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Published January 23, 2014, 09:05 PM

Barrel O’ Fun in Perham still producing chips after “chipping potatoes” go up in smoke

Perham, Minn (WDAY TV) -When fire swept through the RDO potato warehouse, it sent one of America's largest snack food makers into "high gear."

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Perham, Minn (WDAY TV) -When fire swept through the RDO potato warehouse, it sent one of America's largest snack food makers into "high gear."

Barrel O’ Fun snacks of Perham has been producing chips since the ’70s. And the KLN Company does get some of its "chipping potatoes" from RDO.

When fire destroyed the warehouse, tons of spuds went up in smoke.

Inside the sprawling and impressive Barrel O’ Fun potato chip plant, hundreds of workers around the clock are turning out snacks sent daily across the country. And so when this fire broke out at RDO Potatoes, just a few blocks away from Barrel O’ Fun, the potato chip maker had to move quickly to execute Plan B.

Mike Borman, Barrel of Fun production manager: “As soon as I got the call, I contacted another supplier in the Red River Valley and he got someone here that evening to replace the two I had scheduled the next morning.”

There are potatoes that you and I eat for supper. But these spuds are special potatoes grown to make chips.

And so when this warehouse full of chipping potatoes went up in flames, there was not panic, but Barrel O’ Fun had to make sure other providers were ready to step and supply the chip maker with spuds.

Kevin Keil, KLN general manager: “It has an impact. We have to re-arrange where we bring in potatoes from during this time period.

To say Barrel O’ Fun goes through potatoes is an understatement. Each day they bring in 12 truckloads of potatoes, each truck carrying 60,000 pounds.

Not only are Barrel O’ Fun chips coming out of here, but dozens of private label products you see daily in local big box stores and market shops. One reason Barrel O’ Fun workers have been working extra hours to meet the demand.

And other big news coming out of Barrel O’ Fun and Perham today. The snack food giant announced it is buying a potato chip factory in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

100 people are expected to be hired. The factory there has been closed since 2011.

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