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On May 20th, the Food and Drug

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 11:22
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On May 20th, the Food and Drug Administration FDA today finalized a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The look and feel of the new label id similar to the existing one, but with a few modifications that will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.  Several areas, namely calories, will be printed with a larger and bold print.  Food manufacturers will now be required to declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Potassium. Finally, the nutritional statement printed on the bottom portion of the label will be changed to increase clarity and consumer understanding.

The current label has been in place for over 20 years and there have been numerous changes across multiple metrics involving food and dietary needs, therefore the change is being implemented.  The compliance date for food producers to have all of their products labelled with the new template is July 26th, 2018.  There is a special provision which gives additional time to smaller producers.

One of the major changes in addition to including the vitamins and minerals already mentioned is a line that calls out added sugars.  This is a central point of the panel and is directly connected to the research of expert groups across the entire health care spectrum recommending the reduction of added sugars for improved health.  A key findings used to support this change is the fact that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs, while staying within calorie requirements, if more than 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake is from added sugar. Currently Americans get 13% of their calories from added sugars, with most coming from soda pop and other sugary drinks and snack foods.  Sugar is part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation and many people may be trying to reduce their sugar intake; this labeling is designed to help them more readily see the sugar amount of their choices.

A second area being modified is how fat is listed.  Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat will still be required on the label, yet Calories from Fat will be removed.  Although the FDA issued a preliminary determination in 2013 which stated that partially hydrogenated oils (trans-fats) are “generally recognized as not safe,” and set up a three year time limit for their removal, amounts will still be shown on the new panel as some occur naturally.  The reason for the deletion of Calories from Fat was tied to research which shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.  Also, Recommended Daily Amounts for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated based on newer scientific evidence.   Vitamin A and Vitamin C declarations will no longer be mandatory.

The most significant change is the serving size declaration.  In the past, the label was shown as what people should be eating, now it’s by the amounts that people are actually eating.  An example of this would be to look at a 16oz bottle of refrigerated chocolate milk, clearly a single consumption package, but labelled as 2 servings.  This was seen as misleading and is being corrected.  Also what the average serving size of everything from soda pop to French fries have been evaluated and adjusted; this is key to helping people manage their weight better.  Food producers are being given the option of a dual column label which can be used on products like the chocolate milk example – one column would show a multiple consumption use and the other a full package consumption use.

People look at food labels more different reasons based on their particular dietary needs.  The FDA has always tried to require the things which most people deem as important combined with what things are important for good health.  Serving sizes, calories, vital nutrients, fats both healthy and unhealthy, and how these all fit into the overall diet are included.  As more research evolves, the panel will continue to evolve for the better.

Why Cause Marketing Matters

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 09:27

Cause marketing is a type of marketing that involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The term is also used to refer to any type of marketing effort for social and other charitable causes.  It raises awareness using a brand or company to the plight of a segment of the population with a call out for help in funding usually.

Cause marketing matters to consumers today more than ever; it’s become the new normal and as time goes by will grow in importance both to companies and their customers.  “Corporate social responsibility,” is a broad label that has been used for several years and can take on multiple meanings simultaneously and can impact your company negatively and without your knowledge if you are not participating.  There is nothing that makes people angrier than someone forcing their opinion on them, but if your business doesn’t support something, consumers might just switch to another brand that does.  It’s the modern question that companies need to answer and quickly, what cause to support and how?  Marketers know that the millennial and post-millennial generations are more likely to identify with companies that they believe to be socially responsible and are more than just profit generating machines.  They also know that consumers today have a knack at being able to see through a ploy that is only being used to generate sales growth of increase bottom line.  Each company must determine which issues are important in society and of those, which they are comfortable in being a de facto spokesperson for.

It’s been demonstrated from past disasters that many companies fall into the maze of traps in the path to developing and executing an effective program by choosing the wrong cause to champion, and effectively damaging their brands or reputation in the process.  Typically those companies shy away from future causes, or only participate in those which are ultra-safe from a reputation standpoint like supporting global charities such as the United Way.  There are four guiding principles for cause marketers to look at when choosing a partner; careful vetting will insure the highest potential rate of success.  Sincerity, authenticity, commitment, and transparency are the four principles that surface in valid causes.  A cause that is focused, real, and effective will resonate with actual consumers and translate into an effect program. Also remember that while giving or fundraising is one of the objectives, it cannot be seen as the only objective of the event.  By engaging in a cause marketing campaign, a company is also promoting itself and its brands as favorable in the eyes of the world.  The marketing strengths of leading companies are the real difference-makers in insuring some of the worthiest causes gain the funding they require.

A secondary but equally important consideration should be a cause that relates to their business and one that the employees can get behind and feel good about participating in the overall effort.  If the employees are unwilling to talk about the program with their friends and families, then it might be worth reconsidering. Remember that the program doesn’t need to be at national level either.  Many companies execute fantastic programs by supporting the pulse of their local communities.  Contributing more than just money or a platform to assist in raising money makes all the difference.  By providing dedicated social media and website space or other visible public showings, the corporate support will make the difference, especially with small organizations that might be underfunded to begin with and not have the access levels that could be utilized.  Take every advantage to use the cause target logo in conjunction with your brand or company logos, formalize the event with press releases and media coverage, or leverage any other approach that makes the partnership into a powerful message that will demonstrate a significant commitment.

