At the North Fork Potato Chips factory in Cutchogue, we were greeted by Carol Sidor, who owns the chip company along with her husband, Martin. Mr. Sidor’s family arrived in the United States from Poland in 1910 and bought the family farm and homestead.
They were and still are potato farmers. They farm about 70 acres of potatoes and sell them wholesale. They started the North Fork Potato Chips company more than 14 years ago, when the demand for potatoes decreased. They currently produce seven different flavors.
They use an assortment of tasks to make the potato chips. The potatoes are transported into a special machine where they are washed and peeled. The potatoes are placed on a machine, sliced, then thrown into the fryer. Healthier sunflower oil is used to cook the potatoes. Once a week they change out some of the oil and keep some of the older oil, which gives the chips more flavor.
The potato chips are sorted out from good chips, the bad chips and when the chips are fully sorted, the bad chips are thrown outside, where they are eaten by the seagulls and sometimes the deer. The good batches are then seasoned and placed in bags. Don’t worry, the potatoes are never burned, but a dark one means that potato had more sugar than starch.
Finally, the chips are packaged and shipped to New England, New Jersey, Maryland, upstate New York, some airports and other places. The most popular flavor is an exclusive BBQ because those are sold most at delis. A former employee from England suggested a cheese-flavored chip because it is popular there. Rosemary garlic was requested by a local winery.
In order to create new flavors, new graphics must be designed, labeling and nutrition must be calculated, and a seasoning profile must be designed. This is a lengthy and expensive process to complete.
We were able to sample a variety of flavors and were impressed by each one. If you are looking for a delicious local treat, check out North Fork Potato Chips.
Bonnie Downs and Allison Whittle’s writers club, Tuckahoe School, Southampton