When the Idaho Potato Commission's CEO Frank Muir saw what happened Monday, he was "thrilled." The state's most famous tuber had a starring role in news coverage of a meeting between the U.S. and Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry brought two large Idaho potatoes as a gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when they met for peace talks on Syria.
"It's impressive," Lavrov said, holding the potatoes as the room erupted in laughter.
Kerry later explained he'd been in Idaho during a phone call with Lavrov, who associated Idaho with potatoes. The gift had no deeper meaning, Kerry told reporters.
"Everyone in the room's attention lightened at such a serious moment," Muir said Tuesday, after seeing a video of the potato hand-off.
Muir said the gift was timely. His commission has been laying the groundwork to start shipping Idaho potatoes to Russia, he said.
"We're really in the infancy of developing a relationship with them," Muir said.
Idaho potatoes and potato-themed gifts, including the Spuddy Buddy doll, are always "a great icebreaker" when he and other Idahoans meet with people from other countries, he said.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, @IDS_Audrey