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Attention to detail a hallmark at Green Tree

By paying close attention to the needs of its customer base, Green Tree International Inc. continually validates its reputation as an innovative broker and supplier of quality potatoes from the Pacific Northwest.

“We deliver to individual specs required by our customers,” Co-owner Cary Crum told The Produce News Aug. 1.

The company is headquartered in Visalia, CA, and has an office in Wenatchee, WA. “We source potatoes from the eastern side [of Washington] and do a big job in western Washington,” Mr. Crum said. Varieties sourced from these regions are reds, whites, Yukon Golds, fingerlings and russets.

As is true for the state’s potato growers, fickle weather earlier in the production season will affect the coming potato crop. “We’re hearing that things are going to be late,” Mr. Crum said concerning the upcoming harvest. “We’re expecting delays of about two weeks.” Sizing will not be determined until digging begins. Overall, he does expect a quality crop in 2011.

Potatoes are packed under the “Green Tree” label and sold throughout the contiguous 48 states. “On the broker side, we are heavily involved with custom supplies,” he said. Although larger-sized product is available, Mr. Crum said that business is heavy to smaller-sized potatoes. This sizing profile is particularly ideal for the foodservice sector, which also requires that the highest food safety standards be met.

“We have had particular success with customized fingerling packs,” he noted.

Green Tree International approaches marketing with a creative mindset. “We’re always looking for unusual varieties to meet customer needs,” Mr. Crum said, adding that procurement of an item that may be considered rare or “weird” by some is an everyday occurrence at Green Tree.

He illustrated the nature of Green Tree’s out-of-the-box approach by talking about baby yams. During the yam harvest, Mr. Crum said that smaller-sized product typically falls through harvesting belts. As a result, that product typically is not utilized.

Following a customer request, collection processes were refined, and Green Tree was able to supply baby yams to its customer. “We were the only one to get that accomplished,” he stated of the two-year process that gave birth to a marketing niche. “Now we go to the shippers to add value for the growers.”