Colorado Growers Await Warmer Days

Published online: Jul 10, 2019 Articles
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Source: Fresh Plaza

Potato growers in Colorado are hoping to see some warmer days and more sunshine this summer in order to make up some lost time. Cool nights early on in the growing season has caused the crop to be behind schedule. Overall however, conditions are relatively favorable and the new crop is coming along well.

“All of our potato crop is in the ground now although we are about 7 – 10 days behind schedule,” said Jamey Higham of Farm Fresh Direct. “We are hoping to see some warmer weather over the summer to help us catch up. Typically, our season begins in earnest after Labor Day, but we often do see some product at the end of August.”

Meanwhile, things are going well for Farm Fresh Direct’s California potato crop. “Our crop in California is doing very well,” Higham said. “The crop is located in the Klamath Basin, close to the border with Oregon, and their season is currently running on time. This region falls into a later window than the Colorado crop.”

Supplies should last until the new crop

There is still a good amount of potatoes available out of Colorado. Growers are aiming for supplies to last up until the new crop. This year, there is more in storage than normal, but with the new crop set to be delayed, this should work out well for shippers.

“We are a little longer in supply than we would normally be,” Higham explained. “But with the slight delay on the new crop, we are in a good position for supplies to last up until then and we hope to finish just as the new crop starts. Business is good on all sizes, but prices are not where we would like them to be. Larger-sized potatoes though are attracting better prices.”

Higham shared that Farm Fresh Direct carries russets, as well as red and yellow potatoes in both conventional and organic.

Consumer behavior is changing

Consumer preferences are changing when it comes to potatoes, suppliers say. There has been a shift in demand towards red, yellow and other colored potatoes. This also extends to the packaging options consumers are looking for. It has been noted that packs are generally getting smaller, however it is also getting more difficult to predict what packaging options will be preferred next.

“We are trying to keep up with the changing behavior of customers,” Higham shared. “It used to be that you were able to plan up to three years in advance, but now it’s more like 6 – 12 months. Packs are getting smaller and there is a faster rotation in new packaging options.”