Wada goes round with expansions

10/07/2013 04:09:00 PM
Coral Beach

Courtesy Wada FarmsOne of Wada Farms’ red potato varieties runs on the company’s dedicated round line at its expanded packing facility in Pingree, Idaho.Just as Idaho remains the country’s top potato-producing state, russets continue to dominate the potato category.

However, other varieties are gaining ground with consumers and acres in the spud state.

Wada Farms, Pingree, Idaho, certainly isn’t dropping russets, but the 75-year-old, family-owned company is expanding its focus on a varietal development program for colored round potatoes, said Chris Wada, director of marketing and export programs.

At the beginning of the harvest season, Wada told The Packer the 2013 crop was looking very good in terms of quality. He cautioned, though, that until Oct. 15-20, when he expects digging to be finished, the weather could create problems.

Two-thirds of the way through September, Wada’s new colored potato packing line was running at full speed with round reds. The line was completed last year at the company’s main shipping facility in Pingree.

For this season, the company added a 10,000-square-foot cold room for the round potato facility.

Overall, the company has dedicated about 20,000 square feet to its round potato operation, Wada said.

“This year included upgrades to our entire cold chain management for our round colored potato varieties,” Wada said. “Specialized storages, improved handling processes and our brand-new cooling room have already shown dramatic improvement in our potato quality over the year prior.”

For the 2013-14 season, Wada Farms is also expanding its line of mini potato offerings, Wada said.



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