Adam Lytch and Derek Ennis Discuss L&M Companies' Potato Season Transition
FLORIDA - Many friendships in my life have begun over a shared love for potatoes; I mean, what’s not to love about something that can be cooked, boiled, baked, fried, mashed, and seasoned a million different delicious ways? This season, L&M is making sure all of us potato enthusiasts get our summer potato fix as the company transitions to North Florida.
I caught up with L&M’s Operations Manager Adam Lytch and Sales Manager Derek Ennis to get the inside scoop on how potatoes are faring this season.
“We are currently shipping potatoes from South Florida and began the transition to our Palatka, Florida farm in late April,” Derek Ennis told me. “Since we began shipping in early February, quality has been excellent. Our early digs at our farm in North Florida look very nice, and we expect good quality and yields there as well.”
Along with quality, Derek explained volumes this year will be very similar to last year, specifically on red and yellow potatoes. And while white potatoes are coming in at a lower volume than usual, L&M is making up for it by adding a few specialty items into the mix, like purple and fingerling potatoes.
Not to mention, Mother Nature has been cool, calm, and collected, with only some less than ideal bouts of rain while planting in January, which has resulted in a good growing season for the most part and only resulted in a slight decrease in yields.
“At the moment, demand exceeds supply on yellow and white potatoes, while the red market has been weaker than normal for this time of year due to strong yields in Florida overlapping with storage crops,” Adam told me. “At the same time, the current red potato market has provided retailers the opportunity to carry new crop Florida potatoes and make the switch to these nice fresh potatoes at competitive prices. We also have a strong freight advantage into the Southeast which has been a real help during the current trucking market.”
Adam also shared that the company is seeing a spike in demand and pricing for yellow and white potatoes, with reds expected to stay steady for a few weeks, as L&M transitions to its North Florida farm.
“While there is lots of demand for Yellow A size potatoes, we will still have a lot of Yellow B size potatoes for promotional opportunities,” Adam explained. “We can set up aggressive programs on the Yellow B size potatoes and pack them in a wide variety of pack styles, including a medley with Red B potatoes. We can drive a really good value with the Yellow B size potatoes at retail in 3 pound poly bags.”
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