Associated Potato Growers Inc., located in Grand Forks, ND, is a cooperative comprised of 18 growers from North Dakota and Minnesota. The organization is one of the largest fresh red potato packing facilities in the Midwest. Members also grow yellows. Associated Potato Growers has three facilities located in Grand Forks, Grafton and Drayton, ND.
“Movement has been good up until the week of Thanksgiving at which time it slowed up,” Manager Paul Dolan told The Produce News. “It is still a little slow at this time, but this is not uncommon after a holiday.”
Mr. Dolan said the harvest is officially over, and cold temperatures have settled into the area. “We had about 800 acres left to harvest in the Drayton and Grand Forks area,” he commented. “Several growers had stopped harvest when it was dry because of skinning and bruising conditions. And when the rains came it wouldn’t stop. We still ended up with a good supply of potatoes. But there has been heavy shrink due to the dry harvesting conditions. Color is good, and we have a size profile that is heavy to A size potatoes.”
Associated Potato Growers is gearing up for a new storage coming online in Grand Forks. “This will add 60,000 hundredweight to our capacity for the Grand Forks plant,” he said.
The cooperative moves potatoes to the South and East under the “Nodak” and “APG” labels. Mr. Dolan said private label is also available at customer request. “We do a variety of packs, down to a three-pound bag and up to a 2,000-pound tote bag,” he added. “Our mix between repackers, wholesalers and retail is about the same. But we are working on more direct business.”
Associated Potato Growers is in the process of become GAP-certified. “Our company is on its way to becoming GSI-certified along with being GTIN compliant by the first of the year,” Mr. Dolan said.