Associated Potato Growers names pair of staffers

Grand Forks, N.D.-based Associated Potato Grower, Inc., recently added two people to its staff.

Kimberly Bjorstad started in July as the food safety and quality control director.

Steve Grod joined the sales department in September, general manager Paul Dolan said.


Bushmans’ hires salesman for potatoes, onions

Bushmans’ Inc., Rosholt, Wis., hired John Eckendorf as a salesman Oct. 1.

Eckendorf will focus on potato and onion sales, chief executive officer Mike Carter said.

Before joining Bushmans’ Inc., Eckendorf worked as a sales representative for Spud City Sales. Prior to that, he was in sales in the radio industry, according to a news release.


L&M takes over marketing for High Country Potato

L&M, Raleigh, N.C., has marketed Idaho russet potatoes from Rexburg, Idaho-based High Country Potato since June.

The partnership is going well and the company has enjoyed positive results so far, said Tracy Fowler, general manager of potatoes and onions.

“High Country is set up to double-watch and double-grade the pack. I believe that is why we are having outstanding feedback,” he said in an e-mail.

Fowler also credited a continued focus on customer service as well as the transportation department in Colorado and L&M Transportation Services, a sister company, as having an impact on the success of the partnership.


Peatland Reds adds brands, tweaks tater packaging

Trail, Minn.-based Peatland Reds Inc. has added brands, including the Family Farm Value and Diamond brands.

Other new packaging options are also in the works.

“Our customers have been requesting specific packaging for their company, so we’re working hand in hand with the receiver to give them the package they want,” co-owner Dennis Magnell said.

Other changes include additions to the operations. This will be the first full year with the new system.

“We added another automatic grader that rechecks the potatoes. It goes through the Odenberg first and then they get rechecked by the AgSort before getting checked by one or two workers,” Magnell said.

These machines will reduce the needed number of workers.

“They get graded about 3 times, and we only need about 3 people working on the line,” he said.


Wada Farms to mark 70th anniversary

Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho, will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2013.

To mark the achievement, the company has several events planned, some of which will focus on community involvement activities in Idaho.

The company also has a restored 1934 truck that will be used for various events across the country surrounding the anniversary, director of marketing Chris Wada said.

Wada Farms plans to be involved with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, in December.

“The truck will be there. That’s the first event on the plan,” Wada said.

“We also have some fun things in terms of giveaways to get customers involved and excited about it,” he said, referencing a toy model of the truck that could be a fun memento.


Washington State Potato Commission hires staff

The Washington State Potato Commission, Moses Lake, Wash., hired Raina Spence this fall as director of industry outreach.

Spence has a background in plant science, and for the commission will focus on giving technical advice to the industry in regards to food safety, sustainability and pest and plant diagnostics, according to a news release.

Director of marketing and industry relations Ryan Holterhoff began his role with the commission in June.


Wilcox Fresh launches Potato Jazz, adds flavors

Wilcox Fresh, Rexburg, relaunched its Potato Jazz product line and switched from a B-size potato to a C size.

“It gives the consumer a stronger value sense,” said Jim Richter, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Other changes include the addition of new flavor profiles.

“Using focus groups and other research methods, we started with about two dozen, then narrowed it down to 12, and then to four,” Richter said of how the company selected the four current choices: Zesty Italian, Chipotle, Savory Herb and Garlic and Parsley.

The product should be available in markets in mid-December, Richter said.