50 for 50: Larry Alsum

Published online: Aug 03, 2021 50 for 50, Articles, Grower of the Month
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Throughout 2021, as part of Potato Grower’s celebration of our 50th year in publication, we will be honoring in our pages and on our website 50 of the potato industry’s most innovative and influential individuals, companies and organizations over the past half-century. This “50 for 50” series will include researchers, salesmen, packers, processors and, of course, plenty of potato growers. A lot of them will be names you’ve heard before. To some, you’ll get a fresh introduction. Regardless, each has had an outsize impact on the U.S. potato industry, and each deserves our thanks and recognition. To view the full roster of “50 for 50” honorees, click here
This article appears in the August 2021 issue of Potato Grower.

For nearly 50 years, Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., has been an innovative grower, packer and shipper of locally grown potatoes, onions and provider of fresh, quality produce.

“We began 48 years ago with Wisconsin potatoes and onions,” says company president and CEO Larry Alsum. “Our success over the past nearly five decades is because of a great team of Alsum employees who are dedicated to serving our customers every day.”

From humble beginnings in 1973, Glen Alsum started the family-owned and operated business in a 16-by-20-foot shed repacking potatoes and onions, and selling them to local grocery stores. After Glen’s tragic death in February 1981, his cousin Larry Alsum became general manager and owner, and continues to serve as the company’s visionary leader.

Today, Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., remains headquartered mere feet away from that original packing shed and has emerged from a one-person operation to become a leading national grower, packer and shipper of russet, red, white, golden, fingerling and organic potatoes. Alsum Farms & Produce is a national distributor of Wisconsin potatoes and onions. It distributes over 300 kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round across the Great Lakes Region, many of which are locally grown in season. Continued growth and expansion has led Alsum Farms & Produce to its current 382,000 square feet of office, production, maintenance, transportation, coolers and potato storage space in Friesland and Arena, Wis.; 225 full-time employees; 3,000 acres of farm ground growing fresh potatoes and pumpkins. The company packs potatoes and onions under the Alsum Farms & Produce brand, and continues to focus on innovation, sustainability, food safety and serving employees and customers.

This year Larry Alsum will be completing his 40th year as president and CEO. Larry feels privileged to continue his family’s farming tradition with his current farming operation. Larry values the opportunity to work alongside his two daughters and their dedicated staff. He says his favorite part about farming is working with great people and developing relationships with customers and suppliers. Larry also enjoys working in nature and seeing how he and his team can interact to produce food in harmony with the environment, and learning how to be better stewards of Wisconsin’s soil, water and other natural resources.

In addition to his work at Alsum Farms & Produce, Larry has been involved in numerous professional organizations and served in leadership roles for the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), National Potato Council, Potatoes USA and Wisconsin Institute of CPAs. Larry is a past president of the WPVGA board, past chairman of the Potatoes USA Board, and most recently past president of the National Potato Council. He has also served on the local school board, church council, chamber of commerce and food bank advisory committee, as well as being a Sunday school teacher and volunteer firefighter.