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Wada Farms sees exceptional quality in 2019 Colorado potato crop

Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID is anticipating excellent quality in its 2019 Colorado potato crop according to Michele Peterson, who heads the company’s Colorado sales office in Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley.

When The Produce News talked to Peterson on Aug. 15, she was expecting Wada Farms to begin shipping potatoes out of the San Luis Valley the following week, making the company among the first in Colorado with new crop potatoes from the 2019 harvest. By the first of September, “we should be running full steam ahead.”

01-Wada---Michele-PetersonMichele Peterson“The crops are looking wonderful right now,” she said. Early indications from test digs suggest that the size profile for the crop may lean to medium sizes and smaller, but “we really don’t know … because it always surprises us once we put the digger in the ground.” However, “the quality is exceptional. It looks wonderful.”

Wada Farms is among the largest shippers of Idaho potatoes but also sources potatoes from other growing areas, principally Colorado’s San Luis Valley, which is the second largest potato growing area in the United States. “We are contracted exclusively” too handle marketing for one of the major San Luis Valley shippers, but also work with several other copackers, she said. “We are building our relationships with all of them, and we are building our relationships with the growers.”

Two years ago, “we had our main warehouse remodeled,” she said, “and the remodel is wonderful. It vastly improved our production.”

Wada’s Colorado production is heavy to russets but also includes reds, yellows, and an assortment of fingerlings. In the russet category, “we have quite a bit of Norkotas” as well as Tetons, Mesas, and several other varieties including some of “the new varieties that are coming out.”

The offerings include a full line of organically-grown potatoes as well as conventionally-grown product.

The potatoes are “readily available” in a wide range of packs from three-pound bags “all the way up to 50-pounders,” Peterson said. “If needed, I can also get 100-pounders.”

The Colorado location offers transportation advantages for certain customers, versus Idaho, she said. “That “helps us as far as offering the best service possible for our customers.”

The Colorado sales office can also service its customer by offering products from Wada that are not produced in Colorado but shipped from Idaho or other locations. Those include a line of value-added consumer products for the retail market. It also includes sweet potatoes and onions, “and we are looking at other commodities to be able to offer our customers,” Peterson said. That synergy with the company’s Idaho operations “helps us to be more rounded.”