( Courtesy Oregon Potato Commission )

Oregon group funds research

The Oregon Potato Commission is devoting 45% of its dollars to applied research for growers, said Bill Brewer, executive director of the Portland-based commission.

Scientists are trying to figure out how to solve particular pest problems that growers face, he said.

Over time, he said processing potato volume is expected to increase, with processors building more capacity that will require more product. 

“There will be there will be an increase in the Lower Columbia Basin, and it’s going to be for processing,” Brewer said.

Currently, processing accounts for about 85% of the state’s potato volume, with fresh tablestock at 12% and seed potato uses the remainder.


Potandon expects July harvest

With acreage about steady, growing conditions have been excellent this year for russet norkotahs near Pasco, Wash., said Ralph Schwartz, vice president of sales with Potandon Produce, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Harvest is expected to begin about July 21, he said, with good quality new crop russets anticipated. Klondike Rose and gold potatoes are expected to start about July 30 from the Pasco region, he said.

Mini potatoes from Washington will be put in storage as harvest begins in late July, as the firm’s Arizona mini-potatoes are still being marketed from storage until September.

Schwartz said the second season for the firm’s Idaho-grown CarbSmart potato is expected to begin in mid-September and is drawing big consumer anticipation, he said.


Strebin Farms sees strong crop

Columbia Basin crop conditions are favorable for Troutdale, Ore.-based Strebin Farms LLC, according to Dan Strebin, owner and manager of the operations.

Harvest is expected to begin about July 30. Acreage is about the same as last year, and the firm offers year-round availability, he said.


Valley Pride ups gold potato output

Though overall acreage is steady, Dale Hayton, sales manager for Valley Pride Sales, Burlington, Wash., said the company may harvest a few more gold and white potatoes and fewer red potatoes.

The company expects to start harvest in late August or early September and continue running through the spring.

“We’re just excited to get going and see what the season brings,” he said.


Commission touts athletic benefits

The Washington Potato Commission plans to promote the athletic performance benefits of potatoes.

“Potatoes USA is really kind of tying potatoes in with athletic performance, and we are going to be mirroring that on the local level here,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake-based commission.

“We’re going to be sponsoring a lot of different marathons and triathlons and bike rides,” he said.

Voigt said the commission will be giving out potato gift boxes/meal kits to athletes that will have all sorts of different ideas on how to incorporate potatoes in meal prepping, he said.