I recently traveled to California for the grand opening of the new Tasteful Selections facility in Arvin, Calif. You know Tasteful Selections – the little potatoes that come in different sizes and colors, taste great and are easy to prepare?
This new 200,000-square-foot facility is completely dedicated to baby potatoes grown in Washington, Arizona, Nevada and California. The potatoes are sorted by size and color – 41 different combinations that include seven sizes, four colors (red, yellow, purple and white) and a variety of fingerlings. These fragile baby potatoes are handled gently and treated with care as they are sorted, cooled, washed and stored. The state-of-the-art facility was carefully designed to allow for expansion, which appears to be inevitable.
At a time when U.S. potato consumption has been decreasing – annual consumption of potatoes fell by nearly 25 percent since peaking in 1996 – yet the baby potato market grew from 3 percent of the market in 2010 to 10 percent today. Consumers love the unique flavor and the quick, convenient cooking methods, according to Nathan Bender, plant manager for Tasteful Selections.
I could go on and on with facts and figures – the energy efficiency of the plant, the intense level of quality control, the number of retail stores offering Tasteful Selections – but what makes this plant particularly special to the Valley® family was our integral partnership on all levels of the project.
Cascade Earth Sciences, a Valmont® company, served as an umbrella coordinator for the project, including coordination of water and environmental permitting for the plant.
Valley Water Management designed the water supply plan that redistributes used water into the washing process or onto in nearby farmland, and installed the pumps, Variable Frequency Drives and related equipment in multiple fields. The team also provided soil science and field mapping for the potato fields.
Rick Grimes at Southwest Irrigation, of Casa Grande, Ariz., designed the new irrigation delivery method for 1,500 acres of land that will eventually include seven Valley Linears. The land and linears will be used by Tasteful Selections for potato products and another company for crop rotation.
Valley is proud of playing an integral role in bringing Tasteful Selections potatoes from the field to your fork. Enjoy!