> Home state: New York
Long Island’s North Fork was traditionally potato-growing country, and North Fork founder Martin Sidor’s family started growing spuds there in 1910. Faced with competition from larger producers and the growing popularity of potato-free low-carb diets in the 1970s, Sidor decided to expand into chip production. With Cheddar & Onion and Rosemary & Garlic flavors supplementing the usual varieties (the latter developed in response to local winemakers who asked for a chip to serve with their merlots), North Fork chips are thick-cut and kettle-cooked in sunflower oil.
> Home state: Virginia
Made in Mount Jackson, in the northeastern part of the state since 1992, these small-batch, nicely curled potato chips come in about 10 versions, including Dill Pickle and Chesapeake Crab. A standout is the spicy variety called Mama Zuma’s Revenge. These are irregularly shaped, gnarled chips with a fiery, smoky chile character.
Rusty’s Island Chips
> Home state: California
These come not from an island but from Southern California. Potatoes from Bakersfield are hand-sliced, fried in safflower oil, then salted with French sun-dried sea salt. There are only four varieties — regular, Chili Lime, Sea Salt, and Black Pepper. The chips are sold around Southern California and, under the Wynn’s Resort label, in Las Vegas.
> Home state: Iowa
Dating from the 1930s, Sterzing’s makes old-fashioned potato chips, flavored with salt and nothing else — no barbecue, no sour cream and onion, no jalapeno, just potato. Though they ship nationwide (actually, worldwide — they send chips to the military in Iraq and Afghanistan), Sterzins’s sells its wares retail mostly in southeastern Iowa.
Tim’s Cascade Snacks
> Home state: Washington
With nine varieties — including Coney Island Mustard, Vlasic Dill Pickle, and Smoked Gouda — this 33-year-old company makes both conventional and kettle-cooked chips. The chips are sold primarily in the western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in Canada and in several Asian countries.
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