Be aware of the execution errors that companies can easily get caught up into, especially if they are tied to social media.  Asking for retweets, likes, shares, re-posts, or any other interaction from your consumers to generate donations is an absolute fail.  As an example, “share this post and we’ll donate $1.00 to charity x.”  It tells the world that you are only interested in donating if it gains you more followers, subscribers, or users – it’s basically an on-line hold-up scheme.  Secondly, the message you are posting must be sanitized, non-offense to anyone, and classy.  Do not ask your consumers to buy something unhealthy or inappropriate to trigger a donation or company match.  Also do not be vague in your message.  “The company will donate a portion of today’s proceeds to charity X,” is unclear and leaves potential investors asking too many questions.

Most marketing professionals look at every event as a measurable spend with expected results.  It may be increased market share, increased brand awareness, new product engagement, or numerous other metrics.  Cause marketing events are not the same as traditional marketing events.  The marketing efforts you employ are being directed at the cause primarily, while you and your brands are in a support role.  You are putting the “Cause” first, the marketing second, and the notion of increased sales a distant third.  Set some goals to attain with the cause and if you achieve or exceed those goals, consider it to be a successful campaign and skip the paperwork and analysis.  The real benefits will follow, but they typically are not as easy to measure.

Yet, fellow marketing professionals, all is not lost.  Some of the tactics employed in cause marketing can lead to learning and potential uses in traditional marketing down the road.  Using highly respected brands to support social change or support can permanently change the brand in a positive way and can pay dividends long after the event has ended.  Also remember that other companies are watching what their competitors or potential future partners are doing.  Cause marketing has led to numerous post-event partnerships on new projects that increased sales and opened new channels; like-minded companies work well together.  A socially relevant message has the potential to open new communication channels for your products by creating an identity within the emerging consumers of the post-millennial generation.  Despite not targeting some of those segments specifically, a social conscience resonates across the youth of today.  Remember, that positive efforts applied earnestly and with adequate resources, will go a long way in helping, someone or something.  Whether that something is replanting trees in our National Forests lost due to wildfires, or helping someone with Autism realize their potential, or assist in funding lifesaving cancer surgeries, Cause Marketing matters.

Painting the Target

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 10:04

If you asked anyone who has recently served in the U.S. Military what the phrase “painting the target” meant, you’d get a similar answer from most.  Generally, a laser is used to put a heat signature on a target which later guides a projectile weapon to strike the target in that spot.  Simply put, if the target is “painted,” it is getting hit, no ands, ifs, or buts.  This near perfect accuracy is one of things which make our military almost legendary across the world. They take an integrated system of high tech equipment, fine tune the pieces to work in perfect harmony, set an achievable goal, and put the whole thing in motion.  They get results which are measurable and indisputable.

Despite the oversimplified brief description I’ve given, the process is extremely complex and has many potential points where it could collapse.  There are many highly trained people who practice over and over and over again to perfect every part of the system until it operates at precision levels, every time.  This level of teamwork doesn’t come easy, it takes time and effort.  Stepping back to look at how this comes together behind the scenes, certain things rise to the top as key components in the winning strategy.  Most importantly that success depends on the people who participate.  Machines, amazing and advanced as they might be still can’t do the job alone, it takes people; a well trained staff that understands not only what they are doing, but why they are doing it, and what results are expected.  It holds true in the Military, it holds true in a company, and it holds true in a department.

A produce department at a supermarket can be made up of men, women, both young and old, some with no experience, while others were around when everything was packaged at the store and half the items we see today didn’t exist.  The department lead can be called a manager or supervisor, or even director, but regardless of the name, that person has the role of teacher, leader, decider, merchandiser, chief cook and bottle washer.  They are the one responsible for the success or failure of the entire group based on their guidance.  The management style of the lead makes a lot of difference as it can bring together a mixed group of individuals and make them into a cohesive unit, or it can change a well –oiled machine into a pile of broken rusty parts.

Attitude, communication, and attention to detail are all important pieces to the final determination of a management style.  But results are what most people end up being evaluated by in the end.  I’ve seen mean and gruff bosses have continued success because they post solid results period after period and I’ve also seen managers with great personalities who are seemingly loved by anyone get replaced as they just weren’t making the numbers.  The common difference with these two examples has a lot to do with goal setting – painting their own target.

