MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ -- Richard Leibowitz is looking to reinvent the specialty potato market.
Mr. Leibowitz, managing director of the newly formed Specialty Potato Alliance, told The Produce News during an interview at his office, here in north-central New Jersey that the organization is comprised of North America's premier growers and distributors of specialty potatoes, and its initial focus will be on fingerling potato varieties from heirloom and new varietal stock.
"The name Specialty Potato Alliance really represents our group because that is truly what we are," Mr. Leibowitz said. "We are devoted to the development of the market and are working together to provide a year-round, price- stable family of products for foodservice and retail on a daily basis so there will be no gaps in the fingerling market and product will always be available."
The Specialty Potato Alliance will initially offer four varieties of fingerings -- French Fingerling, Purple Peruvian, Russian Banana and Ruby Crescent -- that will be packed under the "Specialty Potato Alliance," "Les Bons Petits" and "Culinary Harvest" labels.
The firm will introduce its products and its founding members at the Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference & Exposition July 24-26 in Monterey, CA. Mr. Leibowitz said that the alliance's founders, comprised of two growers, a broker and a distributor, are excited about meeting new customers and sharing the debut of an additional potato variety, known as the Red Rebel.
Mr. Leibowitz said that the alliance will pack in Los Angeles and Bakersfield, CA, on a year-round basis, and in Colorado from October through May. It will have forward distribution on both coasts and can do less-than-truckload and just-in-time deliveries. It also has its own traceability program.
A press release issued by the alliance said, "Developed by combining a group of 'Farmers Who Care' with the country's premier distribution firms, Specialty Potato Alliance combines over 100 years of knowledge and experience in the specialty potato field. The individual members have been consistently instrumental in introducing, marketing and fueling the growth of the fingerling market throughout the United States. The alliance will combine the strengths of all the involved companies, positioning SPA as the leader in the fingerling and specialty potato market."