Strong market greets Washington, Oregon potatoes

07/12/2013 02:11:00 PM
Mike Hornick

“Oregon typically would be upper 70s and lower 80s, but we’ve had upper 90s and today we’re looking at 100,” Ken Rutledge, salesman for Klamath, Ore.-based Wong Potatoes Inc., said July 2.

“We’re fighting some weather and we’ve got water issues. They haven’t really started affecting us on the south side of the basin yet, but it’s coming.”

Even so, he expects normal volumes.

Allen Floyd, president of Othello, Wash.-based Harvest Fresh Produce Inc., expected to finish last year’s norkotah russets by the third week of July. “We’ll be down two to four days at the most and then running again on new crop,” he said.

“On top we’ve got some of the prettiest vines I’ve ever seen,” Floyd, a Potandon grower with product under the Green Giant Fresh label, said June 27.

“I don’t know what’s underneath. They’re closed rows and good, healthy vines. But we’ve got quite a few 100-plus degree days coming at us, so we’ll see how good they are.”

Marston said supply should be enough to meet demand, but not much more.

“We’ll see what Mother Nature has left us for the rest of the year,” he said.

“August is a pretty good window for Washington. Idaho starts around Sept. 1 and then really gets cranking toward mid-September. That’s when you’ll see prices dip, but how far we don’t know.”


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