potato chimed in. This potato was a Red Maria, and ironically her name was Maria. “Day of the potato, is where humans honor our existence with celebration and lots of eating. I think we have been chosen to be admired.” Maria admitted.
Perez was very happy to hear this. Never before had he been admired as a spud before. Thoughts of celebration started going through his head. “This is why I was chosen, because I got all of the correct nutrients like I had planned!” A swift smile ran across his face. “When is the Day of the Potato?” he asked Maria and Anne.
“I think it starts tomorrow.” Anne answered.
“There are other potatoes that have yet to arrive.” Maria chimed in.
Perez was now very happy. Everything was working out in his favor, just like he planned.
“I need to take a little nap, so I can be ready for the rest of the tubers to arrive,” Perez yawned. The two ladies also nodded. It was time to sleep, so that everyone could be prepared for the Day of the Potatoes.
The next morning the three awoke to more guests. Along to join them for the Day of the Potatoes, was a Superior potato named Alex, a Daisy Gold spud named Daisy, and a Peter Wilcox potato, ironically named Peter. The group of spuds all got to know one another throughout the day.
Unfortunately, the Day of the Potatoes was not what they thought. When the tubers arrived at the kick-off parade, they all thought that they were being celebrated. All together in a basket, people began to pick and prod at each one of them. The man that originally pulled the spuds from the conveyor line oversaw telling all the parade visitors what each variety of potato was.
Once the parade was over, the spuds all went back into their basket and were transported to another location. This location seemed to smell very good to the spuds, but the second they all arrived, they knew they were doomed. Growing up, Perez heard that all spuds would eventually be chips, which was the fantasy life that Perez wanted to live. Instead, these potatoes were going to be made into different things.
Maria, the Red Maria, was going to spend the rest of her life in a summer-time potato salad, while Daisy was to be shredded, and spend her life as a hash brown. Alex and Anne were the only two who were destined to become chips, while Peter was destined to become French fries. Now, this disappointed Perez, for he felt that he had been let down because there were so many other career paths that he could have taken.
Unfortunately, Perez never became a chip that day. Instead he was kept in a basket with some other potatoes that were not utilized on The Day of the Potatoes. Instead of being sad about the situation, Perez decided he was going to make it his life mission to inform other potatoes about the possibilities of a future beyond potato chips.
Ultimately, Perez became the spokesperson for Russet Burbank potatoes, and eventually for all Idaho potatoes. He then changed his name to Spuddy Buddy, and had a very successful future preaching the uses and benefits that potatoes offer. When Perez was eventually cooked, he became a French fry at the notorious restaurant of McDonald’s, and lived happily ever after.
My name is Anna Millar, and I’m from Cortland, New York. I am currently a senior at PSC studying natural resources sustainability minoring in GIS and Business. I enjoy kayaking, tennis, and generally just being outside!