When marketing San Luis Valley potatoes, growers say location is key.
“We ship potatoes all across the country but ship more potatoes south and east of Colorado than to other regions,” said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Monte Vista-based Colorado Potato Administrative Committee.
This provides a freight advantage.
San Luis Valley potatoes’ freight advantage also affects prices, said Jed Ellithorpe, a partner in Aspen Produce LLC, Center, Colo.
Other growers agreed.
“Retailers that offer an Idaho variety and a non-Idaho variety can take advantage of the valley and its location. Being a little farther east, they can use that location as an advantage to have shorter delivery times — sometimes even overnight,” said Shane Watt, vice president of sourcing and grower relations for Wada Farms Marketing Group, Idaho Falls, Idaho.
“We can deliver a more local, fresher product,” said Les Alderete, general manager at Center-based Skyline Potato Co.
Flavor is another important aspect to promoting San Luis potatoes.
“One way to win over business in retail sales is through taste,” Ellithorpe said.
Ellithorpe said the company’s new varieties, which he refers to simply as “non-norkotah,” are smoother, with better taste and texture.
Watt said promotions are an important part of marketing the San Luis Valley potato crop although nothing specific is planned for this year yet. Jed Ellithorpe, a partner in Aspen Produce LLC.