Posts Tagged “Idaho potatoes”

Shipping Updates: Florida Tomatoes are Rebounding; Rates Up for Western U.S. Potatoes

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DSCN0190Florida tomato volume is rebounding as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues.  Meanwhile, double digit freights on potatoes from some states in the Western U.S. are occurring.

Florida tomato shipments remain much lighter than normal thanks to Hurricane Irma last fall, that is fixing to change.  Volume is gradually coming back as the replantings mature, but it will be around Christmas or perhaps early January before volumes return to normal.  Irma dumped a ton of water of some fields, so use caution loading.  There’s a chance of bacterial and general quality problems with some product, until a little later in the season.

North American Potato Shipping Update

North American fall potato shipments in the most recent USDA update is pegged 505 million cwt. (per hundredweight), down 1 percent from last year.  Canadian growers harvested 106 million cwt., up slightly from 2016, and U.S. growers are expected to produce 399 million cwt., down 2 percent from 2016.  U.S. growers planted 906,500 acres, down from 923,800 in 2016, and harvested 900,600 acres, off from 909,600 in 2016.

Canadian growers planted 345,800 acres and harvested 342,200, both amounts similar to the previous crop.  The USDA reported yields per acre at 443 cwt. for growers in the U.S. and at 309 cwt. for growers in Canada.

Potato shipments for Christmas are getting underway and truck rates from both Idaho and Colorado have increased 10 to 20 percent to many markets.  Wisconsin, which has the lowest volume of the three states, is not experiencing volatility in rates.  Idaho is shipping moving nearly 1700 truckload equivalents of spuds a week, although a significant amount of this is going by rail.  Colorado is shipping around 750 truckloads per week, while Wisconsin is loading about 400 truckloads.  The Columbia Basin and Umatilla Basin on the Washington/Oregon border has similar volume  (about 350 loads) to Colorado  and rates have generally went up 10 to 15 percent recently.

Twin Falls area Idaho potatoes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.

San Luis Valley Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2000 to Dallas.

Stevens Point, Wisconsin area potatoes – grossing about  $3300 to Atlanta.

Washington’s Columbian Basin potatoes – grossing bout $5100 to Chicago.


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Idaho Potato Commission’s New TV Commercial is Scoring Big Points

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DSCN0185By the Idaho Potato Commission

EAGLE, ID —  The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) launched its new television commercial during the Boise State University (BSU) vs University of Virginia (UVA) football game that aired live from Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho in late September.  As a long-standing Bronco sponsor, this marquee game presented an ideal opportunity to unveil the seventh installment of the IPC’s  commercial featuring the Big Idaho Potato Truck, Farmer Mark and his ever-faithful hound.

“Every year the popularity of the Big Idaho Potato Truck grows exponentially due in large part to the national television commercial that airs when the Truck isn’t on the road.  As a result, consumers are exposed to the Truck for an entire year, as opposed to 6-months, the actual length of the tour, explained Frank Muir, President and CEO, IPC.   “Launching the commercial during the IPC’s nationally-televised marquee game at Albertson’s Stadium has become a tradition.  Not only are we further supporting Idaho football but the strength of the brand is reinforced through the prominently placed Idaho’s potato signage throughout the stadium, and the reporters are always excited to talk about spuds.”

During the game ESPN reporters made it clear to their viewers they were in Tater Nation.  From footage of the Big Idaho Potato Truck and non-stop shots of Spuddy Buddy, to a close-up of sideline reporter, Molly McGrath’s loaded baked potato, Idaho’s potatoes were treated like MVPs from the kick-off to the very last play of the game.
The commercial airs through early April on popular networks like CNN, The Food Network, Headline News, Fox News and The History Channel, achieving more than 550 million audience impressions. To view it now, visit the IPC’s YouTube channel.

For more information about Idaho’s famous spud visit:

About the Idaho Potato Commission

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous Grown in Idaho seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil give Idaho potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, that differentiates Idaho potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

Boise State Football

The Boise State Bronco lost the game to Virginia University, 42 to 23.  However, the Broncos have an 8-2 won, lost record.

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A Fall Shipping Update from Several Key U.S. Produce Areas

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DSCN4898In typical fall fashion here are some of the better loading opportunities from four important produce U.S. shipping states.


While apple shipments may not set a record this season, plenty will be available for hauling as another big crop is forecast.  Last season harvest was so huge, believe it or not, some shippers are still loading “old” apples from last season.  That’s okay, if your receiver is aware of it.  Just make sure they know what is being loaded.  Nearly 1800 truckload equivalents of apples are being loaded weekly primarily from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.  Around 400 truckload equivalents of Washington pears are being shipped as well, with the best volume yet to come.

