NY Farm Honored for Chips Business
The Marquart Farms in Gainesville, New York, recently received recognition from the New York State Agricultural Society, which honored the farm with the 2021 Business of the Year Award. The farm received the prize for its New York Chips product line. “It’s always nice to be recognized for the work we put in,” said Chad Heeb, vice president of operation and sales for New York Chips and New York Spuds. “We’re a small farm in a world where it seems Ag is a second thought. There are still people out there who care where their food is grown and how it’s grown.”
Five New York farms provide the potatoes for New York Chips and sister company New York Spuds. “All of them play an integral part with the growing season to stagger our storage and elongating the period we can supply,” Heeb said.
To restaurant supply companies, New York Spuds sells bagged potatoes sorted as white A, or table-stock potatoes; white B, which are salt potatoes; and chef’s potatoes, which are bigger than white A and used for French fries. Heeb said that the farm “fell into New York Spuds. Originally, all our potatoes were grown for chips. We found there was a need for potatoes of different sizes.” The Marquarts farm 7,000 acres in Wyoming, Allegany and Erie counties. Half the land is owned and half is leased.
Chip sales have increased 36% during the pandemic. Heeb said that growth was largely due to panic buying, and rising purchases from breweries, cideries and wineries once those businesses were mandated to sell food to stay open. Sales to schools decreased because of the switch to remote learning.
Heeb wants to continue to increase the number of Walmart stores carrying New York Chips and reach more independent stores. As for the potato business, he hopes to get into the grocery side of potato sales instead of just selling to institutional buyers.