Alsum Farms rolls out microwaveable spuds

Alsum Farms & Produce Inc. has introduced value-added potato products as well as new point-of-sale materials for onions and potatoes.

The Friesland, Wis.-based grower-shipper now offers individually wrapped Alsum Microwave Russets, which cook in about eight minutes, said Heidi Randall, marketing manager.

In addition, Alsum has added to its lineup red and gold creamer-sized potatoes in 12-ounce microwaveable steamer bags.

“A lot of other people who have the steamers use either 16 ounces or 24 ounces,” she said. “We have found that the 12 ounces allows you to have a distinct price advantage and fits the two- to three-person household.”

Alsum also provides retailers with signs to hang above onion and potato displays, said Rick Kantner, director of sales and marketing. The colorful point-of-sale materials draw attention to the categories and can be seen by shoppers throughout much of the store.

They also help educate consumers about best uses for each type of onion or potato.


Associated Potato Growers bolsters staff

Steve Brod joined Associated Potato Growers Inc. in September as a salesman, said Paul Dolan, general manager.

Most recently, Brod was involved with sales within the foodservice industry.

In addition, Kimberly Bjornstad joined the Grand Forks, N.D.-based grower cooperative to head up food safety and quality control.

Previously she had been involved in food safety for a macaroni manufacturer.

She will be responsible for ensuring the co-op stays on top of all food safety regulations and monitoring quality at its three North Dakota packing facilities in Grand Forks, Grafton and Drayton.


Keystone Fruit updates consumer packs

Walla Walla, Wash.-based Keystone Fruit Marketing Inc. is updating consumer packaging with higher graphics, said Dan Borer, general manager of Keystone Northwest.

Most of the packages also include recipes and product information, he said.

For onions, Keystone has gone to mesh bags with a wrap-around, high-graphic panel.


Market Fresh launches line with Bushman’s

Nixa, Mo.-based Market Fresh Produce, in conjunction with Rosholt, Wis.-based Bushman’s Inc., rolled out a line of value-added specialty potato products at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2012 on Oct. 26-28 in Anaheim, Calif.

The project, more than a year in the works, will include size C gold and red creamers in microwaveable steamer pillow packs, said Mike Carter, Bushman’s chief executive officer.

Taking a page from the apple industry, he said the new offerings are designed to increase overall category returns.

“If you look at the apple industry, you can see they’ve done a pretty good job of doing different things to increase sales like marketing by variety of doing different packaging,” Carter said.

Speedy Spud, Bushman’s individually wrapped microwaveable russet potato, will be rebranded under the Market Fresh label.


Oso Sweet opens Savannah, Ga., office

Saven Corp. Inc., Charleston, W.Va., which markets Oso Sweet onions, has opened an office in Savannah, Ga., to be closer to the port of Savannah and to the Vidalia, Ga., sweet onion production area.

Brian Kelly, who was in the West Virginia office, has relocated to Georgia, said Mark Breimeister, national sales manager.

“Our operations in Vidalia and into the port of Savannah have grown significantly,” he said. “Most of our Peruvian product comes into the port of Savannah.”

Oso Sweet offers year-round supplies of sweet onions starting the year in Chile, followed by south Texas, California’s Imperial Valley, Vidalia and finishing in Peru.


Northern Plains Potato Growers joins Facebook

To accompany a new Red River Valley Potatoes logo, the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association has launched a Facebook page,

The page currently houses photos, links to recipes, videos, nutritional information and fresh shipper’s contact information, among other items, according to a news release.

The social media site is part of an overall effort to create more of a cohesive brand image for Red River Valley Potatoes, said Ted Kreis, Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, East Grand Forks, Minn.


Washington board revamps spud website

A revamped website for the Washington State Potato Commission launched in late October, offering more user-friendly information to growers, their customers and consumers.

Ryan Holterhoff, director of marketing and industry affairs, discussed the enhanced site at Fresh Summit 2012, and the commission’s Nov. 2 newsletter further detailed changes to the site at

Navigation tabs across the top of the commission’s new home page provide easy access to everything from consumer recipes to details on the commission’s projects. A new research tab directs users to the Northwest Potato Research site.

A page listing local growers provides buyers contact information to dozens of sources for potatoes with one click.

Wisconsin growers name promotions chief

As part of an overall push to strengthen its presence in the marketplace and with consumers, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association has hired a director of promotions, communications and consumer education.

Dana Rady stepped into the new post with a diverse background that executive director Duane Maatz said will help her help the association and its members. She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with main areas of study in journalism and Spanish.

Rady taught English and Spanish to adults in Texas immediately after college, and then returned to the North where she worked as a reporter and anchor for WJFW-TV, Channel 12, in Rhinelander, Wis. She most recently worked as sales and marketing coordinator for the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.

Maatz said Rady’s main responsibilities will include promotional and communications activities. She will also serve as the committee liaison for the vegetable and chip divisions of the association.