When you're at the grocery store and you see the iconic Green Giant™ Fresh label on potatoes, you might not realize that it's more than a "jolly green giant" that's at the wheel. In fact, it takes a lot of people coming together on a vision of providing the most delicious, healthy and safe potatoes that money can buy – and that a farmer can grow.
These potatoes are grown by those that work for (and with) the company called Potandon. It came about based on a vision of three men, Mel Davenport, Kent Romrell, and Steve Ottum. Today Potandon Produce is the sole provider of potato and onion products for Green Giant Fresh. It also grows products for "Klondike Brands," "Sunfresh," "Potandon Produce" and "The Valley" labels.
A SHARED VISION FROM IDAHO
The company began 25 years ago with just a few employees selling "Green Giant" brand potatoes out of a small sales office in Shelley, Idaho, which was then a part of the Pillsbury Co. In 1989, Grand Metropolitan acquired Pillsbury, and by 1994 changed the new business development strategy from building businesses to acquiring them.
Jeff Sholl, then vice president and general manger of the Green Giant Fresh division, negotiated a deal with Pillsbury for the rights to the brand for future development in the world of fresh produce. In January 1995, the Sholl Group was founded. By March 1, 1995, Sholl, three of the original employees and six of the business's grower partners formed Potandon Produce LLC.
The newly formed company started operations in Idaho Falls, ID, with Mel Davenport, who headed up operations and grower relations, Kent Romrell (now retired) who headed up sales and business development, and Steve Ottum who managed the finances, accounting and marketing. The first task was naming the new venture.
Potandon, sometimes a tongue twister, clearly states exactly what the company is all about — POTatoes AND ONions — nothing more, nothing less.
This company became a trend-setter and leader in innovation, because a potato from Potandon is not just any potato. The game changed.
DELICIOUS, HEALTHY VARIETIES
One notable highlight occurred in 2002, when Klondike Rose potatoes were introduced to the market. These unique potatoes were a pivotal point for Potandon as they were the first fresh potato variety grown in several decades to capture mainstream consumer attention. The innovation did not step there. Today there are other new varieties that have captured consumer attention - Klondike Petite Gourmets, Klondike Rose, CarbSmart™, One Step ... DONE!, Green Giant Fresh, and more, all developed from the team at Potandon.
ALL ABOUT THE SEEDS:
In order to continue to meet changing consumer needs through innovation, Potandon saw the need to manage its own seed development program, and we all know that 'seeds' are king. In 2009, Potandon entered into a joint venture to form Sunrain Varieties LLC. The team at Sunrain focuses on producing high-quality, disease-free potato seed for growers across the country.
With so much focus on the potato portion of the business, many people forget that Potandon is also a national onion supplier with 52 week sourcing. This segment of the business also became a big focus, especially in the Vidalia and Sweet onion segments.
Potandon has also been an industry leader in food safety, too, doing third-party audits and having an extensive quality-control team in place before it became an industry standard. “This area of the company is critical to preserving the brand consistency that our customers expect,” Ottum said in the release. With shipping and packing locations in all major growing regions and a solid partnership with EarthFresh Farms in Toronto, Potandon is able to offer a diverse and high-quality category solution for customers in retail, foodservice and wholesale across the United States and Canada.
“We expect to add several new products in the next few years that will fundamentally change the market," Davenport said. "We see our next generation of potato items to be even healthier, have new and unique flavors and tastes, and bring about eating experiences that will excite and delight consumers long into the future.”
Innovation has always been paramount at Potandon, and a new state of the art mini plant has been developed to offer more consistent quality while offering more delicious products that are healthy, convenient, and innovative. With a goal to satisfy and delight consumers, Potandon has unveiled new varieties with more convenient and easy ways to use these products.
Research and development is paramount, and this new processing plant is geared to deliver more of these products to market. These variety of new products are exactly what consumers have been looking for – more healthy options of delicious foods that are easier to use, prepare and more time-efficient. Because of their cutting-edge and patented technology, products such as One Step .. DONE!, also a low-sodium, shelf-stable product that comes in a variety of flavors, has been a fan favorite and taken the industry by storm.
We appreciate the potatoes that we have now from our friends at Potandon, and we delight in all of the unique varieties and flavors that they've brought to us. We celebrate their 25th year delivering such amazing varieties and quality to us all, and we also trust in the fact that we'll have even more crowd-pleasing potatoes over the next 25 years, too.
