Behind-the-scenes of Green Giant™ Fresh - Meet Idaho based Potandon!

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.


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.


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.


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.


228 responses to “Behind-the-scenes of Green Giant™ Fresh – Meet Idaho based Potandon!”

  1. I enjoy almost daily. Prefer over other side dishes. I can actually make a meal for myself of just a potato.
    Thank you for all your years of dedication and delicious product.

  2. I think it’s pretty cool how there’s so many companies that come together and make things better.

  3. Potatoes & onions. Two key staples in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing the history behind these companies. Very interesting.

  4. I know that it takes more than just two giant green hands to work the farms. It takes so many behind the scenes to do what it takes, that we forget to thank ALL the people that it takes to produce such amazing produce to feed millions of people.

  5. Love the ability to have mashed potatoes without the mess of peeling, cooking and actually having to mash them

  6. What ever you’re doing it works. I always go shopping after seeing these stories. They ALL look so good and make me hungry. KUDOS!!

  7. I don’t have many of the varieties available at the two stores where I typically shop for groceries; but the idea of having everything washed, sorted, and ready to cook (with no cleanup afterwards!) is a wonderful concept.

  8. It took a lot of courage and vision to keep this company running smooth and growing healthy potatoes and onions.

  9. It’s great to learn about the company but why aren’t these products available at all supermarkets, especially the larger ones?

  10. I love when I see your label – I know exactly the quality I am getting. You’re doing excellent work!

  11. It’s nice to see that the people really take pride in their products and it definitely shows. I know when I purchase this products that I’m getting quality.

  12. Don’t you dare tell me that there is no green giant behind to tractor wheel! Man, I just had dinner and reading all those recipes has made me hungry again. They look AMAZING!

  13. I love that they take the innovation and safety seriously! Sometimes innovation blinds people but not here! Love that I can feel safe eating these products!

  14. I didn’t know that Potandon Produce is the sole provider of potato and onion products for Green Giant Fresh.

  15. I remember driving through Idaho and seeing potato fields for as far as the eye can see. Isn’t nice to know that we are able to feed ourselves and others in the world. Keep us the good work. God bless our farmers.

  16. I love this company. And I love potatoes and onions. Glad to know the history of this young company.

  17. 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

  18. I LOVE, LOVE this fascinating history of the Potato, AND Onion…almost as much as eating this UNIQUE creation!!!!

  19. I LOVE, LOVE LOVE reading the fascinating, history!!! (Almost as much as EATING the Potato–and Onion creation!!!

  20. 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.

  21. 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! 🙂

  22. 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.

  23. green giant has always been good but now it is great and so convenient to make these recipes going to keep them all ..


  25. 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.

  26. OH so yummy!! Love my Green Giant vegetables and potatoes, its what we like on our tables now and during the holiday season.

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. then in the I love my baked potatoes in the microwave and then to the oven to make the outside nice and tasty.

  30. 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

  31. Two of my favorite foods on the face of the earth, and what a beautiful place to grow the in!

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