Today's Pricing

WATERMELON — F.O.B.S AS OF AUG. 18

SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND SOUTHEAST ILLINOIS — Shipments (452-536-505, red-flesh seeded 52-49-36, red-flesh seedless 400-487-469) — Movement expected to remain the same. Trading slow. Prices slightly lower. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seeded 35s 11 cents; red-flesh seedless 36s 10-11 cents, 45s 11 cents, 60s 11 cents. Quality generally good.

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CALIF. — Shipments (273-318-312, seedless 262-306-299, seeded 11-12-13) — Movement expected about the same. Trading moderate. Prices generally unchanged. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 count 16-18 cents, approximately 45 count 17-19 cents, approximately 60 count 16-18 cents. Quality generally good.

DELAWARE, MARYLAND, EASTERN SHORE, VA. — Shipments (349-354*-299, red-flesh seeded 2-1-1, red-flesh seedless 347-353*-298) — Movement expected to remain about the same. Trading red-flesh seedless 60s very slow, other seedless slow. Prices red-flesh seedless 60s slightly lower, others generally unchanged. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless 36s and 45s mostly 11 cents, 60s mostly 10-11 cents. Quality generally good. *revised.

TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA — Shipments (TX 274-295-288, seedless 249-257-251, seeded 25-38-37; OK 16-10-6, seedless 12-10-6, seeded 4-0-0) — Movement expected about the same from Texas and decrease in Oklahoma. Trading moderate. Prices seeded higher, seedless 35 and 45 counts lower, 60s generally unchanged. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 45 count mostly 13-14 cents, approximately 35 count mostly 12-14 cents, approximately 60 count mostly 12-13 cents; red-flesh seeded-type approximately 28 and 35 counts mostly 10 cents. Quality variable. Some present shipments from prior bookings and/or previous commitments.

NORTH CAROLINA — Shipments (199-189*-187, red-flesh seeded 25-17-9, red-flesh seedless 174-172*-178) — Movement expected to remain about the same. Trading red-flesh seedless 60s very slow, other seedless slow. Prices red-flesh seedless 60s slightly lower, other seedless generally unchanged. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seeded 35s supplies insufficient to quote; red-flesh seedless 36s and 45s mostly 11 cents, 60s mostly 10-11 cents. Quality generally good. *revised.

MISSOURI — Shipments (195-137-93, red-flesh seeded 24-17-13, red-flesh seedless 171-120-79) — Movement expected to decrease as growers finish for the season. Supply insufficient and in too few hands to establish a market. LAST REPORT.

MICHIGAN — Shipments (3-22-52, red-flesh seeded 0-2-6, red-flesh seedless 3-20-46) — Movement expected to remain the same. Trading fairly slow. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless 36s 11-12 cents, 45s mostly 12 cents, 60s mostly 12 cents. Quality generally good.



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Red River Valley Potatoes

Demand increasing for reds at retail, foodservice

Russet potatoes account for nearly half of the retail dollars spent in the potato category, but reds are slowly gaining ground.

“There is increased demand for reds, which we love because reds are king here,” said Steve Tweeten, president and chief executive officer of NoKota Packers, Buxton, N.D.

Red potatoes account for 98% of the fresh potatoes grown in the Red River Valley, said Ted Kreis, marketing director for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, East Grand Forks, N.D. Kreis said reds have increased their nationwide market share 2 percent in the potato category compared to last year.

“Consumers are becoming more educated,” Kreis said. “They perceive red potatoes to be a healthy choice, and cable cooking shows have inspired people to try new things.”

Kreis said the versatility of reds — which lend themselves to salads, soups and more — also have benefitted from recipe promotions by the U.S. Potato Board.

For its part, the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association is urging retailers to promote red potatoes more often, said Kreis, who added that the association is targeting retail buyers through trade publications and shows.

For the 52-week period ending Aug. 31, red potato volume increased 4.1% in U.S. retail stores, according to the Nielsen Perishables Group.

Reds accounted for 19% of dollars spent in the category, more than double that of yellows and three times more than whites.

“This is the one category in retail that is doing better than the other varieties,” said Paul Dolan, president of Associated Potato Growers Inc., Grand Forks, N.D.

“One thing that has hurt the red potato movement is the high prices and short supply that the retailers experienced this past summer. The prices were too high to promote, and people found alternatives. The market prices we are at now should be very good for promotions and demand, as long as retail brings their prices in line with what they are currently paying.”

Fifty-pound cartons of size A round red U.S. No. 1 potatoes from the Red River Valley were pricing mostly $9.50-10, while size B were selling at $20-21.50, according to an Oct. 22 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fifty-pound sacks of the size A round red U.S. No. 1 were pricing mostly $8-8.50; size B, $18.50-20.

Growing demand isn’t limited to retail. Dolan said demand also is increasing in foodservice as more chefs incorporate reds into their menus.

Dave Moquist, president of O.C. Schultz & Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D., said skin-on mashed potatoes is one particular dish that has helped reds gain ground.

“Restaurants are looking for something different than French fries or a baked russet,” he said. “Skin-on mashed potatoes are popular. People are trying it, liking it and ordering it again.”

The texture and taste of reds make them the preferred choice for many recipes, said Keith Groven, salesman for Black Gold Farms, Grand Forks.

“Foodservice is a major part of our growth,” he said. “We’ve been pretty aggressive there. There are good opportunities to work with foodservice operators and their customers.”


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