“That’s what gains our market share — the quality of the pack our growers produce,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate in our corner of the world that we’ve got a very suitable climate and soil conditions for specialty colored potatoes.”
Hayton said Washington’s distinct climates — rainforest west of the Cascade Range and desert to the east, provide a much-appreciated variety in products.
“We’re very large in agriculture, and it’s a very versatile state,” he said.
“We’ve got grapes and asparagus and apples and cherries on the east side of the state, and on the west side, we have quite a few vegetable items.”
Steve Davis, produce buyer with Portland, Ore.-based Aloha Produce, said he hadn’t had any complaints about the pace of his company’s sales.
“It hasn’t been too bad. We’ve been pretty steady,” he said.
“We’ve had a little increase lately. It has picked up for us. I know it’s been rough for a lot of houses, but we seem to be holding our own. People obviously still have to eat. We’re faring OK.”
There’s no seasonal increase in business during the summer, Davis said.
“It really doesn’t fluctuate for us too much,” he said.
“We do lose some school business, but our other restaurant business picks up.”
Maureen Royal, sales representative for Bridges Produce, Portland, said her company is looking for growth in the foodservice sector.
“There’s room for growth there,” she said. “I’m seeing a more educated consumer that’s doing the buying. They have increased their knowledge of what organics is about.”