Molly Yeh partners with Northland Potato Growers Association

The marketing campaign to promote Red River Valley potatoes to local consumers is the first by the organization after a rebrand from the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association late last year.

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Molly Yeh is photographed outside of her restaurant, Bernie's, in East Grand Forks Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

EAST GRAND FORKS — East Grand Forks Food Network star Molly Yeh’s favorite ways to use Red River Valley potatoes are in bread, doughnuts and, of course, lefse.

“That was one of the first new recipes that I learned to make when I moved here,” Yeh said. “My husband’s great aunt Ethel has a great recipe that specifically calls for red potatoes, and I quickly learned that it’s important to rice potatoes instead of mash them for lefse.”

Yeh uses locally grown potatoes at her downtown East Grand Forks restaurant, Bernie’s, and as the celebrity spokesperson for the Northland Potato Growers Association’s Potat-Oh-Yeah marketing campaign, she gets to talk about her love for the flavor of Red River Valley potatoes.

The East Grand Forks-based organization created the campaign to promote Red River Valley-grown potatoes to Red River Valley consumers. Yeh said she was approached by Northland Potato Growers about the campaign last year and was on board immediately.

The camps that begin in May and run through September are held at an 80-acre site along the Missouri River near Washburn, North Dakota.

“It really just felt like a natural organic fit for me to talk about potatoes because I could eat potatoes all day, every day and I could talk about how much I love them until the cows come home,” Yeh said.


The marketing campaign is the first by the organization after a rebrand from the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association late last year. Partnering with Ten Acre Marketing, a Grand Forks-based agriculture marketing agency, the organization developed a new name and logo. In October, the organization changed its name to “Northland Potato Growers Association,” to better describe the geography the organization represents.

The rebrand was funded by a $250,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, distributed by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

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The new Northland Potato Growers Association logo features an N with an arrow above it. The organization, formerly Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, rebranded in October 2022.
Contributed / Northland Potato Growers Association

While Red River Valley potato growers combined raise more than 80,000 acres of potatoes in North Dakota and Minnesota, North Dakota grocery stores often carry potatoes grown in other states, like Idaho. The Potat-Oh-Yeah campaign hopes to change that, said Jacey Kuersteiner, office and finance manager for the Northland Potato Growers Association.

“Our goal is really to get North Dakota-grown potatoes into the hands of North Dakota consumers, so that’s why we’re doing this big push,” Kuersteiner said. “There’s also a push in Minnesota to do the same thing.”

The campaign includes a website, , which talks about the varieties of potatoes grown in the Red River Valley, where potatoes grown in the region get their flavor and how to source potatoes grown in the Red River Valley. Yeh is featured on billboards in Bismarck and Fargo, as well as online and television advertisements.

“It’s wonderful to work with her because she’s in our back door, her husband is a farmer and she really supports local agriculture and that’s huge to us in this area,” Kuersteiner said.

Yeh’s family also has a personal connection to the organization. Yeh’s husband is sugarbeet farmer Nick Hagen, and his grandfather Cliff Hagen served as the president of the Red River Potato Growers Association, which is now the Northland Potato Growers Association.

Northland Potato Growers is also working with agriculture influencer Rob Sharky, known online as The Shark Farmer, who hosts a television show and radio show. The North Dakota potato industry will have two segments on his show RFD-TV and he is producing an education video about North Dakota potato production for the Northland Potato Growers website this summer, Kuersteiner said.


Yeh’s partnership with the Northland Potato Growers Association is not the first local agriculture partnership she has taken on. In 2020, she partnered with the Northarvest Bean Growers Association to promote the group’s Beans for Life campaign.

“In general, I’m such a fan of all the crops in this region, so to be able to partner with local brands has been a dream,” Yeh said.

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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