Idaho and Oregon

Another big crop of Idaho potatoes will be shipped between now and late next summer.  Nearly 1600 truckload equivalents of primarily russet potatoes are being loaded weekly from the four primarily Idaho shipping areas lead by the Idaho Falls area.

Western Idaho and Malhuer County Oregon are shipping over 600 truckloads on storage onions per week.   Last winter a number of onion storage sheds and other buildings were heavily damaged in Nyssa and Ontario, Oregon due to two separate winter storms, but adequate facilities appear to be in place for the new shipping season.

South Texas Produce Shipments

Literally dozens of tropical fruits and vegetables are crossing the border from Mexico at Pharr, Texas, but a majority of the are in light volume at this point.  Vine ripe tomatoes are perhaps providing the heaviest volume with about 500 truckloads per week.  Limes may be among the heavier volume tropical fruits with nearly 350 truckloads weekly.

Many Mexican items are just getting underway and in the coming weeks will provide better hauling opportunities ranging from strawberries to raspberries, honeydew, papayas and pineapples among others.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley grapefruit harvest is barely underway with good volume arriving in November.


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Study Points Out Popularity of Idaho Bagged Potatoes

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IdahoSpudConsumers are less likely to not buy Idaho-branded bagged russet potatoes due to price changes than potatoes from other states, according to a new study.

The Idaho Potato Commission commissioned the study conducted by economist Timothy Richards of Arizona State University, which used retail scan data for the two-year period.

The numbers indicate that Idaho potatoes have a higher consumer preference and can command a more premium retail price or markup.

“The research showed that for russets, Idaho russets are less price elastic than non-Idaho russets,” said Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail and international programs for the commission. “When price goes up on Idaho (russets), the resulting lost volume is significantly less than non-Idaho russets.”

Photo courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission

Pemsler said the findings suggest that if retailers don’t discount Idaho russets to the same degree as non-Idaho russets, there wouldn’t be a significant effect on volume sold.

The study showed that overall price elasticity of bagged Idaho russets was 1.26 compared with 1.91 for bagged russets from other areas.

The study breaks down data from the entire U.S. and eight separate regions over the two-year period, according to an executive summary of the research.

In addition, Idaho potatoes are the least vulnerable to competitive pricing.

Based on scan data of 5- and 10-pound bags, Idaho russet potatoes have the highest profit margin potential compared with potatoes from other origins.

“The fact is that even if you pay 10 cents a bag more for Idaho russets, you can charge 20 cents per bag more at retail,” Pemsler said

Bulk potatoes were not evaluated because of inconsistencies found in the data due to the nature of price-look-up stickers and misidentification of variety and brand/origin at checkout registers.

Bagged potatoes represented 70 percent of all potato volume tracked during the two-year study.

Pemsler estimated about 60 percent of retailers in the U.S. carry both Idaho and non-Idaho bagged russets.  The data has not yet been published but more details are available from the Idaho Potato Commission at


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Winners Announced For Idaho Potato Holiday Recipes Contest

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IdahoPotBy Idaho Potato Commission

EAGLE, ID — Following an online “Fully-Loaded Idaho® Potato Cook-off” recipes event, Kenmore® awarded Crystal Schlueter’s unique and easy-to-make Mashed-Up Kimchi Reuben Tater Bombs with Sweet Onion & Gochujang Aioli the grand prize. The poppable hors d’oeuvres balance sweet onion, salty reuben, savory mashed potato filling, and spicy gochujang dipping sauce to create an unforgettable flavor experience.

In November, participants entered their favorite holiday-themed recipes to showcase their love for Idaho® potatoes. Kenmore® selected four winners, including a “Social Spud,” the most liked recipe on social media channels.

Grand Prize
Mashed-Up Kimchi Reuben Tater Bombs with Sweet Onion & Gochujang Aioli
Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, CO
Prize: $1,500 cash + full suite of Kenmore® small kitchen appliances

2nd Place
Cream of Potato Jalapeño Soup
Tamie Joeckel, Richardson, TX
Prize: Kenmore® small kitchen appliance + 15 lb box of Idaho® potatoes

3rd Place
Beggar’s Pouch Mashers with Spinach and Parmesan
Sharon Damante, Napa, CA
Prize: Kenmore® small kitchen appliance + 15 lb box of Idaho® potatoes

Social Spud
Grandma’s Shepherd’s Pie
Anna Feliciano, Mahopac, NY
Prize: $500 + 15 lb box of Idaho® potatoes

Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO, Frank Muir, acknowledged the strength of IPC’s partnership with Kenmore® and Momma Cuisine–a well-respected cooking personality with an impressive following on Twitter–for this online event. “Idaho® potato lovers are some of the most dedicated fans out there and we knew that by partnering with Kenmore®, one of the country’s most trusted brands, and Momma Cuisine, we would get some fantastic entries,” Muir explained. “I’m impressed with the quality and creativity of the entries. Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to our winners.”

