Video: The story behind North Fork Potato Chips

06/20/2011 9:59 AM |

Beneath the wineries and vegetable stands of the North Fork lies rich dirt that used to speckle this farming community with potatoes. Today, the same dirt that helped generations over a century ago is used by Martin and Carol Sidor of Cutchogue to cultivate their product from that same root vegetable.

The Sidors are the proud owners of the nationally distributed potato chip brand, the North Fork Potato Chips company.

Sidor Farms was revolutionized in 2004 when the owners decided simply bagging their Andover, Marcy and Norwiss potato varieties was not going to earn them the living they wanted. After a little inspiration, they decided to bag a more evolved treat: potato chips kettle cooked in sunflower oil.

“We started thinking about what else we need to do to make a living besides raising potatoes,” Ms. Sidor said. “And we thought, ‘Well, what do we know? Potatoes.’ ”

Mr. Sidor, a third generation potato farmer, is even going green on his 170-acre farm. The Sidors use biodiesel fuel in their chip-making process, which increases their self-dependency on the farm, which they say allows them to focus on more important things like providing the satisfying, yet natural taste of their chips.

“I love the regular and sweet potato version,” said Chris Sujeski, a Mattituck resident who says he is health-conscious and snacks on North Fork Potato Chips without guilt. “The chips are an excellent quality, without any additives and locally grown.”

The potato chips are produced through a machine the Sidors bought and store in a small factory on Cox Lane in Cutchogue.
Their mechanical system peels, cuts, frys and nearly bags the chips itself to produce a large amount in the company’s small quarters.

“We produce about 400 to 500 cases per week” Ms. Sidor said. “Broken down it’s in the neighborhood of 1,200 to 2,400 large bags and 4,800 to 6,000 small bags for all the flavors.”

The Sidors would like to expand their company, which already ships up and down the entire East Coast and even as far as Utah.

Their product is a regular on the shelves of Whole Foods grocery store, and in many North Fork wineries, such as Martha Clara and Sparkling Pointe.

The first step to expand is in the flavor of the chips. The company already sells plain chips, sweet potato, barbecue, sour cream and onion, and cheddar onion. They will soon begin to produce rosemary and garlic chips — which Ms. Sidor said was a suggestion from a local winery — and salt and vinegar.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Ever wonder how, or even why, they make North Fork Potato Chips? We've got your answers.



6 Comment

  • The Warner family farm in Riverhead made Warner’s Potato Chips, a well known brand, for years. The old factory is still visible on Sound Avenue, on the southwest corner of Osborn Ave., although it has other uses now. I believe the potato chip operation was sometime in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The family had a helicopter, a Bell 47 like the ones in “Mash.” It was dubbed the “Warner Whirlybird,” and at one time offered rides to contest winners.

    Their chips were the standard variety, before the “designer” types we have today came on the scene.

    Just about every Riverhead grocery store, and others all around, sold Warner’s chips.


  • I clearly remember the Warner Potato Chip factory on Sound Ave. As a child it was not far from my families farm, but out of operation…. I’m a little too “young”, but my family and many others supplied those potatoes… I believe it is now a Blackman facility.

    I truly admire the Sidors for keeping this part of our farming community alive, if even in this small way. I have also found it very commendable how they attempt to keep their own farm sustainable by using biodiesel. There is nothing more North Fork in my mind then potatoes! Buy Local.

  • i love these chips!!! and what a nice family too.

  • Our favorites are the barbecue and sour cream and onion. Yummeee!

  • It’s too bad they can’t support their claim as all natural potato chips. If you look at the ingredients for their Sour Cream and Onion brand it contains MSG. Shame on them… I will never buy these potato chips are any other chip that has to highten their taste by putting MSG in their product.

  • I think it is noble for their to be a Long Island Potato Chip company but unfortunately they cannot support any claim to being “all-natural”. One of their top flavors Sour Cream and Onion contains MSG as an ingredient. I think it is shameful for any food company to have MSG and because of this I refuse to buy this product or any other product that contains MSG.