Goal setting by itself doesn’t accomplish the job, but it provides the manager with a target.  In order to hit that target, whether it be a sales figure, a level of shrink reduction, or volume shipped, the good manager needs to understand that it’s up to him or her to develop a strategy to meet the goal.  A strategy might be as simple as make sure all value added products have at least 4 days of shelf life on the expiration date while on the shelf.  When customers shop that section, they’ll notice that nothing is ever expired and over time the confidence level will grow and the reputation of the department will be enhanced.  Sounds easy, but that’s not the total approach.  There is also the need to develop tactics, which are procedures employed to support your strategy which should lead to success and reaching your goal.  Now in our example a tactic could be check the case twice per day without fail or check the dates on all inbound arrivals and inventory by oldest first for proper rotation.  There could be many more but it is easy to see how important they are to reach the goal.

So we can summarized that in order to see your department operate like a well-oiled machine, one that “hits the target,” you need to recognize and develop a plan that includes clear well-defined goals, a strategy that allows those goals to be reached or exceeded, and a set of protocols to support the plan.  Once you’ve painted your target and get your team on the same page as you are, your management style won’t matter as much as your execution.

Potatoes – Just for the Taste of it

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:21

Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Onions are the most consumed vegetables among American consumers.  It’s not too difficult to see that these “big three” are versatile, serving as either partial or main ingredients in many of the dishes we love, and often we find two or all three of them being used in combination.  Spaghetti, casseroles, sandwiches, and soup are just a few things that come to mind immediately to reinforce this fact.  The tomato is often described as having a sweet tartness which imparts magic on the tongue, it’s juicy and has great mouth feel when eaten raw and savory and bold when consumed cooked, it’s both complex and exciting in so many ways and the aroma is delicate and captivating.  An onion can be either sweet, with a mild sweet flavor which makes your mouth water and not your eyes.  A conventional onion, whether red, yellow, or white, has a distinct sharpness and “bites” with an intense pungency.  Crunchy and explosive when raw and milder and bursting with flavor when raw, onions both enhance and redefine most anything they are paired with.

Then we come to potatoes, the king of the hill in consumption across the United States, with over 50 pound per person being consumed annually.  You’d think that the descriptive terms describing the potato would be endless, since we eat so much of them….but in reality, not so much.  Yes, we use words like fluffy, and buttery-flavored in our catalogue descriptions, and we describe the texture as firm or smooth, but what are we really saying.  The potato is complicated and most people aren’t really eating them just for the taste, instead using them as a carrier for other flavors.  Deep fried French fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, loaded baked potatoes, and potato chips are all examples of this.  We are tasting the toppings or the salt or the gravy more and the potato less.

We don’t really have a handle on exactly what accounts for potato flavor unlike the onion where the sulpher content and other naturally occurring chemicals contribute to the flavor or the combination of acid and sugars in tomatoes which bring out their flavors.   Unlike fruits, which evolved to attract hungry animals to eat them and help spread their seeds, wild potatoes of old were more interested in fending off animals and were rife with toxic and bitter compounds which made them bitter.  These glycoalkaloids are still found in small doses in the commercially cultivated potatoes we eat now and contribute in a small way to the taste.  So as potatoes have evolved, they have gotten better tasting, but we still are left with a host of questions.

Cooking the potato completely changes the flavor, often for the better.  A cooked potato has very high levels of umami compounds, molecules which stimulate a “pleasant savory taste,” in most plant food sources.  Science has found that 228 identified aromatic molecules contribute to a cooked potatoes flavor, but most have not been researched.

Many of the new potato varieties emerging in the marketplace bring with them added complexities with their colorful antioxidant rich skins and flesh tones.  It’s like a bonus program for the potato, already a powerhouse of nutrition having more vitamins and health benefits piled on.  Once we pinpoint which genes affect flavor, texture, and color, potato breeders will have an endless pool of new ideas on how to create better and better potatoes through healthy cross pollination, just as the strawberry and tomato breeders have been doing for years.

Give a potato a try without adding anything, no butter, no salt, no ketchup, or gravy and see for yourself.  The flavor will surprise you, and probably since most people have never given it a second thought, will amaze you.  Try a russet, then try one of the new varieties such a purple potato or a red skinned yellow-flesh potato and you’ll see the difference.  Then, if you dare, try describing what you just tasted…..when you get that part done, call us because we’d love to hear what you think!

Potatoes – A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:12

It’s no secret that adding more fresh produce to your diet will improve your overall health, from reducing the risk of cancer and many other chronic health conditions to managing your weight, fruits and vegetables are your answer.  The media and internet are constantly abuzz with stories about the newest emerging “Superfood” and the benefits offered. With those stories, we also hear wonderful facts and figures about the nutritional qualities of broccoli, spinach, blueberries, tomatoes, and beans.  But what we rarely hear are any positive stories about the potato and the nutritional powerhouse that it brings to the table.

Potatoes are one of the most nutrient rich vegetables that you can eat and are seriously satisfying as part of a meal.  Available all year around and in so many varieties, the preparation possibilities are endless, and are always a value at the register.  Potatoes are gluten free, fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free and that’s just the tip of the benefit iceberg.  At only 110 calories, one medium potato provides 18% of the USRDA of Potassium, an often overlooked, but extremely important mineral and electrolyte. Diets high in Potassium are associated with maintaining healthy blood pressure levels which is important in maintaining Kidney health.