About The Idaho Potato Commission 

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho™” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation, and rich volcanic soil give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, which differentiates Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

For contest requirements and judging criteria see our news post from Nov. 17, 2016.

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Heaviest Potato Loadings are in the Northwest

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img_65791Here are the current top five fresh potato shipping regions when it comes to volume being loaded on a weekly basis:  Idaho, Colorado, Columbia Basin in southern Washington and Umatilla Basin in Northern Oregon, Wisconsin and the Red River Valley.

There’s a reason why Northwest potato shipments are huge for the 2016-17 shipping season.  Some call it high yields, others call it over production.  And all of this centers around Idaho, the biggest potato producer of them all.,

For this season Idaho harvested 323,000 acres , totaling 13 billion pounds of potatoes — enough to fill 500 football stadiums 10 feet high.  This accounts for one-third of all U.S. potatoes.  Idaho is now shipping over 2000 truck load equivalents of potatoes a week.  Idaho potatoes are easily the biggest volume U.S. produce item  currently being shipped.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5400 to Boston.

In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, about 750 truck loads of potatoes are being loaded each week.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $1600 to Dallas.

In Washington state, fresh potato shipments are coming from the Columbia Basin, Skagit Valley, and Klamath Basin.  Washington State potato growers boast of the highest yields in the world, but total shipments each week are well below Idaho and even Colorado.  About 13 percent of Washington’s overall crop is shipped for the fresh market.   Washington’s Columbia Basin and adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon is averaging around 500 truck loads of potato shipments weekly.  This volume leans heavily towards specialty potatoes.

Columbian Basin/Umatilla Basin potatoes – grossing about $5400 to Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Central Wisconsin accounts for the bulk of the Badger state’s potato shipments – currently averaging about 375 truck loads per week.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing abut $2600 to Atlanta.

The Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota is shipping about 175 truck loads of red potatoes each week.

North Dakota and Minnesota Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $1750 to Chicago.


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Holiday Ready Potato Recipe Contest Deadline is 11/30

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dscn7660by Idaho Potato Commission

EAGLE, ID  — Attention food fanatics and chefs extraordinaire! During the month of November enter your favorite Idaho® potato recipe for a chance to win a $1,500 cash prize, a myriad of kitchen appliances from Kenmore® and a 15 lb. bag of fresh Idaho® potatoes. In addition to the prizes awarded for first, second and third place, a $500 “Social Spud” prize will be given to the recipe receiving the most “likes” on the contest page, encouraging contestants to share their recipe entry on their social media channels.

“This contest is a smart way for three well-known reputable brands to get folks across the country excited about baking and cooking with Idaho® potatoes during the holiday season,” explained Frank Muir, President and CEO, Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). “We believe this could be the biggest recipe contest in the IPC’s history in terms of number of entries received and total reach to consumers and the media. And that means more great recipes for us to try and share with family and friends!”

To be eligible, all entries must be received by 11:59 PM MST, November 30, 2016 and include the following:

  • Use fresh, frozen or dehydrated Idaho® potatoes
  • Include complete recipe ingredient list and directions
  • Submit a high quality recipe photo
  • Provide a brief recipe description

Prizes include:

  • First Place: $1,500 cash and a full suite of Kenmore® small kitchen appliances
  • Second Place: Kenmore® small kitchen appliance and a 15 lb. bag of Idaho® potatoes
  • Third Place: Kenmore® small kitchen appliance and a 15 lb. bag of Idaho® potatoes
  • Social Spud: $500 cash for the recipe with the most votes

Recipes will be reviewed and tested by representatives from the IPC and judged on their combination of creativity, taste, ease of preparation, and, of course, use of Idaho® potatoes. Winners will be notified by December 10, 2016. The winning recipe will be featured on the IPC’s website and social media channels.

About The Idaho Potato Commission

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho™” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation, and rich volcanic soil give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, which differentiates Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

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Nathel & Nathel Expands Operations at Hunts Point

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DSCN4954Nathel & Nathel Inc. has expanded operations on the Hunts Point Terminal Market located in the South Bronx of New York City.

The New York-based wholesaler has added refrigeration capacity, reconfigured its fruit and vegetable divisions and improved its docks for truck loading and unloading.  Following the closure of  Krisp-Pak Sales Corp. in 2012, Nathel & Nathel took over its units and was working on closing on the purchase of units from the defunct Korean Farm, which went out of business in 2014.

Nathel & Nathel now distributes produce from to 23 units.

The distributor also upgraded the warehouse to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point standards.

