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Potandon offers full line of Idaho potatoes in Green Giant, private and shipper labels

Potandon Produce LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, which began its 2019 harvest of Idaho russets around mid-August and of varietals in late August, will offer potato buyers “a full line of Idaho product on all of our potatoes for this season,” according to Steve Elfering, vice president of operations.

”We can offer our customers the full category out of Idaho” in the Green Giant, private and shipper labels, said Dick Thomas, senior vice president of sales. That includes a full range of bags and cartons, “in addition to all of [the products in] our value-added line that we offer from our cross-docking facility here in Idaho Falls.”

01-Potandon---Thomas-and-ElferingDick Thomas, senior vice president of sales, and Steve Elfering, vice president of operations.Potandon is one of the nation’s leading shippers of potatoes and onions, not only out of Idaho but out of other growing regions as well, and is the exclusive marketer of the Green Giant Fresh label in both potatoes and onions.

In the Idaho potato category, the company offers russets—both Norkotah and Burbank—as well as round red potatoes, yellow potatoes, “our Klondike Rose red-and-yellow potato” with red exterior and yellow interior, and a line of mini-potatoes, Elfering said.

The company is seeing significant growth in yellow potatoes and mini-potatoes, according to Carter Bray, vice president and general manager of the variety potato division.

“We are a one-stop shop with the high quality that the Green Giant label is recognized for in all the different major varieties of potatoes and onions,” said Thomas. ”We have the ability to do mixer loads of Idaho potatoes along with our onions out of Idaho-Oregon, all in the Green Giant label.

In January, Potandon launched a new value-added consumer product In the convenience category called One Step … Done!, which consists of mini-potatoes in a one-pound gusseted stand-up bag, along with a seasoning disk in a patented Flavor Release chamber. That product is now available year-round, and “we have had great retailer acceptance,” Thomas said.

Due to late-spring frost around planting time, the 2019 Idaho potato crop has been running a little behind. “We are probably seven to 10 days late in maturity,” Elfering said Aug. 22. “The size profile from the early fields was running “significantly smaller” than in a normal crop, but “quality seems to be good.” Weather has been favorable during the growing season, producing “a nice smooth crop. At least season to date it looks that way,” and packouts could be higher than usual, he said.

“We are obviously hoping that we get a longer growing season here and have a favorable fall to get some size back into the crop” for the later fields, he added. “We’ll see what the harvest brings [as] we get the diggers into the fields.”

Market prices will be given a boost by the fact that there is no holdover from the 2018 crop.

“We are completely cleaned up on the storage crop,” Thomas said. Potandon packed the last of the old crop on Aug. 15 and “made a smooth transition to the new crop.”