On July 3, 2013, RPE announced a new partnership with Frenchman Valley Produce in Imperial, Neb. RPE will serve as the exclusive marketer for Frenchman Valley’s fresh potato sales.
Frenchman Valley is a seasonal grower and shipper of fresh market and process grade russet potatoes with farms in Kansas and Imperial, Neb. New crop potatoes are harvested as early as mid-July each year, and Frenchman Valley Produce’s Imperial-based potato packaging facility runs from mid-July through the end of December. Frenchman Valley Produce ships a total of 2.5 million 50-pound cases of fresh market potatoes annually.
“As a family-owned company, we are honored to partner with the May family and Frenchman Valley, and are truly humbled that Tim has chosen to partner with RPE,” says Russell Wysocki, president and CEO of RPE. “They are great people with great product. We are looking forward to using our category leadership to share more options with both our customers and Frenchman Valley.”
RPE’s Blackfoot, Idaho, office will serve as the main sales hub for Frenchman Valley’s potatoes. Director of foodservice sales Clay Gustaveson will handle the transition on RPE’s end, and RPE account managers Tron Crumley and Sue Rodriquez will serve as the primary sales members for May’s product. Both Crumley and Rodriquez have years of experience marketing fresh russet potatoes from Nebraska.
“We’ve had a longstanding good working relationship with RPE,” says May. “They’re all honest people. It made sense that this partnership with RPE is the direction we went in, since we’ve worked so closely for years.”
Tim May, owner and president of Frenchman Valley, will handle the transition of his customers to RPE, which will help the seasonal shipper reach a larger sales base. May and two of his sons, Taylor and Mathew, will continue running the family-owned operation, and their family farming tradition will continue for many years to come.