Potatoes have naturally high levels of Vitamin C, providing 45% of daily needs, along with many other antioxidant compounds like phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanin compounds. The potato also earns high marks for providing 25% of the RDA of Vitamin B-6, which is essential for immune system functionality and the production of red blood cells.  Other vitamins found in potatoes are Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic acid, and Thiamin.  With all these benefits, you would think that potatoes would get a little more respect.  They also provide zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and iron in measurable amounts and just for good measure the potato provides 3 grams of protein.

Aside from all the nutritional benefits, the potato also provides 8% of the daily needs of dietary fiber. Because potatoes contain both simple and complex carbohydrates, they provide the body with energy.  Complex carbohydrates are also referred to as dietary starch, are very satisfying and help to reduce constipation.  A medium sized potato contains 26 grams of total carbohydrates, only 9% of the USRDA.

In order to reap the maximum benefits from potatoes, keep their skins on and avoid cooking techniques which add calories and fat.  Keeping a close watch on the toppings to limit extra calories – try some outside of the box thinking like chopped cilantro, diced broccoli, onions, or other fresh herbs to add flavor to any potato dish.

Encourage everyone you know to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and next time the term “Superfood” comes up, mention potatoes and see just how many heads you turn.

Sorting out Russets

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 09:32

Russet potatoes are the grand-daddy of potatoes here in the United States, but there’s more to these potatoes than meets the eyes. As varietal potatoes like Klondike Rose and Klondike Goldust have become more popular and easier to find in stores, the Russet has taken a back seat to these new potato types. But the stable Russet is the cornerstone of the potato world, so let’s learn a little more about the Russet and its uses.

Baked Potato

Russets come in several varieties, the two most common are the Norkotah and the Burbank. To the naked eye, most of us would have a hard time deciphering which is which, but to the trained observer there are little tell-tells that give the potatoes away. I guess it’s true what they say, “The eyes are the window to the soul…” one of those clues is the deeper set eyes of the Russet Burbank.

Russet Burbanks have a higher specific gravity, meaning they have more solid (or flesh) and less water. Because there is more flesh to these potatoes, they have a longer growing season, harvesting a month after the Russet Norkotah. Because of their specific makeup, however, Burbanks are your standard French Fry potato and are used by national chains such as Five Guys to make a golden fry. A potato with less water will fry more evenly.

Russet Norkotahs have the same flavor profile as the Russet Burbank, but they have a lower specific gravity which makes them better for baking, mashing and roasting. Having a little more water base makes them a fluffier baked potato.

Now the big question, as a shopper, how do you know which Russet variety you are getting? Most of your bags of potatoes will have it named right on the bag enclosure. You can see below that I have taken a picture of two bag closures that I got from the local grocery. These tags will call out whatever variety of potatoes is in the bag, in this case it is Russet Burbanks, but it could be Rosara (Klondike Rose) or Chieftan (red). In Idaho, every bag of potatoes must call out its variety on the packaging. So when you are looking for Russets for a specific use, keep these tips in mind when shopping!

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Written by Barbara Keckler, Marketing Manager at Potandon Produce L.L.C.

Potato Planting Season is Here!

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 08:29

It’s planting season here in Idaho. Every day it’s not raining, you see farmers out in the fields planting wheat, grain and of course, potatoes. I thought I would tell you a little about how potatoes are planted and how they are grown because before I began working in the potato business, I certainly didn’t think there was much too planting and growing potatoes, but I was wrong.

Planting starts with seed potatoes, these are potatoes that are specifically bred in areas that have little pollution.


Many seed potatoes are grown at the base of the Teton Mountains, an area that has strict restrictions regarding emissions from vehicles and spraying. The reason for this adherence to a clean environment is to produce high quality, disease-free seeds. Before planting, the seeds are tested to ensure they are clean. Having these clean seeds is imperative to producing potato plants with these important attributes; high yield per plant, potatoes with well-developed skins, high quality potatoes that taste great, are resistant to bruising and that will store well.


Another extremely important part of the planting process is the machinery used. The cutters and planters must be clean and disinfected before each use. After the potato seeds are  are cut into chunks they are planted 12 inches apart anywhere between 4 to 8 inches deep. Within a month, the potato tubers will begin to take shape.

Growing Potatoes

For potatoes to thrive, its best that the growing area is prone to hot days and cool nights. If too many of your days are hot without cooling off at night, the yield will be diminished.

Once the potatoes are planted, agronomists begin visiting the crops weekly. These visits are called scouting and the agronomists use it to check on how the potatoes are growing. Each field has protocols based on the soil content, the water needed, and type of weather being experienced. The plants grow and flower, the color of the flower correlates to the type of potato that it is producing. The flowers can be white to various hues of pink or purple.

