The Kingston Fryer is the product of more than 40 years of experience and research in how to deliver the best potatoes for hand-cut fries
“Kingston Fresh has over 40 years’ experience living our mission of maintaining a ‘Relentless Commitment to Product Quality, Safety, and Customer Service.’ Our extensive experience has served as a solid foundation and guides us forward in new ways, preparing to meet the needs of the next forty years. From our inception, Kingston Fresh has Utilized our ‘Planting to Plate’ management philosophy, supporting sustainable farming and food safety wherever we operate,” said Nick Proia, who was named chief operating officer of the Idaho Falls, ID-based company in 2019.
“We have extensive experience in doing what we do, which is growing and marketing potatoes, onions and pineapples,” he said.
“We are a mature company, but at the same time we are a young company. We have a new generation of management coming up” and a succession plan in place. “We have new growers that we are working with, and we have revitalized our product lines, specifically our Kingston Fryer brand,” a potato grown, tested and packaged specifically for making fresh hand-cut fries.
Foodservice has been a key market segment for Kingston Fresh since its inception, and the company will be showcasing all three of its product categories at the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey, CA, July 22.
Kingston grows its potatoes and onions in various production areas, then markets and distributes those all over the country, mostly to foodservice distributors and end users.
The potatoes are shipped not only from Idaho but also from Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado and Washington. While The Kingston Fryer is a major component of that category, it is “supported by our regular table stock business” which includes “all sizes of potatoes for baking and other uses,” Proia said.
“Pineapples we grow in Costa Rica and in other countries in Central America, and we import into the U.S.,” he said. “We have four cold storages strategically located in the U.S. on both coasts so that we can service all major markets in the country.”
Kingston Fresh has always been innovative and has always tried to be ahead of the market, “and we will continue to do so,” he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, “we feel like we recognized that early. We responded early. We made our adjustments and managed our way through it.” Now, as it “appears we are coming out of it, we feel that we are very well positioned to move forward.” The company has added new farms and increased inventory and is “ready to meet the needs of an expanding economy as it picks up again,” he said.
“We are growing as a company overall in all three segments of our business,” Proia added. “We continue to work with our customers from the supply chain side all the way through menu development and very often get in the kitchens with our customers and work with them in making sure that they are utilizing the right product for the right application.”
For the Kingston Fryer, drawing on their years of experience with frying potatoes, including in-kitchen research with some major multi-unit restaurant operators, Kingston Fresh has redesigned the whole approach to growing, packaging, and delivering frying potatoes to foodservice. Traditionally, potatoes used for fresh-cut frying have been grown, packed and shipped just like other potatoes and then conditioned, usually at the distributor level or sometimes at the operator level, to optimize starch content prior to frying, a process that is time consuming and takes up precious storage space.
“So we looked at a different way to do it,” Proia said. ”With the Kingston Fryer, we manage that process starting at planting. We look at where the potato is grown and what variety of potato is grown. We test it extensively throughout the growing process and again during harvest and in packing.” All necessary preconditioning to maximize starch content is done before packing, so that “the potatoes that we pack are ready to fry when they go in the packaging. There is no further management of that process needed.”
When foodservice operators get the package that says Kingston Fryer on it — a distinctive white bag or box with blue graphics — “they know it was specifically packed for that reason and it should work right out of the bag, And we work with our customers to make sure it fries the way they were expecting.”
There are two types of potatoes in the Kingston Fryer line. The regular Kingston Fryer is a russet, and it cooks up a golden brown. The other type is the Kingston Fryer Gold, introduced four years ago, which is a thin-skinned yellow flesh potato. It cooks up a lighter color with a creamier appearance. There are also differences in flavor profile. Some customers prefer one type, some the other.
Both types can be used for fresh cut potato chips as well as for fresh-cut fries.