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November / December 2009

November / December 2009
  • Call for Convenience
  • Jim Carlson Farms On a cool, crisp September morning, as the chill of the early autumn air began evaporating, as the sun climbed higher in the clear blue sky, Jim Carlson was in his element, keeping his seed-potato harvest on schedule despite the random mechanical setbacks that occur during the intensity that is harvest time.
  • Potatoes in Malawi, Africa She grew the potatoes, carried them to the factory and processed them into crisps.
  • Seed Trends 2009 Total seed acres approved for certification in 2009 decreased less than 1 percent from 2008, but there were some surprising changes in the Top 20 varieties. Total certified seed acreage, at 108,444, is at the 2005 level but about 14,000 fewer acres than 2004.
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Call for Convenience

I had the chance to tour the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit International Trade Show and Exposition in October to see the fresh produce suppliers and the many value-added products. Even with a down economy, produce marketers were displaying new products in the value added segment, and that included potato products. Wada Farms, Potandon Produce and Cavendish Farms were just a few of the companies showing off potatoes in microwaveable steamer bags. They didn’t just pack small potatoes in bags, either. They included flavoring to provide a full range of items for retail shoppers that are quick, convenient and healthful – at a reasonable price point for consumers and profitable price point for grower/shippers. There’s no question that American consumers are increasingly short on time and the younger generations aren’t knowledgeable about cooking fresh potatoes. So value-added potato products offer a solution to their time crunch or…  » Read more

Oregon seed grower always learning about the potato industry

On a cool, crisp September morning, as the chill of the early autumn air began evaporating, as the sun climbed higher in the clear blue sky, Jim Carlson was in his element, keeping his seed-potato harvest on schedule despite the random mechanical setbacks that occur during the intensity that is harvest time. This was the second day of harvest in Culver, Ore., and Carlson, a self-described "hands-on" farmer, was working on a faulty harvester with a sheared key way. After a quick consultation in the field with the harvester operator and the truck driver, Carlson had the harvester up and running and was back in his Ford F-250 pick-up on his way to the storage shed to make sure everything was running smoothly there. "Some people drive around and manage," Carlson said on a tour of his farm. "I guess I've always been a hands-on person. I'm…  » Read more

Potatoes in Malawi, Africa

A photo gallery of Joe's trip can be viewed on the Spudman Facebook fan page here. She grew the potatoes, carried them to the factory and processed them into crisps. I saw her carry a bag of potatoes to the processing plant at 7 a.m. I was at a Malawi, Africa, potato growers’ cooperative in October when Grace Phiri of Maonga Village gracefully walked to the building with a bag of potatoes on her head. We found out later that the potatoes weighed 136 pounds. Grace is petite and weighs less than that. Amazing. Grace is one of 80 potato growers in the Biriwiri Farmers and Marketing Cooperative Society (BIFAM), headquartered is in Ntcheu, a small town near the Mozambique border. Gift Kapesi, from the village of Kasamba, and several other farmers founded the cooperative in 2005. Like potato farmers around the world, they wanted to gain market…  » Read more

Ranger, Blazer acreage increases, Burbank decline levels off

Total seed acres approved for certification in 2009 decreased less than 1 percent from 2008, but there were some surprising changes in the Top 20 varieties. Total certified seed acreage, at 108,444, is at the 2005 level but about 14,000 fewer acres than 2004. Russet Burbank continues to be the most-planted potato seed variety, although the variety continues its decline. This season, growers planted 23,907 acres of the variety, 2 percent fewer acres than last season. Idaho had the most acreage with 13,890 Russet Burbank acres certified, which was about 250 acres fewer than last season. Montana, with the second largest acreage, added almost 300 acres of Russet Burbank seed. The variety planted second behind Russet Burbank has been increasing acreage since 2006. Ranger Russet acreage increased 4 percent from last season to 6,861 acres, moving it into the No. 2 spot. The Norland varieties – Dark…  » Read more
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