The next time you open a bag of potato chips, before you start crunching and munching, consider that you are holding a piece of Ohio's culinary and economic history in the palm of your hand.
We didn't invent the potato chip here, but we embraced it with gusto, and today Ohio ranks as the second-largest chip-producing state in the country.
The Snack Food Association in Alexandria, Va., the trade group for the U.S. snack food industry, traces its roots to a group of potato chip makers from Ohio.
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the state is currently home to 10 chip makers. But more Ohio brand names are still around, even though they were long ago gobbled up by larger companies. Cincinnati's Husman's, for example, is owned by Birds Eye Foods; and Mumford's chips, an Urbana favorite, are bagged by Shearer's Foods in Brewster.
As the potato chip celebrates its 155th birthday, Ohio continues to be a force in the industry.
Callie Haplea, marketing director for the Anchor's Chip of the Month Club in Toledo, said the state is a chip stronghold, second only to Pennsylvania in the number of cookers.
''I can tell you that the West Coast does not have as many cookers . . . They're more in the East or South,'' said Haplea, whose job includes searching for new brands for her company to sell.