Georgia is known for its peaches, its poultry, its peanuts and pecans — but not so much for its potatoes. Potatoes haven’t traditionally been grown on a widespread basis in Georgia. However, at least two farming operations in Decatur County have made potatoes a successful crop.
Walther Farms, a family-owned business based in Michigan, has farms in several states, including Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The Walthers farm about 70 percent of their crop for Frito-Lay of Dallas, Texas, a division of Pepsi Co. They are currently leasing about 1,700 acres in Georgia.
A somewhat smaller potato-growing operation, but no less important, is Vanco Farms, which is based in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Vanco farms about 300 acres of potatoes in Decatur County. Because it gets very cold in Canada for part of the year, the potato supply in Canada decreases in the heart of winter. So Vanco and other companies grow potatoes in warmer climates to supplement the potato supply needed by grocery stores.