I like the taste of the potatoes when they mix them with garlic and onions in the inside of a cast iron skillet brings out the taste in all the three vegetables
These look so good! Don’t know where to find them
I’m in Alabama and I’ve been trying to find your potatoes. WHERE do I get them?
Hi MaryAnn! You can reach out to our friends at Green Giant Fresh about this here: https://www.klondikebrands.com/contact
I LOVE, LOVE this fascinating history of the Potato, AND Onion…almost as much as eating this UNIQUE creation!!!!
I LOVE, LOVE LOVE reading the fascinating, history!!! (Almost as much as EATING the Potato–and Onion creation!!!
G’day, Your Products are Great! 🙂
I feel better knowing that Potandon has also been an industry leader in food safety 👍👍
I’m all about food safety! You have to trust the food brand. I trust the Green Giant brand!
NEW IDEAS FROM A GREAT COMPANY.
We’ve been harvesting potatoes for local potato farms for over 10 years. Planting might be delayed this year due to recent blizzard but fall harvest is fun.
Will try some of those mashers
WOO HOO!!!WOULD LOVE TO WIN THIS AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!!
I truly loved reading about how the company formed and the folks involved. It really makes me feel more confident when I pick up a package of your product knowing that so much attention goes into producing a tasty and safe nutritious food.
We eat a lot of potato in our house (the boys love them) and incorporate onion in many of our recipes, so, again, this info really hit home.
Thank you for the kind words, Jeannie! We are so glad you’re here with us and happy to hear you love these potatoes as much as we do! 🙂
looks soo good
I always use Green Giant potatoes.
Thank you for all that you do to provide every one with potatoes to eat. Sometimes we really don’t realize what we have available to use, and the hard work that this takes.
WOW ! 25TH HAPPY BIRTHDAY
green giant has always been good but now it is great and so convenient to make these recipes going to keep them all ..
HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY NEXT AUGUST 19 I WILL CELABRATE NATIONAL POTATOE DAY ENTER ME IN YOUR SWEEPSTAKES I LOVE POTATOE
Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary!! Love to hear the story about the business evolving and changing and getting into the seed business too. These are a staple in my home for almost every meal.
“GREAT” AMERICAN GROWN AND PACKAGED
I’m looking for the perfect potato.
OMG! Your Products are Awesome! 🙂
Green Giant always spells quality. Now I know why!
all February long for your chance to WIN $500
QUICK AND YUMMY
Love that it’s high quality and congrats on 25 years on bringing deliciousness to our family!
Excellent research! It will only get better!
I’ll have to see where I can buy these.
Great tasty potatoes
WOW WHAT A POTATO
Tis great Klondike potatoes!
Looks easy to make
My Walmart was o/o/s Green Giant niblets…I am crying…
Wish I could grow them like that 😊 Thank you for the opportunity to purchase them !!
I love Green Giant Products!!! There isn’t one that I have tried that I didn’t enjoy.
Awesome lil taters….yum
Tried them, totally LOVE THEM!!!
Very impressive! I enjoyed learning more history
OH so yummy!! Love my Green Giant vegetables and potatoes, its what we like on our tables now and during the holiday season.
Sometimes it is really good to have help “cooking” from scratch. Thanks.
I am going to look for these Mashers when I shop next trip, these look so delicious and I think they would be perfect for my husband and I it is just the two of us! These would save us a ton of work
Can’t find in local stores ? .
Keep an eye out for them, Paul. Shipping to stores now! 🙂
great potatoes cannot wait to try some recipes
I could EAT potatoes every day
Fast hot and delicious product.
I find the history Fascinating. It is wonderful what a little inspiration, encouragement and proactive planning can accomplish. A special Thank You to everyone, from Farm Star Living, Potandon to all of the farmers out there keeping this Great Country fed every day in these trying times. Your daily sacrifices are undeniably admirable as much as they are needed. God Bless you, your families, your stock, your crops and your pets too.
then in the I love my baked potatoes in the microwave and then to the oven to make the outside nice and tasty.
I’m looking forward and anxious to try these potatoes…..Potatoes are my #1 staple.
I can hardly wait to try the new Potato products.
Looks delicious and healthy
These potatoes come in varieties I like, it makes me want a microwave. Hopefully, it comes with an alternate way of cooking them out of the bag without loosing all the flavors
Sound delicious trying to find them.
Two of my favorite foods on the face of the earth, and what a beautiful place to grow the in!
My family loves them.
OMG, I want these potatoes ALL of them!!!!
We love Klondike Potatoes,fix them often!
Vision & courage & confidence brought these terrific foods to us consumers. Thank you!
Tis is great!