Badger Common’Tater December 2019 Issue
“Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Potatoes” Still Trending
Demand for locally grown and sourced produce is on the rise, and growers accommodate
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
It’s not surprising that Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers are ready and willing to accommodate customers demanding fresh, locally grown produce.
The “buy local” movement has staying power, and retailers, chefs and farmers are taking note.
“We work with sales organizations and grocery stores who are looking to push the ‘buy local’ idea,” says Rod Gumz of Gumz Muck Farms in Endeavor, Wisconsin. “We also try to make sure to use product packaging that supports this.”
Gumz says his farm is located centrally in the state and nation, which allows the potato and vegetable grower a large area to be considered local.
Christine Lindner, marketing manager for Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland, says, “We define local as anything grown in Wisconsin that can be marketed within Wisconsin and Midwestern neighboring states as local produce.”
“Wisconsin potatoes are marketed heavily in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River,” she adds. “Our location offers a logistical advantage, allowing for quick delivery and response time to orders. This results in fresher product for consumers.”
Like Gumz, she sees value in farmer-focused packaging that connects the consumer to the grower, such as a smiling picture of company president, Larry Alsum, emblazoned on potato bags.
“Additionally, starting in 2016, we added the words ‘Wisconsin Grown’ on the front of our russet, red and gold potato packaging, along with the ‘Something Special from Wisconsin’ logo,” Lindner states.
“Today’s consumers want to know where their produce is grown and support our local farmers more than ever before,” says Don Theisen, store director for Trig’s in Rhinelander.