Potato Grower

March 2018

Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/945399

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 47

WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 19 shed through which all its potatoes and onions are marketed. "We're kind of known as the red potato shed in Wisconsin," says Gumz. "We grow the crop, store the crop and package the crop for shipment. That allows us to control the quality and the food safety aspect of it." Another of Gumz Farms' primary advantages from a marketing standpoint is its access to major markets in the eastern U.S. "Our main competition on reds is the Red River Valley. Our competition on onions is the Northwest," says Gumz. "We're closer to the East Coast markets. Consequently, we've tried to maintain and promote an image that our farm has high integrity, good farming practices and good food safety, all closer to the markets. "Why are we able to do what we do well?" he continues. "We try to treat everybody fairly. Our focus is not just on making the one- time sale, but on building a relationship and partnership with our customers." The business, of course, isn't without its challenges, chief among them the very thing that has driven so much of its success: the muck. While growers in many parts of the country fret over finding enough water to raise their potatoes, Gumz Farms has had to find ways to get water out once it's there. The muck soil may produce a vigorous, attractive crop, but its prodigious water-holding capacity can create an ideal environment for disease if too much heavy rain comes in too short a time. Over the years, the people at Gumz Farms have made an effort to continually improve their land to protect against those heavy rains, including installing tile in many of their fields. "We're always doing things to mitigate some of the risks," says Gumz. "That has positioned our farm to be here well into the future." Of course, most of the challenges faced by Gumz Farms are the same as those faced by growers the world over. Changing cultures in the workforce, the customer base and the political world present new hurdles to clear almost weekly. "Our willingness to adapt to the changing environment around us is a big reason we've been able to thrive," Gumz says. "Every farm that's still around is doing the same thing. Sometimes it's a gamble knowing what direction to change in. But there isn't anyone out WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 19 Roderick and Richard Gumz (kneeling) have developed Gumz Farms into one of Wisconsin's premier shippers of onions and red potatoes with the help of employees such as onion salesman Doug Bulgrin (standing, left) and potato salesman Tom Bulgrin (standing, right).

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Potato Grower - March 2018