Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., a grower-packer-shipper of potatoes, a repacker of onions and a wholesale distributor of a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables, based in Friesland, WI, is nearing completion of its 15,000-square-foot specialty potato packaging facility and expects to have it up and running in early November.
With the completion of the facility, Alsum Farms & Produce will have a total of 130,000 square feet of production and warehouse facilities with 140 full-time employees.
Over the last 18 to 24 months, Larry Alsum, president of the company, conducted conceptual and design research with suppliers from Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Alsum completed benchmarking studies and visited various suppliers around the globe to collect information about specialty potato packaging best practices.
"We've collected input first-hand from around the world to determine which produce packaging technologies and processes will best serve the needs of customers while meeting Alsum's strict sustainability standards," Scott Doleshaw, chief operating officer, said in a press release. "Sustainability is a constant focus for us. This facility's automated systems will require less labor and energy. We also utilize a recycled water system."
The Friesland facilities house the administrative offices, test kitchen and clean environment packing facilities. Alsum utilizes the test kitchen to develop new potato recipes, conduct taste tests and validate preparation instructions. In the future, a deep fryer will be installed in order to test new and existing Wisconsin potato varieties.
The packaging facility is used for Alsum's specialty potato produce lines -- red, white, golden, and fingerlings -- as well as Alsum's special line of individually wrapped microwave russet singles and its foil-wrapped Griller Russet.
The new facility has expanded Alsum's packaging capacity and gives Alsum greater flexibility in creating customized packaging for its customers as well.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our customers because we can help customers expand their own unique fresh produce product lines," Heidi Alsum-Randall, marketing manager, added in the press release.
Alsum's specialty potato packaging facility will ensure premier quality with temperature- and humidity-controlled packaging and storage environments. The most advanced quality and inspection processes utilizing stainless steel systems and equipment are also in place, including a shrink-wrap system and six-axis robotic packaging cell.