Posts Tagged “Idaho potato shipments”

Eagle Eye Produce is Now Shipping New Crop of Potatoes and Onions

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Grower and shipper Eagle Eye Produce, based in Idaho Falls, ID started shipping its new crop of yellow, red, and white onions from their facilities in Western Idaho & Eastern Oregon about a month ago.

The onion harvest, which got underway in the Snake River Valley of Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon will continue through most of September. The company also is harvesting red, yellow and white onions in Washington state. Shipments for russets, red and yellow potatoes started in late August.

Over the next few months, Eagle Eye growers will harvest thousands of acres of world-famous Idaho potatoes along with thousands of acres from key growing areas in Washington.

Eagle Eye reports the crop is looking very good and there is a tremendous amount of demand built up, due to the short supply year from last year’s crop. Overall acreage for this season is down due to limitations with irrigation water and increased input costs for growers and packers. With the challenges early in the growing season, the firm anticipates slightly smaller sizes and a bit lighter yield, but overall, is very pleased with the quality.

To prepare for the upcoming crop, Eagle Eye Produce has built new state of the art storage facilities and invested further into their packing facilities, with state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and automation to reduce labor constraints, improve quality, and contribute to more consistent packs year-round. Eagle Eye Produce has also bolstered its supply of red and yellow Idaho potatoes with increased acreage.

This industry-leading structure allows for one-stop loading of russet, red, yellow, and value-add products from their facilities in Idaho.

Eagle Eye Produce is headquartered in the heart of Idaho potato country, but they grow much more than potatoes. Annually cultivating more than 30,000 acres of fresh produce from Idaho to Mexico, and across most of the Western United States with a national sales and marketing team to support their diverse year-round commodity programs and proven brands. Eagle Eye Produce owns and operates state-of-the-art warehouses and packing facilities in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and California, 

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Late Season Idaho Potatoes are Having Some Problems with Quality

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Extra caution is advised if you plan on hauling last season storage potatoes out of Idaho. Some quality problems such as shoulder bruising and hollow heart are being reported.

The problem apparently is resulting from pressure and shoulder bruising (soft, external indents) because of constant contact with adjacent potatoes, or the floor, while the raw product sits in storage piles. Hollow heart (small, irregularly shaped internal craters) develops internally during the season when potatoes grow faster than normal due to adverse weather.

Idaho potato shippers are depleting their supplies from storage, and the Norkotah crop has been exhausted, leaving the Burbank variety until new crop arrives.

Burbanks will be the only variety available for shipping until the new crop of Norkotahs become available in August. Some suppliers expect a potential 7to 14 day shipping gap in early August.

New crop Norkotah harvesting is expected to begin in early August.

Storage supplies are available from many growing areas besides Idaho, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

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Idaho is Expected to Ship the Fewest Potatoes in 6 Years

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Fewer Idaho potatoes are being shipped this year, but they are larger thanks to hot weather during the growing season.

All shippers were loading new crop potatoes in October, with a smooth transition reported between old crop and new crop supplies this season.

Potandon Produce of Idaho Falls, ID report fresh potato crop acreage is up this year, but the increase is primarily for process use. Additonally, it is believed there will be lower yields.

Wada Farms Markekting Group LLC of Idaho Falls notes fresh potato yields and production could drop as much as 10%.

United Potato Growers of America of Salt Lake City, UT reports acreage is should be up slightly, but yields will be down for Idaho growers this year.

UPG points out the group’s shipping forecast for the U.S. fresh potato crop is 88 million cwt., 1.9 million cwt. less than the 2020-21 crop.
Idaho is expected to ship about 32 million cwt. of fresh russets, about 1.8 million cwt. down from a year ago and the lowest shipment total in about six years.

Idaho acreage is estimated at 315,000 acres, up 6% from 296,000 a year ago.

However, 2021 yield is projected at 430 cwt. per acre, down 5% from 455 cwt. last year. Total Idaho production is anticipated at 135.45 million cwt., up from 134.5 million cwt. a year ago. 

