Year-round fingerling program works well for Mountain Valley
by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | January 11, 2011
CENTER, CO — Well into its first full season of year-round fingerlings,
Mountain Valley Produce, based here, is moving the specialty spud at a good
rate, according to General Manager Ernie Myers.
The operation, which has grown and shipped Colorado fingerlings for several
seasons, went year round in 2010, shipping product from California and
Colorado to close the gap.
"I am keeping an eye on the potatoes we have in storage," Mr. Myers told The
Produce News in early January. “It's all looking really good. We have no quality
issues, and the further we get into the storage season, the more comfortable I
Mountain Valley’s 12-month program kicked off with California fingerlings
being run out of the Colorado shed in mid-July, and the Colorado fingerlings
started shipping in October.
In addition to the Purple Peruvian, Yellow Russian Banana, Rose Finn, La Ratte
and Austrian Crescent fingerlings, Mountain Valley also grows russets and
yellows. Mr. Myers said that Farm Fresh Direct in Monte Vista is selling the
full-size russets and yellows.
“I am really excited about having Dave Yeager in action at Farm Fresh,” Mr.
Myers said, referring to the addition of Mr. Yeager as vice president of
business development in late 2010.
The fingerlings are packed in two- and five-pound poly and poly mesh
consumer bags, and foodservice orders ship in 20- and 50-pound sacks.
Mountain Valley markets under the “Willie Myers” label and also packs in
Retail makes up the majority of fingerling sales, although Mr. Myers said that
foodservice is increasing. Most loads are shipped to receivers outside
Using an in-house traceback system, Mountain Valley is Primus-certified and
“Our program is set,” Mr. Myers stated.
Looking ahead to the 2011 new crop, Mr. Myers said that he expects potato
acres “will stay in check with commodity prices where they are around the
He went on to say that growers will see higher input prices with fertilizer and
fuel, and because wheat prices are high, many potato growers will rotate with