Potatoes in the Field

Once the potatoes begin to flower, the agronomists will dig plants out of the field to look at the way the skins are setting and check the plant yield. The agronomists are looking for any signs of problems with the potatoes as they grow.  Problems can indicate that the potatoes aren’t getting enough water in their area of the field or they can indicate that the agronomists need to make adjustments to their growing protocols.  Then they will rebury the potatoes. These potatoes will continue to grow until the plants are harvested.

Stay tuned for more potato information!

Written by Barbara Keckler, Marketing Manager at Potandon Produce L.L.C.


Watch for the Johnny’s Be Good/Klondike Brands Sampling Tour at Your Favorite Grocery Store!

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 08:00

Have you seen the Johnny’s Be Good Sampling Trailer at your favorite grocery store yet this year? Watch for us! We started a little early this year with an initial schedule that started in Louisiana and ran through the Southeast part of the country. Our next area will be a revisiting of the Midwest including Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa after which we go to the Northwest.

The Johnny’s Be Good Sampling Tour, the co-sponsored food trailer sampling our delicious Klondike Brands™ potatoes and Johnny’s Fine Foods seasonings, is touring the country sampling at your grocery stores all year. Our fun staff, Aimee and Heather, cook up some delectable potato samples and fill you in on all kinds of information about potatoes and seasonings. Watch for them in your stores or watch them online here!

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Wanna know where we will be next? Here are our upcoming dates!

April 11 – Ingles Markets – Asheville, NC (780 Hendersonville Road)

April 12 – Ingles Markets – Asheville, NC (1865 Hendersonville Road)

April 13 – Ingles Markets – Arden, NC

April 15 – Ingles Markets – Black Mountain, NC

April 16 – Ingles Markets – Mills River, NC

April 17 – Ingles Markets – Brevard, NC

April 18 – Leaving the Southeast heading for the Midwest!

April 26 – HyVee – Lawrence, KS (6th Street)

April 27 – HyVee – Lawrence, KS (Clinton Parkway)

April 28 – HyVee – Olathe, KS

April 30 – HyVee – Overland Park, KS


Would you love to see the tour in your town? Comment here and we will scout new areas for you to see the trailer in action!

Written by Barbara Keckler, Marketing Manager at Potandon Produce L.L.C.

The Science Behind the French Fry

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:07

Ah, French Fries. So delicious, they are the poster child for taking something wholesome and nutritious and making it fattening and artery clogging and they are one of the reasons potatoes get such a bad name. But let’s face it, most of us like a good fry once in a while. I have worked for a potato company for over 15 years and I have seen potatoes fried in a myriad of ways, but did you know there is a wrong and a right way? And that there is a science behind which potatoes are the best for frying?


The key to great fries is in the solids and sugars of the potato. When companies like mine test their potatoes for frying, one of the first things that they look at is the Specific Gravity. This measures the potato for solids. That may sound weird, but potatoes are made up mostly of water. Water and oil don’t mix that well, so the higher the solid or Specific Gravity of a potato, the better chance those French Fries will be golden and delicious. Burbank Russet potatoes have long been hailed as the best frying potatoes and they are still top of the list because their solids are higher than many other potatoes. But a potato that many food service and restaurants are using (which is not available to the general public) is the Pure Gold potato. Unfortunately this potato is ugly with netting all over it and an uneven skin so it is not viable in the consumer market. This potato is a yellow skinned, yellow fleshed potato that yields the best French Fry that I have ever eaten. The fry is always the perfect golden and the taste is unbeatable.

When we fry potatoes we also test for glucose content in the potatoes. It is another important aspect in getting the perfect fry. You don’t want the potato to have too many sugars as it will change the way the potato fries. Remember if you store your potatoes in a refrigerator, the sugar content in that potato goes up and yields fries that aren’t as golden as those stored in a cabinet or pantry.

No matter what type of potato you decide to use for your French Fries, we have a fantastic “how-to” fry video online featuring our Chef Bryan showing how he gets the perfect French Fries. His technique works and produces a golden, delicious French Fry every time. But that isn’t the only way you can fry. Here in our offices we do a fair amount of fry tests so that we can weekly keep our food service customers informed that the potatoes we are shipping that week are frying consistently.


We have a standard way that all of our fry tests are done, that I will share with you here. The first thing we do is we cut the potato into strips. We have a commercial cutter here in our test kitchen that is worth its weight in gold when it comes to cutting fries. It keeps all our fries consistent in size. We then rinse those and spin them in a salad spinner. We spin them to take off the excess water. Once we have the water spun off the fries, we put them into a 300˚ F fryer for 3 ½ minutes. Then we raise them out of the oil and let them sit and “rest” for a couple minutes before returning them to a 350˚F fryer for an additional two minutes. Voila, delicious potatoes.

Written by Barbara Keckler, Marketing Manager at Potandon Produce L.L.C.

Irish Potato Bread

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:15


This year on March 17th all around the world people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day, like most holidays began as a religious celebration. But today, you are most likely going to hear “Kiss me, I’m Irish” and see everyone incorporating green into their attire (so they don’t get pinched). If you have kids a fun activity that is to allow leprechauns come the night before leaving behind treats and little green footprints. If nothing else a big part of this day is enjoying Irish traditions like checking out the pub or enjoying some Irish food. We found a fun Irish Potato Bread to share with you!

