Coral BeachThe Wada Farms packing shed in Pingree, Idaho, started production in late August. A wet spring delayed the growing season, but harvest is starting on time.RIGBY, Idaho — Some potato growers in Idaho are already into the fall harvest, despite a slow start to the growing season due to an extended, wet spring.
Packing and shipping was just beginning Aug. 29 at Rigby Produce and Potandon Produce in southeast Idaho. Jamey Higham, vice president of business development and foodservice at Potandon in Idaho Falls, said the packing sheds were setting up to run potatoes from the western areas of the state where the potatoes traditionally come in a bit earlier than in the east.
Bryan Mickelsen, general manager of Rigby Produce in Rigby, Idaho, said their shed was also running potatoes from further west.
“We did some sample digs in the past two weeks over here (in the southeast area) and it looks like we will begin harvest around Sept. 20,” Mickelsen said.
About 50 miles west of Rigby, in Pingree, Wada Farms has been harvesting and packing for about a week already.
Chris Wada, of the marketing and new product development division of Wada, said differences in the soil composition in some of the company’s 30,000 acres give them a bit of an edge in terms of a slightly earlier beginning to the fall harvest than some growers in the region.
“The potatoes are looking very good,” Wada said, “although the ones coming out now are a bit smaller overall than last year. The spring season was extended this year and we still haven’t quite caught up. The weather lately has been perfect, though.”