Interview with Dennis West
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
The warm days and cool nights north of the 45th parallel in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, aid in the growing and storing of Russet Burbank potatoes, according to Dennis West of Nuto Farm Supply.
“As for potatoes, we only grow Russet Burbanks, and they’re all late season,” West, a third-generation grower, shipper, and packer, says. “We don’t start harvesting until the middle of September, and just got done with harvest on October 12th.”
Known for the Kitchen Kleen brand of russet potatoes, Dennis is the co-owner of Nuto Farm Supply, running the operation with his brother, Brian, father, Donn “Hokey” West, who is 92 years young, and Dennis’ sons, Taylor, and Adam.
Hokey, who got his nickname from playing hooky from school to spend time on the farm, can still be found at the office on any given workday. There is photographic proof of his hooky-playing days, with pictures of Hokey sitting on boxes of potatoes on a trailer when he was as young as 4 years old.
Dennis is proud of his family’s history and accomplishments, particularly a new packaging and grading shed with all-new equipment, and he agreed to answer questions for readers.