(March 5) Basin Gold Cooperative Inc., Pasco, Wash., has added two Washington grower-shippers to its roster of member companies.

Atlantic Produce, Warden, Wash., and Pacific Produce, Othello, Wash., joined the potato and onion cooperative March 3, said Bart Connors, Basin Gold salesman. They are the sixth and seventh companies to join Basin Gold, and the co-op’s first additions since Malin Potato Cooperative Inc., Merrill, Ore., came on board in September.
“We’ve known the principals of Atlantic and Pacific for a long time,” Connors said. “They’re good, solid companies with good growers and a consistently high-quality product. We’re really happy that they chose to join us.”

Connors said the addition of Atlantic and Pacific would increase the volume of potatoes and onions marketed by Basin Gold and would allow it to continue providing its customers with year-round coverage.

Bart Connors’s cousin, Mike Connors, also a salesman for Basin Gold, said the addition of Atlantic and Pacific would increase the co-op’s quantities by about 15%, though he declined to reveal specific volumes.

All sales for the two companies will now be handled by Basin Gold, he added, but both companies will continue to pack product.

Atlantic is already packing Basin Gold-labeled potatoes, Mike Connors said. Atlantic and Pacific will continue to pack some potatoes with their own labels, he said, but that practice will probably eventually be phased out.

The new additions further expand Basin Gold’s geographic reach. Atlantic and Pacific grow potatoes on five counties in Washington’s Columbia Basin region. In September, when Malin Potato joined the co-op, Basin Gold’s coverage in the Klamath Valley of Oregon was greatly expanded, Mike Connors said.
Tony Czebotar, Atlantic’s principal, said the relationship culminated a 30-year friendship with the management of Basin Gold.

“Their ability to grow and market produce is second to none,” Czebotar said. “When you combine our farms and packing facilities, the result is a dynamic organization.”

Dan Elmore, Pacific’s principal, said he looked forward to capitalizing on Basin Gold’s ability to market product 12 months a year.