Idaho potato chief delighted by John Kerry's spud diplomacy

adutton@idahostatesman.comJanuary 14, 2014 

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

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service