Potato Bread Recipe:


1 Klondike Rose potato, peeled and diced

1 1/2 cups water

2 packages active dry yeast

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. shortening

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour


In a medium saucepan cook potato cubes in water for about 12 minutes, or until tender. Do not drain. Cool mixture to 110 degrees F. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Mash potato and remaining liquid; if necessary add warm water to make 2 cups potato mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast on reserved 1/2 cup potato water. Add mashed potato mixture, 2 cups of the flour, sugar, shortening, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mixing by hand.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make moderately stiff dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape each half into a loaf. Place in greased 8 x 4 x 2 inch loaf pans. Cover. Let rise until nearly double, about 35 minutes. Before baking, brush tops with a little water and dust with additional flour.

Bake at 375 degree F (190 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

The Good News About Crock-Pots!

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 10:53


For the last few months my eating habits have taken a turn for the worse as the business of life has somehow became even more demanding on my time. Breakfast is hardly ever eaten and my lunch and dinner meals usually consist of fast or frozen food, or easy box meals. Usually the only veggies my body intakes are the lettuce and onions on a fast food hamburger. Don’t get me wrong, I try to improve my diet; I go out of my way in the grocery store to find healthy and fresh items to eat. However, usually that food just sits in my fridge and goes bad. I was about to lose all hope in my desire to live a healthier lifestyle when I stumbled onto an online article about meals prepared in crock pots. I was surprised by the things that I learned. Usually all recipes that require a crock pot are a one pot meal. Do you know what that means? I don’t have to come home from work, make a meal using multiple pans, and then have a mountain of dishes in the sink! It even gets better than that! Crock pots are designed to cook food at a slower rate, which makes it perfect for a busy schedule like mine. I can prepare everything ahead of time, even the night before, and then before I head out all I have to do is put it in the crock pot and let it cook all day. When I walk in the door dinner is ready! Can you image having dinner ready everyday as soon as you walk in the door! That alone makes me feel like I just won the lottery. If this hasn’t gotten you excited about crock pot meals I’m not finished yet. There are portable crock pots that are designed for you to pack lunch in. This means I can have a delicious, hot, homemade meal for lunch! For me I can take it to work, turn it on in the morning, and by the time lunch comes around its ready. The only real problem I see with this is the herd of coworkers that will be surrounding my crock pot. I know the smell of delicious food cooking will surly bring in a crowd. Now that you’re hooked on the idea of using a crock pot, like I am, let me share with you some exciting news! Klondike Brands has committed to sharing tips and tricks in crock pot cooking and has created some delicious recipes just for you! Let’s start now in having a healthier lifestyle and feeling good about what we eat. For more information about crock pot recipes, tips, and tricks go to

Klondike Brands teams up on new Crock-Pot recipe videos with Jenn Bare from

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 07:31

The time has come!  I am excited to finally announce that Monday will be releasing their first recipe video for a delicious new recipe, Breakfast Casserole.  Jenn Bare, the woman behind teamed up with Klondike Brands™ and Johnny’s Seasonings to put together a series of recipe videos along with video tips and tricks that will be shown throughout the year.

Beginning on February 24, the video will be available on the website while Klondike Brands will feature an online Buy One – Get One printable coupon on their website, and Johnny’s Fine Foods will offer free shipping on their site. Both sites will also feature Crock-Pot giveaways throughout the month of March.

I hope you will be watching!

Crock Pot Girl

Get ready to talk to Jenn Bare, author of Get Crocked: The Definitive Guide to Slow Cooking.

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 07:03


I’m a busy Mom.  I work full-time, then after work, I take my daughter to an hour and ½ of rodeo practice, help her with 2+ hours of homework almost every night, clean up the house, oh, and somewhere during that time I have to make dinner. Now, I love making my family a beautiful, nutritious dinner, but let’s face it, I’m a bit tired from my schedule and I am tempted by those “box” meals that only take 30 minutes from open to serve. So I have become more and more intrigued with crock pots. Over the last couple years, there have been so many of these marvels introduced, big ones, small ones, digital ones and connectible ones, you name it and you can probably find it.  I decided to spend some time with Crock Pot expert, Jenn Bare who is the author of “Get Crocked: The Definitive Guide to Slow Cooking” and founder of I specifically wanted to find some recipes that my family would love and that I would feel good serving.  I also wanted to get some tips and tricks to make my crock pot creations come out like hers.  For instance, how do I keep the edges from burning (a frequent issue when I use the crockpot).  Starting February 24,  I will be sharing the advice she gave me over the next couple months along with some delicious recipes she made for me while I was visiting with her.  I hope you love these recipes and can use the tips she gave me.  And I think that this Busy Mom is going to find some respite from my schedule with these fantastic recipes (and my family will reap the benefits).  Stay tuned!

