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Whether they are of the regular variety (tubers) or the orange-colored sweet variety (root vegetables), potatoes can be affectionately known as “taters”. Filling, energizing and nutritional, the potato packs a punch when it comes to feeding large groups of people. 

And these little guys provide a huge purpose in celebrating National Tater Day!

History of National Tater Day

Researchers believe that potatoes have been part of human civilization for thousands of years. Dating back more than 4000 years, to the Incan civilizations, potatoes were probably domesticated as a farming staple for these ancient people who lived in what is modern-day Peru. Since that time, potatoes have followed the history of people from South America to Europe, to North America, Asia and beyond.

National Tater Day has a history that may date back more than 150 years, when the folks in the state of Kentucky would buy and sell their sweet potatoes (‘taters’). Sweet potatoes were a crop that was an important part of the livelihood of many people in this area, and the trade day has a history that started in the 1840s. Though it was originally celebrated early in the month of April, the day has since been moved to the last day of March.

Though the day was originally set aside to celebrate potatoes of the sweet and orange variety, things have changed and now the day is here to pay heed to and enjoy potatoes of all types and kinds!

National Tater Day Timeline

2500 BC

Incas grow potatoes 

In present day Peru, the Incas are believed to cultivate potatoes in the Andes mountains.[1]

1539

Potatoes are introduced to Europe 

Spanish conquistadors bring potatoes back from their travels.[2]

1840s

First National Tater Days take place 

The tradition of trading and selling ‘taters’ or sweet potatoes dates back to this time.[3]

1845

Potato famine takes place in Ireland 

A certain kind of mold infects the Irish potato crop, spreading rapidly and causing a famine.[4]

1956

Taytos potato chips company is formed 

This Irish manufacturer makes its entrance with potato chips/crisps that are cooked in an actual castle.[5]

How to Celebrate National Tater Day

Have tons of delightful fun celebrating National Tater Day with some of these interesting ideas:

Enjoy Eating ‘Taters’

Potatoes are a vegetable loved by almost anyone and everyone! They are versatile, easy to cook, store well and can be used for a vast array of creative dishes from savory to sweet and so much more. Mash them, bake them, fry them or make them into pancakes!

Grab them in chip form, fry form or even flake form. Order them up at a restaurant or make them in a favorite recipe at home. Eating potatoes is an ideal activity on a day such as this, because National Tater Day is here to offer time to enjoy these versatile little tubers in a wide variety of ways.

Learn Some Health Benefits of ‘Taters’

This carbohydrate rich vegetable has a lot to offer when it comes to nutrition, especially when they are prepared in a healthy manner (like baked with the skin on). Plus, it is affordable and easily accessible, giving a quick amount of energy to anyone who eats it. Learn about some of these health benefits of potatoes in honor and celebration of National Tater Day:

  • Potatoes contain fiber

    The most fiber-filled part of the potato is the skin, and fiber is good for preventing heart disease. So be sure to leave the skin on the potatoes when preparing them at home. Plus, it makes cooking simpler and easier!

  • Full of antioxidants

    Potatoes offer a bunch of antioxidants that are extremely helpful in getting rid of those free radicals that can be harmful to the body and are often associated with causing cancer. Antioxidants can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Potassium and magnesium

    Both of these minerals are essential for the way the body functions in a healthy manner, particularly helping with lowering the blood pressure, which can reduce the incidence of stroke or heart disease.

  • Vitamin C

    Many people don’t realize that potato skins are rich in vitamin C. In fact, one potato (with the skin on) contains around 40% of the daily recommended nutritional value of Vitamin C for an adult. This is why potatoes were used to prevent scurvy for ship crews in the 18th century and beyond.

Make a National Tater Day Soundtrack

Food days can be loads of fun! Especially when the food is one that has a funny name that sounds great in the lyrics of a song. Consider it an important part of the National Tater Day celebration to listen to some potato themed songs – and even perhaps sharing some of them with friends.

Have a listen to some of these songs appropriate for National Tater Day:

  • Hot Potato by The Wiggles (1994). Sure, it’s a ridiculous kids’ song by a ridiculous Australian singing group. But it’s still loads of fun!
  • Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1957). The famous pronunciation song with the lyrics, “You say potato and I say potato”.
  • Potato Head Blues by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven (1927). This instrumental only is one of Armstrong’s finest recordings – and no one really knows why it was named Potato Head Blues. 
  • Potato Song (Cuz I Want To) by Kesha (2020). Too new to be a classic, this one might appeal to the younger generations.

Visit a Tater Day Festival

Located in the town of Benton, Kentucky, this annual festival continues to be hosted by the town and might be a perfect way to celebrate National Tater Day. This event is devoted especially to sweet potatoes and it typically takes place on the first few days in April. This three day festival got its start in 1843 and has been going strong in celebration of the ‘tater’ every year since. The Tater Day Festival offers a wide range of charming, small-town activities and events including a parade, canning competition, singing and other performances, musical contests, a carnival and much more.

Those who miss the Tater Day Festival in April may want to opt for some of these other events scheduled for later in the year. Those who are serious fans can make plans to attend them all!

  • North Carolina Potato Festival is typically scheduled for late May in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
  • The annual Tater Daze Parade is celebrated in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in early June.
  • Sweet Tater Festival that takes place in Cullman, Alabama in September.
  • Spring Valley Potato Festival is located in the Dayton, Ohio area and happens in early October. 

National Tater Day FAQs

What are ‘taters’?

In the United States, the term ‘tater’ is short for ‘potato’ and is sometimes used to mean sweet potatoes.

Why is the potato important?

Potatoes are easy to grow, affordable and offer Vitamin C, potassium and fiber (in the skin).[1]

Are potato skins healthier than the potato?

By mass, the potato skin may be up to twelve times higher in antioxidants than the flesh of the tater.[2]

When did tater tots come out?

Tater tots were introduced to Americans in 1953 by Ore-Ida.[3]

Which potato is the healthiest? 

Potatoes with dark flesh, such as red or purple potatoes are one of the healthiest varieties as they contain the most minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.[4]

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