Klamath Basin Fresh Organics will introduce 15 new packaging options for its organic potatoes this season. “We chose our new packaging with the consumer in mind,” Director of Marketing Hollis Baley told The Produce News. “We chose materials that would ensure maximum storage efficiency, picked convenient sizes to cater to a variety of household sizes, and included educational information. Our new paper packaging has some unique features. It protects potatoes from greening. Mesh on back allowing maximum breathability and allows consumers to see the product.” Packaging also provides varietal information, recipe suggestions and information about the growing region.
The cooperative includes seven family farms located in south-central Oregon and northern California growing organic potatoes. Moving premium organic potatoes into the pipeline since 2001, cooperative members are committed to agricultural sustainability.
Klamath Basin found a niche with its organic fingerlings and organic special potatoes. Baley said the cooperative grows six unique fingerlings: Purple Fiesta, AmaRosa, Klamath Pearl, French Fingerling, Russian Banana and Ruby Crescent; and three staple potato varieties: reds, russets and Yukon Gold.
“The growing season started well with good weather through planting season, and the weather has cooperated up to this point,” Baley said in late July. “Farming is so dependent on the weather we can always be grateful for this. The basin got good moisture in the spring to bring the lake levels up. So [conditions] have been good on irrigation water this year as well.”
Shipment of organic reds and russets will begin in mid-August and continue through May. “We will start shipping late September for all other varieties,” Baley stated. She expects overall volume will be up 25 percent when compared to the 2012 season.
Organic potatoes are marketed under the “Klamath Basin Fresh Organics” label. Packing options will include eight 1.5-pound paper bags. Six of these will be for individual fingerling varieties, and two will be mixed medley packs. Four three-pound bags for reds, russets, Yukon Gold and Purple Fiesta will also be available. Three five-pound poly-mesh bags will be available for reds, russets and Yukon Gold.“We will also have a mesh bag option with a label attached for fingerling varieties and mixed medley products,” Baley added.
“The shed has installed a new packaging machine for the new paper bags,” she continued. “It is a brand new machine and will help with speed and efficiency. We will be compliant with the Product Traceability Initiative once shipping starts. We will be labeling every carton and package that gets shipped from the shed.”
The lion’s share of potato volume is marketed on the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. A small volume is also exported to Taiwan.