view current print edition







Epic potato exporter big on Colorado spuds

Epic Produce Sales LLC will be involved in the Colorado potato deal, shipping from San Luis Valley storage and packing facilities until mid-August, according to Art Miller, president of the firm.

Miller said about 95 percent of these spuds will be shipped into Mexico, consistent with Epic’s wide business plan. He noted that by using his Epic Potato brand he is increasing domestic sales.

In late August and early September, Epic will fill its potato needs from Kansas with a freshly harvested crop. The bulk Kansas potatoes will be packed in Colorado facilities.

Epic will move back to Colorado as fresh-crop potatoes are properly cured and ready for shipping in mid-September. “Everything looks good for the new Colorado crop, but we need a little rain,” Miller said.

The desert region of south-central Colorado receives less than seven inches of rainfall a year. The aquifer below the valley was not replenished in the last year because of a low amount of wintertime snow and an otherwise dry 2018. So far this year, the area’s rainfall has totaled 1.5 inches.

As a result, growers are “irrigating with aquifer water but in the back of their minds they’re worried about when they’re going to get rain,” Miller said.

He added that San Luis Valley potato growers have collectively increased production by 1,000 acres this year.

Epic, based in Phoenix, is expanding its export business to Mexico. While potato exporters have always been the cornerstone of the business, the firm now also exports U.S.-grown strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli and cauliflower, as the markets warrant. “We are looking to export more,” he added.

Miller is hopeful that President Trump and NAFTA partners can work together in a way that doesn’t adversely affect the produce industry. Miller said that Mexico was threatening to place tariffs on U.S. processed potato imports.

“Can’t we all get along?” he asked in a playful tone backed by a serious message.