For the third time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, area residents will have an opportunity to get free fingerling potatoes. The giveaway will take place from approximately 9-11 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Cotopaxi park, across from the school at 345 CR 12.

“Come with your bag (or) box and mask and a lovely social distancing attitude,” said Linda Heltzel, who’s organizing the giveaway.

“We have a farmer friend growing fingerlings for high-end restaurants. He’s lost his market and must dump them. Because they are organic, you can plant or eat them.”

Once again, 2,000 pounds of potatoes will be given away Saturday.

“The potatoes are amazing,” Heltzel said. “There’s a reason they are normally sold to high-end restaurants. (They’re) excellent roasted, but you can do most anything with them.” 

The potatoes are from Center’s Mountain Valley Produce and will be free, but people can make a donation if they choose to benefit a summertime kids’ food programs.

“If you’ve been lucky enough not to feel the economic burden of the pandemic, you may make a donation. Otherwise they are yours for the taking,” Heltzel said.

At the first potato giveaway in Howard, Heltzel said they raised $866.98 in donations and gave $50 to Little Red Hen bread donation fund and the remainder to The Grainery food bank.

She said the second giveaway at Chaffee County Fairgrounds raised $1,166.81 for Salida First Presbyterian Church’s SOS fund, which helps the community with needs other than food through an application process.

“I’ve been stunned by the kindness and generosity of the people who have participated,” she said.

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