Red Quality Good, Supply Short

Published online: Jan 13, 2017
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Although quality is very good, supplies are a little shorter on red potatoes in the U.S. this year—about 30 percent less than average due to heavy rain during harvest season in major production areas, particularly the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakta.

“The (Red River) Valley will ship less, and of course the price is quite a bit higher than it was last year,” said Kevin Olson of Ben Holmes Potato Company, a sales office and brokerage for the area’s table stock potato growers.

Olson had only a single grower that raised a bumper crop. 

Some yellow potatoes are also sold in-season by Ben Holmes Potato. Olson says quality is more relevant than it was before in the potato world, especially for reds.

“Everybody wants nice stuff,” he says. “They don’t want marginal or substandard. If you’ve got good quality you can get a better price for it, and if you find the right customers your demand can stay consistent.”

Olson adds that customers want something “pretty” and that aesthetics are a factor. Although color isn’t an official grade condition for potatoes to be labeled U.S. No. 1, it has an impact.

“If my potatoes are redder, they’ll want my stuff first and even be willing to pay more,” says Olson. “Aesthetically, they want potatoes that look like apples these days.”


Source: Potato News Today