Summer is here and that means being separated from many of my friends. A few of them are working at sleep away camps and we have had to resort to keeping in touch via snail mail. Before they left, they told me that one of their campers received a potato in the mail last summer. At first I didn't believe that you could actually mail a potato without packaging, but I told them that I would send them one. They didn't think I was serious, but it is in fact possible to mail a potato. 

Here is the story of how my attempt to mail a potato unfolded. 

The Process

potato onion, spuds, carbohydrate, tuber, vegetable, potato, pasture
Caroline Ingalls

This plan started off relatively innocently. The first challenge was finding the perfect potato—I wanted one that was large enough to write the address and hold the stamp, but not too big that it wouldn't fit in a mailbox. An ordinary Idaho potato seemed like the best bet. 

I bought two and took them home. According to others on the Internet who had successfully mailed potatoes and other atypical items, all you had to do was write the address on the side of the potato and you would be good to go. 

I didn't think an address label would stick to the potato so I wrote the address in Sharpie. It actually worked quite well. I even had room for a brief message on the other side. 

Arielle Gordon

I couldn't figure out how many stamps I needed, so the next morning, I took the potatoes to the post office. I couldn't find anything from USPS to say that you can't mail a potato so there was nothing stopping me at this point.

I didn't want to go to the counter because I had a feeling that the USPS employee would not be too thrilled about helping me mail the potato, so I went to the kiosk. It took a few minutes of clicking through the options but I finally got to the screen that let me print a smaller stamp for rounded packages. I printed one for each potato and I was getting ready to put them on when I looked at the package dropbox and it said, "Out of Order. Please take your package to the full service counter."

Oh no. 

I didn't think they would accept my potatoes so I took everything back to my car and put the stamps on there. The drive though box was open so I went over there and put them each in. I heard a "thunk" as they hit the bottom and then I headed off to wait for three to five business days.

The Results

Arielle Gordon

I remained hopeful but somewhat skeptical that the potatoes would actually make it to their destination, but to my surprise, they did. Five days later, I got a video from my friends holding it and laughing at me for actually following up on my promise. Both the shipping label and the stamp had stayed on and you could still read the address. 

The potato was pretty dirty but no worse for the wear. I joked that a yam is going to be next, so stay tuned. Snack time at camp will never be the same.