The Idaho potato harvest has started. For Eagle Eye Produce, the harvest kicked off in central Idaho during the first week of August with their russet potatoes. The harvest of their red, yellow and baby varieties started in eastern Idaho last week, and their white potatoes are scheduled to begin harvest in September. Dallin Klingler shares of the first harvests of the russets earlier this month: “Because of the hot weather in early August, we started the harvest in the middle of the night to ensure our potatoes’ internal temperatures were optimal.”
So far, the harvest has been going great for Eagle Eye Produce. Klingler says: “We’re happy with the quality of the potatoes we are seeing coming out of the fields. We have excellent crews who are working around the clock to supply the best product to our customers.”
Stable volumes and steady demand
At the beginning of the pandemic, demand for potatoes was extremely high in retail, and non-existent in the foodservice sector. Klingler explains: “When the news about COVID-19 first hit, our biggest challenge was keeping up with retail demand. We had potato baggers running 24-7 while grocery stores were experiencing a run on their stores. Our foodservice business took a hit as restaurants around the country were closed. Now that restaurants have started coming back online, we’re seeing that foodservice business stabilize.
So far this season, the volumes and demand for the potatoes have been steady. Eagle Eye Produce has kept their acreage stable this year and are offering a year-round supply of their Idaho russet, red, and yellow potatoes. “We are one of the first growers/shippers in Idaho to offer this year-round supply out of Idaho, and we have made big investments into our storage technology with state-of-the-art storage cellars to be able to reach that milestone,” Klingler explains.
The supply on the market is currently a bit tight for large size potatoes, but for medium and small sizes there are good volumes available. “With growers and shippers coming online all over Idaho, there is good overall supply and we are seeing steady demand. The demand will likely pick up in the next few weeks are we march closer to fall and the holidays,” Klingler says.
New pack sizes this season
This season, Eagle Eye Produce introduced a few new pack styles for their potatoes, which include new premium Harvest Select® half and half bags for the russet, red, and yellow potatoes. Klingler explains: “We introduced our new Harvest Select combo bags to really shine a spotlight on our new crop of potatoes. These new combo bags have a premium look and feel, and they should really light up our customers’ shelves. We’re happy to introduce them to our product offering.”
Overall, Eagle Eye Produce is hoping to have an uneventful, smooth, and successful harvest. “There is still a lot of uncertainty in the upcoming year, but we have shown as an industry how versatile we can be during these trying times and we’re optimistic about the future,” Klingler concludes.