MONTE VISTA— It started 20 years ago today, Aug. 16, 1999, when Farm Fresh Direct was formed by a group of “like-minded potato growers in the San Luis Valley. [They] decided to combine their efforts and expertise to create a new company that was focused solely on the grower,” according to current President/CEO Jamey Higham.
In 1999 28 growers in the Valley started Farm Fresh. The growers work together, but still have a friendly competition between the growers, he commented.
Now the company has growers in Kansas, Nebraska and Nevada and handle 30 to 40 percent of the fresh potatoes coming out of the San Luis Valley. There is also about 10 percent of the potatoes handled by Farm Fresh that are grown organically.
The growers are responsible for the growing, packing and shipping the sacks of potatoes to Farm Fresh. After that, Farm Fresh is responsible for marketing, selling and doing the financial accounting.
Although Farm Fresh and the industry are always looking for a better variety of potato, Higham said they mostly have the reds, yellows and russet potatoes in Colorado.
What Higham wanted to stress was, “Everything we do is grower-based,” he said. “We have great growers in the Valley, and they are happy with the job we do for them.” Then added that Farm Fresh and Valley growers have great “synergy.”