(Jan. 15) HAMER, Idaho — Larsen Farms, a major player in the Idaho potato industry, started the new year with a new president and in October plans to introduce onions to its product lineup.

Brandon Larsen, 30, who was the senior vice president of farming and sales operations for the company, took over as president in mid-December.

The company’s owner, Blaine Larsen, was happy to see his son take over as president, said spokeswoman Karen Clark.

“He (Brandon Larsen) was the one that pioneered our Nebraska and Colorado facilities, so he has a great deal of experience — not to mention that he’s probably been picking rocks out of potato fields since he was knee high,” Clark said.

After less than one year of service, the company’s former president, Stan Crafton, stepped down in mid-December.

Crafton started with the company in February as vice president of sales and marketing. About six months later, he became Larsen’s president.

Company officials said they would not release details of Crafton’s departure. Crafton also declined comment.

Before he came to Larsen Farms, Crafton was a corporate director for Super Kmart. The majority of his produce experience, however, came from Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co., where he was a produce director for 29 years.

Blake Peterson took over for Larsen as vice president of operations. Peterson has been with the company for about 22 years, and he was previously general manager of Colorado operations.

Larsen Farms is now expanding its potato line to include a full gamut of varieties, said Alan Bradshaw, vice president of sales and marketing. The company plans to unveil its new products, including its new onion line, at the PMA convention in October.

Owner’s son takes over at spud grower Larsen Farms