Video: The story behind North Fork Potato Chips

06/20/2011 1:22 PM |

Beneath the wineries and vegetable stands of the North Fork lies rich dirt that used to speckle this farming community with potatoes. Today, the same dirt that helped generations over a century ago is used by Martin and Carol Sidor of Cutchogue to cultivate their product from that same root vegetable.

The Sidors are the proud owners of the nationally distributed potato chip brand, the North Fork Potato Chips company.

Sidor Farms was revolutionized in 2004 when the owners decided simply bagging their Andover, Marcy and Norwiss potato varieties was not going to earn them the living they wanted. After a little inspiration, they decided to bag a more evolved treat: potato chips kettle cooked in sunflower oil.

“We started thinking about what else we need to do to make a living besides raising potatoes,” Ms. Sidor said. “And we thought, ‘Well, what do we know? Potatoes.’ ”

Mr. Sidor, a third generation potato farmer, is even going green on his 170-acre farm. The Sidors use biodiesel fuel in their chip-making process, which increases their self-dependency on the farm, which they say allows them to focus on more important things like providing the satisfying, yet natural taste of their chips.

“I love the regular and sweet potato version,” said Chris Sujeski, a Mattituck resident who says he is health-conscious and snacks on North Fork Potato Chips without guilt. “The chips are an excellent quality, without any additives and locally grown.”

The potato chips are produced through a machine the Sidors bought and store in a small factory on Cox Lane in Cutchogue.
Their mechanical system peels, cuts, frys and nearly bags the chips itself to produce a large amount in the company’s small quarters.

“We produce about 400 to 500 cases per week” Ms. Sidor said. “Broken down it’s in the neighborhood of 1,200 to 2,400 large bags and 4,800 to 6,000 small bags for all the flavors.”

The Sidors would like to expand their company, which already ships up and down the entire East Coast and even as far as Utah.

Their product is a regular on the shelves of Whole Foods grocery store, and in many North Fork wineries, such as Martha Clara and Sparkling Pointe.

The first step to expand is in the flavor of the chips. The company already sells plain chips, sweet potato, barbecue, sour cream and onion, and cheddar onion. They will soon begin to produce rosemary and garlic chips — which Ms. Sidor said was a suggestion from a local winery — and salt and vinegar.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Ever wonder how, or even why, they make North Fork Potato Chips? We've got your answers.