One local company in the south of Czech Republic is taking advantage of tourism to the area by installing a one-of-a-kind potato vending machine.
The vending machine lets people insert coins and in turn buy fresh potatoes, according to Viktor Kopačka, the company’s director. The varieties of potatoes will change, depending on what’s in season. Right now, the machine sells the Suzan variety of potatoes, and soon they will have Magda potatoes and other varieties, according to what they harvest.
“We adjoin Velhartice Castle and breed varieties of potatoes, which we also sell,” Kopačka told iDnes. “There are a lot of people going to the castle around us, so we took it as such promotion of our varieties. We sell exclusively what we grow in our country.”
The potato vending machine doesn’t look like other vending machines, though. People can only buy two kilograms worth of potatoes at a time. When you come to the barn door, you can insert your money and the potatoes will insert into your bag through a metal pipe.
On the other side of the door, you will find a belt scale that will weigh out two pounds of potatoes and deliver them to the customer when the money is inserted.
“We didn’t invest a lot of money in it, we did it very easily,” the director said.
Since installing the vending machine, Kopačka said, they have sold more than 60 purchases a day. He believes it’s because people want Czech products and local food.
“A lot of tourists and locals go there and they are probably satisfied with the quality and taste of our potatoes,” Kopačka said. The director said people can also buy potatoes in the fall to store for winter.
He hopes people come to taste their potatoes and find them delicious. Most potatoes available in stores are not, in fact, grown in Czech Republic.
“Of the range of varieties that are on the Czech market, about 80 percent are foreign and only 20 percent Czech,” Kopačka said. “We think we have good varieties that should be consumed more at home.”
The Velhartice company farms on 430 hectares of land near the Šumava region. Over the years, they have bred dozens of different varieties of potatoes.