While in Anchorage, my group toured the Alaska Chip Company, a small, family owned potato chip factory. I was all excited to post my pictures, but when I went to their website, I found they have an online tour with more and better pictures than mine.
Well. They think they’re so great. But I’m the one that put them on FourSquare! (I seriously wanted that Check In.)
Mr. Carney, the proprietor, told us all about the process and I managed to take an action shot of the peeler/slicer shooting chips into the fryer:
He also said that he made the rookie mistake of thinking that he could save money by stirring the chips manually. Corrected that one pretty quick.
When they are done, they are lifted out and spread on to this thing where they are seasoned (lightly salted, bbq, sour cream and onion and jalapeno – all with kitschy Alaskan names):
Of course, we were invited to taste some. Awesome. Even though I think “lightly salted” is for pansies and chips should be heavily salted.
Then they cool off and are bagged:
Among our questions were, “How do you decide on the recipe for seasonings?”
Answer: “I eat a lot of chips.”
“How are these potatoes different from baking potatoes?”
Answer: “Less sugar. We want as little sugar as possible.”
And, “Are you considering a Baked line?” Answer: “The oil is really what makes it hold the flavor.”
“How do you distribute?” Answer: “We use a broker.” In fact, they can be found in Safeway stores in Alaska and The Midnight Sun Brewery served them with my grilled cheese later that same day. But I believe they said Washington state is the only place in the lower 48 where they sell retail. There is an online store.
Alaska Chip Company is now producing flavored pop corn and Mr. Carney showed us the ridged slicer he has been toying with. I was thisclose to whispering “dill pickle flavoring” in his ear, but that would be presumptuous.
If I lived in Alaska, I would absolutely be buying these. And if they ever start selling a dill pickle flavor, I might actually have to pay for shipping and order them. I am hoping they get in with one of the sandwich chains, like Zapp’s contracting with Potbelly. Oh, man. Alaska Chips and Jimmy John’s!
Until then, Alaska Chip Company, I will await your arrival in Chicago.