A Klondike Rose Potato this Valentine’s Day

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 06:37

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and most of us guys are stuck in the “decision mode.”  Do we shower her with fancy gifts, maybe clothes or fine jewelry, or perhaps we take the safe route and go with a huge bouquet of extremely expensive roses, which will say I Love You for about 2 or 3 days until they turn into a dried out mess.  What to do, what to do? My advice: this year give Klondike Rose potatoes, and hold your laughter for a few minutes while I tell you why.

Flowers say what exactly – I am stuck in tradition and don’t want to think outside of the box.  Jewelry, which is somewhat of a great gift says more about the giver than the receiver – come on ladies, admit it, how many times have you gotten a piece of jewelry that brightens your day about as much as a penlight?  Clothes, my guess would be something in red or pink, and just might be something in the risqué category, are always top purchases, but they say exactly what men? “I want to see you in this my dear for my enjoyment, and in some cases only for a very short time.”  Trust me when I tell you, no matter what you decide on, they all look the same when they are in a balled up mess on the floor.

Now I can tell you that the humble potato can score so many points in so many areas with your beloved once you fill her in on the many uses potatoes have other than a delicious and nutritious food source.  Start by sharing how in the kitchen, she can clean your silverware in the leftover potato water and can remove rust stains with a fresh potato in a safe and non-toxic way (great high-five moment if she is environmentally conscious.) Let her know if her soup gets too salty, just add a few large pieces of fresh potato for about ten minutes to absorb the excess sodium.  Around the house benefits are that you can shine your shoes and keep your skiing goggles from fogging up using a fresh potato.  Of course we can’t forget using fresh potatoes to remove juice stains on hands and surfaces, removing glue from your hands, and believe it or not you can even grate fresh potatoes to use as a carpet cleaner.  Long ago, women recommended washing your face in potato juice for anti-aging effects, and fresh potato slices placed on the eyes helps to relieve puffiness.  Keeping fresh potatoes as part of your home first aid kit can give you a low-cost treatment for wart removal, burn treatment, and even a headache cure.  Other uses have been for making stamps in crafting, removing a broken light-bulb, and making batteries of all things.   Now I’m just scratching the surface of the many uses of fresh potatoes and I encourage you to seek out additional benefits so you can prove just how valuable giving Klondike Rose potatoes as a gift on this special day can be.

In the old days, herbalists lovingly referred to potatoes as “the apples of love.” Now with an endorsement like that, she’ll never even think about how good a box of chocolates could have been. How can you go wrong with Klondike Rose potatoes?

So as you sit and ponder over this revelation, and hopefully you have stopped laughing long enough to be in total amazement at the versatility of this wonderful vegetable, you’ll start seeing the potential for new gift ideas for your special lady.  Just remember, that the key is in the presentation (I would suggest you cook her a really great meal to accompany your gift of Klondike Rose potatoes, as food has been known to relax people – that way you’ll have an extra second or two to avoid the flying tuber headed your way.)

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day

P.S. – I’m going with flowers AND one of these great potato recipes to avoid the flying potato syndrome

Pancakes & Heart Shaped Roasted Potatoes

(Make your favorite pancakes from the mix of your choice and serve with berry syrup for that Valentine’s Day splash of red!)

Heart Shaped Potato

Roasted Potatoes

6 large Klondike Rose® potatoes (about 2 pounds for 4 servings)

¼ cup olive oil

1 – 2 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tsp Caraway seeds

½ tsp paprika (optional)

Make Heart Cutouts

• Preheat oven to 400˚ F.

• Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray or brush with oil.

• Fill a pot with about 1quart -2quarts of water, add 1tbl salt, bring to boil, and then reduce heat to gentle simmer.

• In the meantime peel potatoes, slice them, using a small metal cookie cutter cut out as many hearts as you can. Reserve scraps in water, you can also par-cook scraps or make mashed potatoes

• Cook potatoes in simmering water for 3 minutes, drain potatoes and let cool slightly.

• Combine all the ingredients for the marinade: olive oil, salt, caraway seed, pepper, paprika.

• Pour marinade over potatoes, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

• Spread marinade potatoes evenly onto the baking sheet.

• Roast them for 20-25 minutes, in halftime using off-set silicone spatulas carefully turn the potatoes (don’t forget to use oven mittens when handling hot baking sheet!).

• If your oven has a broiler, broil potatoes for additional 5 minutes or until they are golden on brown.

Story written by Ralph Schwartz

Potandon Produce and Sony Pictures Team Up to Offer Consumers Big Savings!

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 08:10


Potandon Produce L.L.C., the nation’s largest marketer of fresh potatoes, selling such well-known brands as Green Giant® Fresh, Klondike Brands® and Sunfresh® is teaming up with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on its upcoming release of their new animated comedy, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 will be released on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD. Potandon Produce potato bags in 3 lb., 5 lb., 8 lb., and 10 lb. weights will carry a $5.00 off instantly redeemable coupon when both the DVD and the potatoes are purchased together. The specially marked packages will be distributed starting in late January with a coupon expiration date of March 31, 2014.

