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Tasteful Selection opens Green Potato Facility in California

Tasteful Selection opens Green Potato Facility in California
May 17, 2015
Bob Bender, a partner with CSS Farms, in Watertown, South Dakota, came out to Kern County, California several years ago to grow many different crops including chip potatoes, garlic, onions and bell peppers, as well as black-eyed peas. “We were looking for an opportunity in California to diversify our company so that we were not so dependent on the chip potato income.”

Bender said he was always looking for crops in which he could diversify, and in 2007, he had the opportunity to grow some baby, bite-sized potatoes for a Canadian company. “This worked out well for a few years, and then we decided in 2009 to pack the baby potatoes under our own CSS Farms label,” Bender said.

“That business started taking off a lot bigger than we expected, and in 2010, we saw that the business was growing to be too much for us to handle. We needed some marketing help because we did not know much about it,” said Bender. “Plus, we were packing everything in 50-pound cartons, and we knew there would have to be more margin to the product if we sold directly to retail.

“That’s when we teamed up with the Wysocki family, owners of the Bancroft, Wisconsin-based RPE Company and experts in packing and marketing,” said Bender. “The marketing took off, and they built our first packing shed in a leased facility in Bakersfield. They sold product in smaller mesh bags for the consumer retail market under the Tasteful Selection brand,” noted Bender, who is now president and general manager of Tasteful Selections.”

Fast forward to March. 18, 2015 when CSS, along with RPE and Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based Plover River Farms Alliance, Inc. partnered together and opened a new, stainless steel, 200,000 square foot facility in Arvin, near Bakersfield—all dedicated to Tasteful Selections specialty potatoes.

The expansion increases Tasteful Selections’ production capacity from eight to 12 packaging lines, doubles the potato washing capacity and adds more shipping docks and improved refrigeration and storage to meet the company’s double digit growth (over the past five years), leading the specialty potato category.
Companies in this Article
CSS Farms is a diversified producer of vegetable crops as well as row crops and small grains with operations across the United States.
RPE is a vertically-integrated category expert in potato and onion growth