(March 20) STOCKTON, Calif. — Discovery Garden’s, a newcomer in the potato business, plans a June national rollout of Sierra Gold potatoes, a new variety described as having the creamy texture of a yukon gold potato with the thick hearty skin of a russet.
The company was formed in July by parent company California Oregon Seed Inc., which is owned by SA Camp Pump Co., Bakersfield.
Discovery Garden’s will offer the potatoes in 2.2-pound and 5-pound bags with recipes and nutrition information, as well as use and storage tips on the back panels. Discovery Garden’s also will offer Sierra Gold potatoes in bulk 25-pound branded Eurocartons that can be used for display.
Potatoes in the Eurocartons will feature a Sierra Gold brand sticker, similar to stickers used on apples, oranges and bananas in the produce department.
The potatoes will be available year-round. The suggested retail price is $2.39 for the 2.2-pound bag, $4.69 for the 5-pound bag and 99 cents a pound for bulk.
To catch consumer attention, Discovery Garden’s provides recipe brochures and other point-of-sale materials to retailers upon request. The company also has a recently updated Web site at www.discovery-gardens.com.
The company conducted a test market for Sierra Gold potatoes in the Northern California stores of Albertson’s Inc., Boise, Idaho, starting last fall. In the past month, Sierra Gold potatoes have been featured in prominent displays in six of the Northern California Albertson’s stores.
Sierra Gold potatoes are a proprietary variety grown in Arizona, California and southern Oregon. The potatoes are being grown in the Imperial Valley, and production will move to Bakersfield in June.
The company has had no sales staff but is recruiting salespeople, Campbell said.
Campbell handles the growing side of the business, while his daughter, Amanda Campbell, drums up retail customers.
Demonstrations and sampling programs have helped attract customers. Ketchum, a San Francisco firm that helps companies in brand marketing, set up a test kitchen so a taste panel could evaluate Sierra Gold potatoes.