Facts & FAQs

Here are a few bites of information about us.
We also welcome your questions here.

Husman's

"Queen City" Entrepeneur
In 1919, Harry Husman started making potato chips at his home on Laurel Street. He hoisted sacks of potatoes to his second floor "Sunlit Kitchen" by attaching a rope to the bumper of his car.

Where did potato chips originate?

The potato chip, or Saratoga Chip as it was first called, was invented in 1853 by Chef George Crum at Moon Lake House, Saratoga Springs, New York. Chef Crum was trying to please a demanding guest who was badgering him that his home fried potatoes were not sliced thin enough. Crum decided to show him and the other guests. So he sliced the next batch with a razor -- and thus the potato chip was born.

How many chips can you make out of one potato?

About 27 pounds of chips are produced from 100 pounds of potatoes (potatoes are 80% water). It takes four pounds of raw potatoes to make one pound of potato chips.

What kind of potatoes are there?
Where are potatoes grown?

The basic types of potatoes are Atlantic, Snowden, Dakota Pearls and Dakota Crisps.

The potato or tuber is a storage organ that is developed from the swelling at the end of an underground stem. Potatoes that are harvested before they mature are often called "new potatoes" or "early potatoes." We chippers are always happy when the "new potatoes" crop comes in from Florida. "New potatoes" almost always are an appetizing soft golden color. These potatoes have a thin tender skin, which is easily rubbed off during harvesting and handling. They will discolor and wither rapidly at skinned places and are more susceptible to decay than mature potatoes. For this reason the early crops from Florida and North Carolina are not suitable for long storage and must be used right from the field. Typically, potatoes from Florida are ready for harvest in the early spring, then move to North Carolina in June, and then follow the growing season north. In July and August one can find decent potatoes in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois; these are considered field potatoes.

Some field potatoes are used September through March, but most storage potatoes (or "late crop") from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North and South Dakota are used. These potatoes aren't harvested until the vines are mature or dying and the potato skin is firm and tough. These potatoes are not easily injured, and if free of serious diseases and stored under proper conditions, they will not change very much for three to six months.

Potato growers in the Red River Valley of North Dakota are the largest producers of "chipping potatoes" in the world. Much of the winter supply comes from this area.

Where do Husman's potatoes come from?

About 43 million pounds of potatoes are used annually. That's about 12 acres of harvested potatoes per day. These days, more than half of the potatoes come from southcentral Pennsylvania. The balance in winter comes from Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas.

Imagine our grocery bill!

We use approximately:

  • 6 million lbs. of oil a year
  • 200,000 lbs. of salt per year
  • 2,000,000 lbs. of corn meal per year
  • 700,000 lbs. of popcorn per year
  • 700,000 lbs. of cheese per year
  • 700,000 lbs. of seasonings per year

How are potato chips made?

Potatoes are delivered to the Husman's Snack Foods manufacturing plant by truck. When a shipment arrives a sample is taken and tested before unloading. The potatoes are tested for defects, cooking quality, and size before we unload them. If the potatoes meet Husman's standards they're unloaded and put into large wooden crates.

The first step in making potato chips is the destoner. The destoner cycles the potatoes through water to remove rocks and other external debris. Next the potatoes tumble through a peeler (abrasive rollers with water), to remove most of the peels. After the peeler the potatoes are inspected to ensure that adequate peel has been removed and that the potatoes are free of defects. We remove any unsatisfactory potatoes.

The potatoes then go to a slicer assembly that cuts them into chips of the required thickness. The chips then go through a washer where excess scrap and starch is removed. The slices are blown off to remove extra water and conveyed to the automatic fryer and uniformly cooked to a golden crispness. They spend 2 to 3 minutes in the fryer.

The chips are salted immediately at the outfeed of the fryer. The chips then go through an Optical-Sorter that can pick out and remove any defective chips. The individual seasonings are then applied to the chips and the chips are sent to the packaging machines where they are packaged by weight and put into cartons for shipping.

What about Salt and Cholesterol?

Husman's chips have 0% cholesterol because they are fried in vegetable oil and not in animal fat (lard).

Less than 1/10th of a teaspoon of salt is on 1 oz. of chips. The salt is on the surface of the chip and therefore gives a saltier taste to it.

Why do some varieties of chips seem whiter and have a more consistent color?

Some potato chip manufacturers wash their raw chip slices in hot water, approximately 180 degrees F. This method results in lighter color chips by removing some of the sugars. Since this treatment will leach any soluble material from the slices in addition to sugars, it usually results in some loss in flavor and increased oil absorption in the chip. For this reason we do not use this method when we make Husman's chips.

What causes the brown chips?

The potato is the storage organ for nutrients manufactured by the potato plant. The reason some potatoes produce brown potato chips is due to the high sugar content in these potatoes. During growth, sugars are converted to starch. When a chipping potato is mature the sugar level of the potato is below 2%. After harvesting if the potato isn't stored or transported properly these starches can revert back to sugar. The secret to good chip color is that the chipping potatoes must be mature at harvest and not ruined from harvest to processing.

Waste not...

The scrap chips and snacks products that are picked out from inspection tables are recycled by sending them to composting and digesting operations.

Husman's always has an eye for recycling, being one of the first to use returnable cartons for product distribution.

Ready for the Neverending Film Festival?

Husman's popcorn popper holds 300 pounds of popcorn per batch. That's enough to make about 550 6.5 oz. bags. You'll have to get the drink refills on your own.

Why are there sometimes pink or purple marks on the Husman's Pork Skins?

The marks that are occasionally on the Husman's Pork Skins are actually USDA stamps used on the skins to mark that they have been inspected, and graded. We do our best to remove these stamp markings. These markings are in no way harmful.

Crispy & Tasty, Since 1919