Chapter 10: Size Does Count At Least For French Fries

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Glennon Update Americans eat 30 pounds of French fries each year. This large consumption of French fries calls for a lot of potatoes. Chapter 10: “Size Does Count, at Least for French Fries” of Robert Glennon’s Water Follies discusses the effect America’s quest for perfectly long and white French fries has on the R. D. Offutt potato growing and processing company and the nearby river that helps irrigate their farms. R. D. Offutt Company farm is located in the Straight River basin near Park Rapids, Minnesota. At the time Water Follies was written, R. D. Offutt Company farmed over 66,000 acres of potatoes and produced 2.9 billion pounds of potatoes. In order to grow these potatoes a lot of water is used. The land that R. D. Offutt Company farms has sandy soil, that when irrigated, makes for ideal potato growing soil. Pumping to irrigate the potato fields is what caused a problem for the Straight River. 70 center-pivot irrigation systems were used, which pumped almost 3 billion gallons of ground water from the Straight River area. Center-pivot…show more content…
D. Offutt Company stepped up to fix some of these issues when they proposed to expand their processing plant and were met with opposition from environmental groups. R. D Offutt Company closed two wells and built new ones about a mile north of the plant. The new wells were placed where they are not supposed to affect the river. They also upgraded their wastewater treatment facilities to help cut back on pollution. Eventually, they did expand their processing plant and they now use 600 million gallons per year of groundwater to prepare the 540 million pounds of French fries it produces. Glennon believes one way we could continue to cut back on environmental impacts and water usage is by accepting that potatoes, and thus French fries, have slightly different colors and are not always super long, this way potatoes could be grown, stored, and processed differently, which would use less

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