The fresh market is expected to account for 24.7% of the Idaho crop, compared with 27.1% for the fresh market in the 2020-21 season.

Idaho Falls potatoes – grossing about $7200 to Atlanta; $9200 to New York City.

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Higher Trucking Rates are Facing Idaho Potato Industry This Season

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Hauling Idaho potatoes by truck this season is coming with higher freight rates.

Between early August to October 9, the USDA reported the average rate for refrigerated trucks from Idaho to Atlanta rose from $4,675 to $6,500, a gain of 39%. This year’s October rate was up about 40% compared with a year ago.

The truck rate from Idaho to Boston rose from $7,000 in early August to $8,500 by October 9, a gain of 21%. Compared with the same time a year ago, the October 2021 rate was 37% higher.
Refrigerated truck rates from Idaho to Chicago were rated at $4,500 on October 9, 25% up from early August and 32% above the same time a year ago.

The Idaho Potato Commission of Eagle, ID expresses concerns over having adequate truck supplies during the holiday season.

Heading towards winter the commission is urging retailers to order early in order to build potato inventories, because transportation is going to be a challenge.

The commission reports factors which should favor truck availability include higher freight rates, driver signing bonuses and strong truck demand. Factors that could decrease truckload available range from slowed truck manufacturing because of part shortages and labor shortages.

Increasing demand for truck capacity is seen with the economic stimulus, retail spending, inventory replenishment, consumer sentiment, and housing. 

However, the federal stimulus package enticed some drivers and warehouse workers to make money by “sitting on their couch” as opposed to joining the workforce, the commission reported.

Owner operators now account for 62% of truckers. Some observers predicted more owner operator entering the freight business.

C.H. Robinson of Prairie Eden, MN is projecting a 5% to 6% growth in spot rates from early September to the end of the year. Less-than truck load rates remain elevated compared to the historical five-year average and the truck driver shortage is not easing.

The company notes reducing wait time for drivers should be one aim, and investing in good facilities is another.

Twin Falls, Idaho potatoes – grossing about $8500 to New York City.

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Eagle Eye Produce is Shipping New Crop of Potatoes

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Grower/shipper Eagle Eye Produce of Idaho Falls, ID began loading the new crop russet, red, and yellow potatoes from their packing facilities in Idaho the second week of August.

“We anticipate a good harvest this year with excellent product available to go to market with, although this growing season has seen some challenges,” said Coleman Oswald, director of sales at Eagle Eye Produce. “We experienced higher than normal temperatures this summer with very little precipitation, which may lead to lower than anticipated yields. With the reduced yields, we are anticipating strong and active markets this season, which we are currently seeing take shape as harvest begins.”

Eagle Eye Produce’s year-round potato programs are fully integrated. This industry-leading structure allows for one-stop loading of russet, red, yellow, and value- add products from their facilities in Idaho.

Eagle Eye Produce is headquartered in the heart of Idaho potato country, but it grows much more than potatoes. Annually cultivating more than 30,000 acres of fresh produce from Idaho to Mexico, and across most of the Western United States with a national sales and marketing team to support their diverse year-round commodity programs and proven brands. Eagle Eye Produce owns and operates state-of-the-art warehouses and packing facilities in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and California, and is dedicated to innovation, offering a full line of ready to cook simple meal solutions.

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Eagle Eye Produce Now Shipping New-Crop of Idaho Potatoes

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A new crop of russets is now being shipped by Eagle Eye Produce of Idaho Falls, ID. These will be followed shortly by the harvesting of red and yellow potatoes.

Eagle Eye is introducing new pack styles with the new season, according to a news release, including Harvest Select half-and-half bags for russet, red and yellow potatoes. The company has a range of retail and foodservice packs under several brand names, with the option of private-label packs.

“Growing conditions for this upcoming crop have been excellent,” Coleman Oswald, director of sales, said in the release. “We are enthusiastic about what we are seeing in the fields at this point, and we are eager to get this new season underway.”

