Once a year, for four amazing weeks, Orange County is graced with the presence of its most attended event of the year. The OC Fair is a culmination of local artists, cover bands, national vendors, and above all, some of the most interesting and unique food combinations you might ever see. Behind each of these culinary concoctions, is a story.
Tastichips is one of the longest standing and most loved food vendors at the fair. The first time I went to visit, there was an older woman in front of me who had said she has been seeking out these fresh potato chips every visit to the fair for over 20 years. Tastichips began in 1974 with the dream of Grant Vartanian, gracing the fairgrounds with a fresh potato chip, that you can now embellish with cheese sauce, housmade chilli, and jalapeno, ranch, or bacon dipping sauce.
Since 1998 Lori Southerland has taken over the business from her brother-in-law, maintaing quality, and sourcing from local California potato growers. Agri- Empire in San Jacinto, CA grows the seasonal white and red rose potatoes that are best in the summer months, and are hand selected by the family of Tastichips. These potatoes are a Tastichip staple, because they are easy to clean and the thin skin allows for easy slicing.
Tastichips sees around 500 to 1,000 customers a day and about 20,000 customers per fair run. Each day about 1,000 lbs of potatoes are used, that equals 13 tons of potatoes throughout the fair duration. 13 tons is about the same as two adult elephants.
Steve Vartanian plans to take Tastichips into the future, keeping this a family run operation for over 40 years. Branching out from the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County Fairs, and working on projects for the winter months, or possibly a brick and mortar location. Keep your eyes peeled for this passion filled potato, you can feel the care in every Tasti bite.