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MVPG says demand for yellow spuds ‘through the roof for the holidays’

Thus far the 2017 shipping season has been on track for Monte Vista Potato Growers, and the longtime San Luis Valley grower/shipper is seeing good movement for all varieties.

“Supplies have been pretty decent,” MVPG General Manager Jason Tillman said Thanksgiving week. “We’re shipping a little bit of everything in our yellows and russets, and demand for yellows went through the roof for the holidays.”

montevistapotatoonion2Monte Vista Potato Growers General Manager Jason Tillman said demand for yellow potatoes was ‘through the roof’ this Thanksgiving. Tillman said, “We have had a great Thanksgiving pull, and we’re hoping for a good Christmas as well.” He said yellow supplies are good for the coming holiday.

Though movement has been good, Tillman said the year has not been without some challenges.

“Some of the guys who didn’t get out of the ground in time had some frost,” he said, noting that overall quality has been good.”

As the conventionals ramped up for holiday demand, MVPG also started handling sales for a grower-owned organic shed.

“The shed started running in early November,” he said. “It’s located near this facility, and I am handling all the sales for the first season.” He said the anticipated volume is 150,000 cwt of yellows, russets and reds, with about equal split among the colors.

“That’s a lot of what we’re doing, split loads that are one-third, one-third and one-third,” he added.

“We’re sending some to Texas, to the Southeast and also to receivers here in Colorado,” Tillman continued, noting that demand is increasing, and the 2018 organic program was being established in November.

Currently the shed is co-packing for other sheds, but Tillman said the operation will have a “Peak Organic” label.

“Our conventional program will be the same next year,” he said, noting that acreage is expected to remain steady.

The “biggest wild card we have sales-wise is transportation,” he said, noting a general shortage of trucks and the “additional restraints on truckers with the electronic monitor, which is going to hurt both the trucking industry and shippers, too.”

Tillman said shippers will be forced to pack early because of the monitor’s parameters.

“And labor is getting tougher all the time,” he said. “There are just not as many people who want to work.”