Following a period of price adjustment, Dolan said he expected demand for the valley’s red potatoes to grow.
David Moquist, partner and sales manager for O.C. Schulz & Sons, Crystal, N.D., said he expects demand for red potatoes to remain strong.
Even when prices are relatively high, potatoes are a good value and consumers know that, he said.
Tweten said he expects strong demand to continue throughout the season, though that could largely depend on the price of russets as compared to reds.
“People … will pay more for reds to a certain degree,” Tweten said. “It’s viewed as more of a specialty item.”
Tweten said red potatoes remain a specialty item because there aren’t enough acres of reds to compete with russet production.
NoKota and Schulz & Son’s potatoes ship in an area from North Dakota to Texas and to the east of that line.
Most of Associated Potato’s customers are east of Phoenix, but it occasionally ships to the West Coast, Dolan said.
Campbell Farms ships throughout the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., Campbell said.
Moquist said the majority of red potatoes Schulz & Sons markets are size A U.S. No. 1s or 2s.
The Red River Valley potato size guide on the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association’s website says at least 40% of a pack of potatoes labeled as A size must be 2½ inches in diameter. It is the most common size used in consumer bags, according to the guide.
About 20% of Schulz & Sons’ potatoes are B size, which is 1½ to 2¼ inches in diameter. The guide refers to these as “new” potatoes or baby reds.
Schulz & Sons also markets some C-size potatoes, which are smaller than 1½ inches in diameter. Demand for small potatoes has been good for many years, Moquist said.
Moquist said Schulz & Sons occasionally gets requests for premium-size potatoes, which are 2½ to 3½ inches in diameter. Jumbos range from 3½ inches in diameter and larger.
Schulz & Sons used to sell a good volume of oversize red potatoes, but now it tries not to have any big reds because demand has fallen, Moquist said.