Eagle Eye Produce owns and operates warehouses and packing facilities in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California, according to the release.

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A Round up of Better Loading Opportunities in Western States

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January and February are two of the slowest months for fresh produce shipments, and while March begins to give hope of things to come it often is not much better.

Still, here is a round up of some of the best loading opportunities from the western states.


West Mexico vegetable shipments through Nogales, AZ are typically one of the best locations for produce loads in the winter, but this year it’s not quite up to speed, thanks to weather factors in growing areas south of the border. Produce trucking rates are down 8 to 10 percent to most destinations, at least in part to the lower volume.

Multiple rains in November followed by another round about New Year’s hit vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and green bell peppers pretty hard. These weather events are reported to be more serious than damaging freezes in 2011-12-13. Currently around 850 truckload equivalents of cukes are being shipped weekly and nearly 600 truckload equivalents of bell peppers.

In the Yuma area of western Arizona, most of the nation’s lettuce is coming from here now. There are about 375 truckload equivalents of head lettuce and romaine a week being shipped from Yuma.

Mexican vegetables crossing through Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago.

Lettuce and other veggies from Yuma as well as the nearby Imperial Valley and Coachella Valley (the later two in the California desert) – grossing about $6200 to New York City.


California certainly is less than exciting from a produce hauling stand point right now. There is the previously mentioned desert areas, plus Oxnard is shipping some veggies, most notably celery, averaging about 400 truckload equivalents per week. The Bakersfield area is led by carrots with around 450 truckload equivalents a week.

Perhaps the most promising loads in the weeks ahead are with strawberries. South California volume now is very light, but there is the potential for record setting shipments from Easter (April 12) through the Fourth of July. Right now the primary strawberry loads are from Mexico through South Texas which are double the volume of California .

Carrots from the Bakersfield area – grossing about $3700 to Dallas.


Heaviest volume from the Pacific Time Zone is easily with apples, averaging about 2,750 truckloads each week. Storage sheds are mostly in the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys. Otherwise, there are onions and potatoes from Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon. There are over 800 truckloads of onions and about 360 truckloads of potatoes moving weekly from this area.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City. 


The state’s upper valley and Twin Falls areas are shipping about 1,750 truckloads of potatoes a week.

Idaho potatoes grossing – about $4500 to Atlanta.

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Union Pacific is Making Largest Equipment Acquistion in its History

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A30Union Pacific will be acquiring 1,000 new high-tech refrigerated boxcars and may increase that total to 1,600 if needed.   The purchase will result in the largest equipment acquisition in company history, costing $250,000 per car.  The announcement was made recently at the Idaho Grower Shipper Association’s 90th annual convention in Sun Valley, ID.

It was pointed out the Idaho potato industry has historically relied heavily on rail transportation for shipments destined to major markets such as Chicago or the Northeast.  For regions such as these, the additional reefers are greatly needed.  Union Pacific has a fleet of aging, antiquated reefers that are woefully unable to meet existing demand.  Current equipment is at least 40 years old, and Idaho potato shipments have increased dramatically in the past four decades.

Thrasher was one of seven panelists participating in the workshop that addressed some of the major transportation challenges faced by the Idaho potato industry. The panel was moderated by Derek Peterson of Wilcox Fresh, who is a member of the IGSA board of directors.

During the convention other companies aired concerns for serious problems facing the trucking industry and its inability to hire enough drivers.  It was pointed out nationwide trucking industry is 50,000 drivers short.  A major factor is drivers approaching retirement age.  The average age of long-haul truck drivers is now 65 and the industry is not being successful in either attracting or retaining younger drivers.

Contributing to the decline is the current robust economy is providing more attractive options to younger drivers or to younger workers who might otherwise have considered long-haul trucking.  There also are higher paying jobs in construction or in the oil fields, which often offer workers the advantage of going home to their families at night rather than being on the road for a week or more at a stretch.

