The foodservice market is an expanding target for Alsum Farms & Produce Inc., which is based in Friesland, WI. Rick Kantner, Alsum’s director of sales and marketing, told The Produce News July 8 that the firm in September will be “introducing some new products in the area of bakers, which we think the foodservice industry will like.”
Alsum Farms is a grower, repacker and supplier of potatoes and onions, and for the last 20 years, it also has been a full-line produce distributor. “At this time of the year, we focus on locally grown produce. In the summer, most of our direct buying is in the Midwest.” With this, Alsum provides its supplier-farmers with Good Agricultural Practices “training to meet foodservice industry requirements.”
Within its potato line, “We plant virtually all varieties of potatoes on our farm, and throughout the year supply our potatoes in both foodservice and retail packaging. We are primarily a russet grower, and that includes several varieties including Burbanks.” Burbanks are “something we just started a little over a year ago. A lot of foodservice operators like Burbanks for fries, wedges and things like that.”
Alsum Farms will be among the firms representing its state industry at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference & Exposition July 29-31 from the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association booth. Mr. Kantner said that the association has been involved in the PMA Foodservice show for a number of years and also participates every year in the Wisconsin Restaurant Expo. In the PMA booth, Alsum will be showing potatoes in both retail and foodservice packaging.
Custom packing is among Alsum’s services “and a capability that customers really need,” Mr. Kantner said.
“Foodservice is a small piece of our business that we would like to grow,” he added. “We do some foodservice accounts locally within Wisconsin but would like to expand our footprint to other areas within the Midwest.” He said that Alsum has its own transportation company that involves 29 tractors and approximately 60 reefers. With these assets, “we are able to deliver throughout most of continental United States.”