Tri-City Herald: Thumbs up to international potato markets and the close-to-home Wine Science Center

Would you like fries with that?

To a successful trade mission introducing Northwest potatoes to Asian markets.

Baked, boiled or fried, potatoes are a staple in the American diet. They’re versatile and go with everything.

And, apparently, in southeast Asia they also are exotic. Half of the culinary students in Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines have never cooked with potatoes.

The Washington State Potato Commission knows it’s one thing to expose chefs and culinary students to the all-star, multi-tasking spud, but the real issue will be breaking the import/export hurdles.

Another issue will be in getting fresh and frozen potatoes to market in good condition. Clogged ports are an issue there.

The good news is that the details can be worked out later.

Once our neighbors get a taste for Northwest potatoes, they likely will encourage their own governments to make the changes necessary to help clear the way for the exports. It whets our appetite just thinking about it.

We’ll raise a glass to that

For generous donations to our future.

Nearly 40 years ago, Albert Victor Ravenholt figured out something that the rest of us now know. He sampled the areas soils, considered the climate and took a chance on growing a vineyard.

It paid off.

Sagemoor Vinyards now is one of the area’s largest operations and it’s one of the best vineyards in the industry.

Ravenhold, who died in 2010, left a legacy that continues to give.

A recent donation of $500,000 to Washington State University’s Wine Science Center will help finish that facility and bring in guest lecturers from around the world.

The center will be finished in a few months and still needs to raise $2.7 million. By next year backers expect it will be an internationally recognized authority on wine making.

Ravenholt’s legacy lives on.

Nuclear (mis)management

To neglecting our nation’s nuclear forces.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to make things right for the people who handle our nuclear arsenal. Years of neglect have left the men and women in charge of the country’s most dangerous weapons at risk.

He’s ordered an additional $10 billion to be spent correcting deep problems.

In the cross hairs are lapses of leadership, moral, safety and security at all three nuclear Air Force bases.

It’s a large price tag, but it’s also addressing a big problem.

It’s good that the concerns are being addressed. It’s shameful that they have gone on as long as they have.