Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., is expanding its product line, and its facility along with it.
Rick Kantner, director of sales and marketing for the Friesland, Wis.-based company, said Alsum introduced foil-wrapped grillers and bakers, which will be available as individually wrapped potatoes as well as in tray packs of four, this month. Alsum also will be rolling out microwavable sweet potatoes — also as individual items or in tray packs — later this summer.
Kantner said Alsum will promote the new items next month during the Midwest Produce Conference & Expo from Aug. 13-15 in Chicago.
Alsum also upgraded its packing shed with two new packing lines, one for specialty packaging related to the new products and another for reds and golds. The upgrade, which gives the company eight packing lines at its Friesland facility, is part of a 55,000-square-foot expansion that is expected to be completed in September.
“It will allow us to pack more potatoes, varieties in different package types more efficiently,” Kantner said.
A 12,000-square-foot addition to the company’s office space was completed in late May. Kantner said that project includes a new test kitchen as well as a GAP training facility for the company’s growers.
“We’ve always had a kitchen, but this test kitchen is more sophisticated with more equipment for developing new recipes and products,” Kantner said.
Alsum also announced two new staff members. Nick Goeser, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin last year, has joined the company in the newly created position of agronomist.
Kantner said Goeser will be responsible for farm management, contribute to research and development, and collaborate with quality assurance staff.
Myron Thompson, who previously managed the fleet for Loffredo Fresh Produce Co. Inc.’s Madison, Wis., distribution center, recently joined Alsum in a similar role.