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In mid-January, Peatland Reds Inc., located in Trail, MN, will be "cranking up" its red potato packing operation again. The company took a break from packing in December to install a new “Odenberg” automated grader. It was a good time to take a break, too, noted Dennis Magnell, the firm's manager and a partner, because prices were expected to rise and it was difficult to find truck transportation in December.

Mr. Magnell told The Produce News Dec. 23 that the red potato market “was really good at first. We poured the coals to it.” Of the 165,000 hunderweight of red potatoes put in storage by the company in the fall, about 100,000 hunderweight were “washed out” early in the season. The price went “down a little,” so the firm took its washing and packing break.

He expects to finish packing and shipping in six or seven weeks after resuming operations.

“It has been a really good deal,” Mr. Magnell said. “It has been an OK year. It was not a bumper crop, but there was good quality on most” of the company’s spuds. “We had issues in a couple of bins, but we’ll pick through that — run them over the auto grader and then regrade with some humans.”