Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Elk River's Claim to Fame

Becker’s claim to fame includes strawberries.  Big Lake gained fame for the purity of the ice.  Another truth handed down through time: Elk River’s claim to fame is the potato. 

The Sherburne County Star News reported on March 28, 1912 “that Elk River has been famous as a great potato market.”  As proof a front page news article reported two men in an unnamed, yet famous, Minneapolis restaurant heard the demand for Elk River potatoes.  “The Elk River potato is known and called for as an especial relish of big Minneapolis restaurants,” the paper reported.  The paper went on to suggest that although some believed the men “had taken a wee bit too much of some sparkling fluid from bottles,” it was common knowledge around the Sherburne county town, “Elk River potatoes are famous and will be more so in a few years."  
The Star News felt this claim to fame warranted some action by the county to adopt a specific type of spud to market it as the true Elk River potato.  “In this way Elk River and its product would be advertised broadside and it would add much to the town as a potato market.”  In spite of the good ideas to market the potato and Elk River, no action was taken to create an Elk River potato.  

In spite of inaction, more than 100 years passed since the tuber so abundant in Sherburne County brought fame to Elk River.  Just as Big Lake has its ice; Becker gained fame through strawberries; so, Elk River remains famous for the potato.  

Elk River potato market, circa 1900
SHC collections 1995.017.012

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