A panel at the convention rehashed many age old ways to make truck driving a more attractive option for new drivers as well as ways to reduce turnover.  It was pointed out shippers could make life easier for drivers hauling fresh produce by treating the drivers with more respect, providing clean, comfortable facilities for them while they are waiting to be loaded or unloaded, reducing wait times, compensating them for long waits and providing adequate truck parking.

It also was suggest that reducing the age for interstate commercial truck drivers to 18 would help.

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A Trifecta of Produce Shipments: Kishu Mandarins; Idaho Potatoes; Georgia Broccoli

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A2Here is a trifecta of produce loading opportunities.  Granted two of the three will be limited volume (mandarins and broccoli), but Idaho potatoes always have big time shipments.

In another week or so Kishu mandarin loadings will get underway from California’s Orange Cove growing region.

The delicate, hand-picked item has relatively overall light volume and provides partial loads at best.

Kishu mandarins are a golf ball-sized mandarin that are sweet and easy to peel and sold for Ripe to You under the Lil’ Ninja Mandarins label.  Harvest begins in mid-November.

“We’re still competing with our retail partner’s inventory of citrus from the Southern Hemisphere,” says Madalyn McCracken of Ripe to You, based in Reedley, CAs.

That said, she adds that the Kishus are a variety sought after by higher-end grocery stores. “We’ve had great feedback on our 1 lb. bag with a new Giro design and we look forward to the consumer’s reaction to it,” she says.

Idaho Potato Shipments

Shipments of Idaho potatoes through early October have been running ahead of a year ago, according to USDA statistics.  As of October 6th, truck shipments of Idaho potatoes were 61.9 million pounds, up 9 percent from the same week a year ago.

Season-to-date truck shipments of Idaho potatoes through October 6th totaled 458.7 million pounds, up 14 percent compared with the season.

Rail shipments were also up, with season-to-date movement of 28.5 million pounds, up 6 percent compared with year-ago levels.

Fresh potato loadings are expected to ramp up as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $4700 to Atlanta.

Georgia Broccoli Shipments

While Maine broccoli shipments are finishing, shipper Fresh from the Start is launching its second season in Georgia with broccoli shipments starting in  mid-November.

The company dodged the bullet with Hurricane Michael and is  expecting good volume this season. Once its Georgia season is finished it will begin shipping out of Florida in January.

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A Western U.S. Produce Shipping Round Up

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DSCN8988Western produce shipments may not be setting many records right now, but in general provide the best loading opportunities in the U.S.

Vegetables are in good volume from Arizona, where it be the Yuma district or Mexican product crossing the border at Nogales.  Head lettuce and romaine lettuce account for the heaviest volume with about 2000 truck loads a week from Yuma and to a lesser extent the Phoenix area.  Much fewer shipments of broccoli and cauliflower also are available.

Yuma, AZ vegetables – grossing about $7100 to New York City.

Mexican vegetables coming into Nogales distribution centers are led by bell peppers and other peppers totaling about  900 truck loads weekly, and various squash at around 750 truck loads of sweet corn.  There’s also decent volume with tomatoes and squash.

Mexican vegetables from Nogales – grossing about $5800 to Miami.

In the Pacific Northwest apple growers and shippers not only know how to produce great product, they’ve developed keen marketing skills over the decades.  Apples easily provide the single heaviest domestic fresh produce volume this year.  Over 3000 truck load equivalents are being shipped from Washington state’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.  They also are shipping much lighter volumes of pears.

Washington apples – grossing about $5100 to Chicago.

Southern Washington’s Columbia Basin along with the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Northern Oregon are shipping moderate amounts of onions and potatoes.  Combined the two products are averaging 1000 truck loads a week, although the biggest volume is with onions.

Idaho potato shipments are averaging over 1800 truck load equivalents, although similar to Washington apples, a significant amount is moving by rail.  Western Idaho and Malheur County Oregon are loading about 650 truck loads of onions weekly.

Twin Falls, ID potatoes – grossing about $5900 to Orlando.

Colorado russet potato shipments from the San Luis Valley are amounting to around 575 truck loads per week.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $1700 to Dallas.




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