Aspen Produce improves facilities

Jed Ellithorpe, a partner in Aspen Produce LLC, Center, Colo., said the company has upgraded its facility to allow better product handling in the winter months.

The upgrades are focused on improving the company’s receiving procedures.

“It’s focused on what I’d call the dry side of the shed,” Ellithorpe said. “It will give us a little more flexibility when it’s too cold to haul potatoes into the shed.”

In addition, the company is working with some new varieties that Ellithorpe called “non-norkotah.”

“There are different challenges with getting those to market, but we’ve got pretty good experience with them since we’ve been working with them or the past four years or so,” he said.

Skyline Potato’s new GM comes from L&M

Les Alderete is now general manager at Center, Colo.-based Skyline Potato Co.

Alderete, who was previously with Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., has been in the potato industry for nearly 20 years.

He began work at Skyline on Aug. 26.

Alderete said the company brought him on to provide leadership in Colorado because general manager Randy Bache has other obligations in other locations that don’t allow him to spend as much time in Colorado.

“I’m just taking his place in Colorado,” he said.

Alderete said he’s going to attempt to keep growing the company’s business by creating efficiencies.

“We want to continue to become more efficient at the shed level to compete in this industry,” he said.

Wada Farms to continue marketing agreement

Worley & McCullough Inc., Monte Vista, Colo., will continue its partnership with Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The two companies came to an agreement in the fall of last year for Wada to handle the sales and marketing and Worley and McCullough to be the grower-shipper.

“We’re on schedule to do the same thing again this year,” said Shane Watt, vice president of sourcing and grower relations at Wada Farms Marketing Group.

White Rock Specialist enters second season

Sheldon Rockey of Rockey Farms, Center, Colo., and Paul New of White Mountain Farm, Mosca, Colo., will continue their partnership in White Rock Specialist, a fresh market potato packing facility.

Both are managing partners.

The two companies joined last year, and the facility, remodeled from a school, opened in December.

Rockey expects this year to be more organized since the facility opened in the middle of the season last year.

“It was crunch time when we opened last year so we feel this year will be even better,” he said.

Still, the company was pleased with last year.

“As far as the line we were able to develop, design, and put in, we were happy with how it all worked out, and we’re excited to have a full season with it this year,” Rockey said.

Rockey also said he expects the company’s fingerling volume to be about the same as last year, with good demand for specialty and organic potatoes.