Better refrigeration control in different zones will result from the improvements, according to company vice president Sheldon Nathel said.    It also should result in better temperature control for fruits and vegetables as well as better organize the operation, making it more efficient.

Nathel & Nathel sells a full line of fruits and vegetables, including tropicals and specialties, to customers throughout the Tri-State region.

The Hunts Point Terminal Market occupies 329 acres and supports 115 private wholesalers that employ over 8,000 people.

Hunts Point wholesalers are paying a freight rate of about $5000 from the Lower Rio Grand Valley of Texas for fruits and vegetables, and about $4800 for Idaho potatoes.


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Spud Truck Hits Road with Heart-Health Message for Women

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SpudTkBOISE, Idaho – The head-turning, jaw-dropping Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck is back on the road for its third consecutive cross-country tour with a new message for women: Take care of your heart! The five-month long, 2014 Big Idaho® Potato Truck Tour kicked off in Boise, Idaho with waves, cheers, and hugs from the students of Riverside Elementary School and salutes from soldiers at the Air Force Base in Mountain Home.
In 2011, fresh Idaho® potatoes were certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program by meeting the program’s nutrition requirements and they now bear the highly recognized and respected Heart-Check mark on the packaging. This recognition is profoundly helpful in reminding consumers that Idaho® potatoes can be a part of their everyday diet. Knowing that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women (mothers, sisters, daughters, friends) and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined, it’s more important than ever that women understand the role both diet and exercise play in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
“The Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) support of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement provides another new and exciting way we can remind consumers, especially women, of the nutritional benefits Idaho® potatoes offer,” said Frank Muir, President and CEO, IPC. “In addition to a new charity beneficiary, we’ve rebranded the Truck so it showcases fresh Idaho® potatoes prepared in various ways and creatively communicates the potato’s nutritional benefits.”
“The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is grateful to the Idaho Potato Commission for supporting us in our fight against heart disease in women,” said Bernie Dennis, Chairman, American Heart Association National Board of Directors. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Idaho Potato Commission to help educate consumers on ways they can prevent heart disease through diet and exercise.”

In 2014, the truck will visit 26 states and travel close to 19,000 miles during a five-month period. The Truck and its seasoned traveling Tater Team will stop at high traffic events like the Kentucky Derby, the Art Car Parade and Festival in Houston, Texas and the 55th World Lumberjack Competition in Hayward, Wisconsin. In between events, the Truck will visit key retailers and foodservice operators, and local places of interest it finds along the way.
The Truck The Great Big Idaho® Potato weighs more than 6 tons (the equivalent of 32,346 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes). It has become a traveling ambassador for the country’s most famous potato. After being seen by hundreds of millions of Americans in person and in the IPC’s national television commercial, the most frequently asked question is, “Is it real?” We’ll never tell… but in the event it is, the Great Big Idaho® Potato:

  • Would take more than 10,000 years to grow.
  • Is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.
  • Would take 2 years and 9 months to bake.

The Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck was created and built by Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Spruce of Weiser, Idaho. With the help of a few specialized contractors, they spent an entire year designing and building this incredible vehicle. The Kenworth Sales Company and Western Trailer, both based in Boise, Idaho, also aided with the construction.
The Tour To find out when the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will be in a city near you, please visit The website provides in-depth information about the Truck, the IPC’s support of the Go Red For Women movement and weekly updates with tales and photos from the road.

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Quality Problems are Hitting Late Season Potato Shipments

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IMG_6538Potato shipments from the old season are rapidly coming to a close, which is probably best since quality problems are showing up in product coming out of storages.  There are less late season spuds available and loading opportunities are going to be relatively scarace until the new crop gets going.

You are seeing the results in high potato prices at your local supermarket.

The USDA reports US potato shipments for the weeks ending July 27 and Aug. 3 were down 15% and 24%, respectively, compared to the same weeks in 2012.

Shipments for new crops of potatoes have just started from Wisconsin, Colorado and Nebraska.

Even with the new crop of potatoes, some problems are already being reported.  For example, diggings in Rupert, Idaho, began August 6, and growers are experiencing some skinning problems.  That means a potential for potato haulers facing claims or rejected loads.

Shipments from Idaho are not expected to be significant until late August.

Texas is shipping some russets shipments and Washington state began in late July with light volume.

After this past season’s disaster with low prices on a huge crop, Idaho growers planted fewer acres and the new season is expected to be more normal in terms of volume.

Volume of old crop shipments from Idaho and Washington-Oregon have been higher in late July and early August than the previous season.  However, shipments from Colorado this season were off by as much as a third.

Red potato shipments from the Big Lake area of Minnesota have started within the past week.  In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, it will be late September or early October before decent shipments occur with red potatoes.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5300 to New York City.

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