ABERDEEN – Surrounded by hundreds of acres of farmland in the community of Aberdeen is a small production plant that makes thousands of potato chips every day.
Ladd Wahlen and his wife, Zoey, own their own potato farm and decided to launch Roots Potato Chips a little more than three weeks ago. Ladd tells EastIdahoNews.com they love being able to provide chips made from locally-grown potatoes to customers throughout eastern Idaho.
“It’s been a long time since there’s been an Idaho potato chip company on the shelf in grocery stores. We decided it was an opportunity to add a little bit of value to our farm and start a potato chip company and be able to process a few of our own potatoes,” Ladd says.
The company currently makes six different flavors — barbecue, sea salt & vinegar, sea salt, purple & red sea salt, mild jalapeno and Idaho Russett sea salt — which are sold in grocery stores, restaurants and other east Idaho businesses from Aberdeen to Driggs. Some of those businesses include Broulim’s, Kesler’s Market in Blackfoot, Grandpa’s Southern BBQ in Idaho Falls and Pickle Deli in Idaho Falls.
Roots Potato Chips also sells to customers online.
The business currently operates about three days a week. Chips are packaged as needed each day. From washing, slicing, cooking and seasoning, the batch process takes about 20 minutes.
See how it works in the video player above.
In addition to being an Idaho-certified potato chip with traditional flavors and natural ingredients, Ladd says the thing that sets them apart from other companies is their focus on catering to a new generation of potato chip lovers who want something more.
“We cook some of our chips in avocado oil. We have a red chip, a purple potato chip, and then later this fall we’re going to be adding a line of organic potato chips, too,” Ladd says.
Roots Potato Chips is about more than just making chips.
Ladd and his wife also believe in doing good and giving back to the community. Zoey says they focus on regenerative agricultural practices, which helps improve soil health and the environment.
“We believe in healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people and we also give back a portion of each bag sold to our local food banks,” she says.
In the last few weeks, the couple says the response from the community has been “absolutely phenomenal” and it’s been rewarding to see people enjoying their product.
“People in Idaho are great to support a local product. We’ve had a lot of purchases online and requests at local stores. The business owners of restaurants and retailers have been super awesome, too,” Ladd says.
“We’ve seen people repost stories on Instagram and Facebook. We’ve had people text us and call us. Stores sell out in a day and to see people enjoy something we enjoy and have worked really hard on is exciting,” Zoey adds.
Ladd says they’re hoping to eventually operate the business full-time at full-capacity. They’re both excited to sell more product and watch the business grow over time.
“We want to increase our volume, our sales, the amount of retailers we’re in. We’d love to get into western Idaho … and neighboring states. We’d love to grow our online business, our subscription service,” says Ladd.