Associated Potato Growers add storage

Grand Forks, N.D.-based Associated Potato Growers Inc. has added potato storage.

The red-potato cooperative also has plants in Grafton and Drayton, N.D.

The Grand Forks expansion accommodates an additional 60,000 cwt., said Paul Dolan, president.

That represents an increase of about 8% in Associated’s storage capacity, he said.

The co-op also has hired Kimberly Bjornstad as food safety director.

Bjornstad, a native of Larimore, N.D., started in July. It’s her first position in the produce business, but she has worked in food safety in other industries, Dolan said.

“She has done a real good job of motivating herself and training herself along the lines of food safety and has put together an excellent program for our company,” Dolan said.

Black Gold Farms adds capacity

Grand Forks, N.D.-based Black Gold Farms has upped its storage, said Keith Groven, a salesman.

“We’ll actually have more of our potatoes to sell through the storage season than in the past,” he said.

The company will more than triple what it put into storage a year ago, he said.

Also, Black Gold hired 2012 University of North Dakota graduate David Bain as a salesman.

Bain holds a degree in business/marketing. It’s his first job in the produce industry.

Lone Wolf Farms rebuilds after fire

Minto, N.D.-based Lone Wolf Farms marked the one-year anniversary of a fire that destroyed its packing shed by putting the finishing touches on a new shed, said Chris Bjorneby, salesman.

The new building is about 25,000 square feet, or twice as large as the one that fire destroyed Sept. 26, 2011.

Northern Valley Growers gets grader

Hoople, N.D.-based Northern Valley Growers has installed a potato grader, said Cory Seim, a salesman.

“That should be a big step toward a little more consistency in our product going out,” he said.

The company put the new system to use when it started packing product Oct. 1, Seim said.

O.C. Schulz & Sons expands facility

Crystal, N.D.-based O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc. has built new storage for up to 90,000 cwt. of raw product, said Dave Moquist, president.

“Part of that is to accommodate some increased demand on some contract potatoes we do,” Moquist said.

It also will boost efficiency at the company’s operation, Moquist said.

“We do have another warehouse that we moved potatoes over to our wash plant and now we won’t have to. We’ll have them here at the wash plant,” he said.

The result will be less handling and a better product, he said.

The company’s old storage building will continue to be used for seed and, if needed, overage, Moquist said.

The new building is about 1,800 square feet, he said.

Peatland Reds drops from association

As of Jan. 1, Trail, Minn.-based Peatland Reds Inc., no longer will be part of the Great Plains Potato Growers Association, said Dennis Magnell, a partner in the company.

Peatland Reds will allow its membership to expire at the first of the year, he said.

That makes sense, he said, because the company grows potatoes outside the Red River Valley in peat soil, as opposed to the Red River Valley’s muck soil, he said.

“We don’t need an association — we just need our reds,” Magnell said.

Peatland Reds also is working on a single-wrap baked red potato, using a Dakota Rose variety, Magnell said.

“We hope it will be out by the end of November,” he said, adding that the company had not yet decided on a label for the product.

The product likely will be available only in the New York and Minneapolis markets, which are Peatland Reds’ primary destinations.