The hit movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 features inventor Flint Lockwood who thought he had saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention – a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now combining food and animals to create “foodimals!” Flint and his friends embark on an adventurously mouth-watering mission to battle these foodimals, one of which is a Potatopotomus, to save the world – again!

Potandon Produce will also be offering chances to win the movie free on its social media outlets, and twitter @klondikepotato starting on the movie’s release date.

New Year’s Resolution: Eat More Potatoes

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 13:47

Healthy Picture

It’s that time again, the New Year is here! Now is the time to set goals and expectations we want to reach in 2014. For most people the number one goal is to lose weight. However, we know that losing weight isn’t as important as being healthy. So this year instead of focusing on the pounds, focus on being healthy. That could include; eating fewer sweets, working out a little longer or more frequently, eating less processed and more fresh foods, or maybe drinking more water than soda . The options are endless on what you can do to become a healthier you.

How to become a healthier you:

Start small. Don’t get consumed in thinking that you have to change this and that and that and this to become healthy. Take a moment and think about your daily routine and one area that could use improvement. If you go out to lunch most of the time, which means you are eating a lot more processed, high fat, sugar and salty foods, a good goal could be bringing your lunch to work 2 – 3 times per week for a month. This is a realistic goal that you could easily do that will make a big difference to your health. Once the month is over you can increase how often you bring your lunch or set another goal.

Don’t cut out foods that are known as being “bad”, because they could actually be good. On they shared great insight on this perception that “bad” is actually good. “Oftentimes, diet-obsessed people make the mistake of cutting out highly nutritious foods because they aren’t low-fat. But this isn’t necessarily the best strategy for overall health and weight loss. Not only do these higher-calorie foods have important nutritional benefits, but usually they’re more filling, leaving you satisfied for a longer period of time than lower-fat fare. From pork and red meat to pasta and cheese, find out which traditionally “unhealthy” foods will improve your health more than anything in a 100-calorie snack pack ever could.”  Eating healthy pasta, cheese, potatoes and meat will round out your diet and becomes more realistic.

Eat more potatoes. “Despite their bad reputation, potatoes are actually a health food.” According to American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Karen Ansel, RD, a 5-oz potato has more potassium than an average-size banana, and 20 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C. Plus, potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates and fiber, which help keep you full longer. “But this is all provided they’re not fried or slathered in butter and cheese,” she notes. Baked or boiled and mixed with lowfat toppings, potatoes are more than just suitable; they’re a smart diet choice.” ( As stated, potatoes have great sources of vitamins and will keep you fuller longer. Instead of eating a lot of small sugary snacks to get you through the day, try eating things such as potatoes that will keep you feeling fuller longer.

There are great sources that will give you delicious healthy recipes. Of course my favorite recipes will include potatoes! To find great healthy potato recipes go to also check out our January blog on healthy potato recipes.

Healthy Potato Recipes

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 13:33

Healthy Potato

Potatoes are the perfect comfort food but have the reputation of being “bad” for anyone trying to lose weight and become healthy. Potatoes are actually very healthy for you even when you’re keeping your eyes on your diet. Potatoes are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C, especially if you eat the skin.

To start the New Year out right, check out some of these healthy potato recipes to include in your meals this year. Start today to become a healthier you! For more healthy tips follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Leek and Potato Soup

Baked Potato with Chili

Chicken and Potato Salad

Oven “Fries”

Spicy Chipotle Roasted Potatoes

Layered Mashed Potato & Mushroom Casserole

Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Healthier Oven Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Herb Potatoes (Pairs great with Salmon)

 Quick & Healthy Twice Baked Potatoes

Baked Potato Nachos

 Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs Recipe

Fabulous Beef Stew

Roasted Spring Vegetables with Arugula Pesto

How To Successful Plan for Holiday Visitors and Parties

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 14:57


Without fail, every time I plan any type of party my main focus goes straight to impressing my guests. I want everything to be perfect, which is unrealistic. Things will not always go according to plan. There are many times that I don’t even enjoy the party because the expectations I created were not met. If you’re like me planning holiday parties can be stressful and costly. I mention costly because often times I buy additional (unnecessary) items just to seem more impressive.

As I have come to realize this habit of mine, and with the holidays approaching I wanted to find ways to make entertaining easier. That’s when I discovered I found an article on their page that talks about making entertaining easy and enjoyable. I pulled a few things to share with you that really struck me. If you would like to read the full article I would recommend it.

The article can be found at

“Too often, we have strict notions about what constitutes hospitality. We think “dinner party” and fret about whether the towels match the shower curtain-and we miss the whole point of the effort.” Are you guilty of this? Maybe not making sure everything in the house matches, but worrying about things that really don’t matter. The whole point is having an enjoyable time with those you care about.

“What does “entertaining” mean to you? Take a moment, and think of what springs to mind. Do you worry about your lack of fine china and polished silver? Do you fret about the furniture? Do you thumb frantically through cookbooks and food magazines, looking for just the right recipes? Do you vow to bar the door to guests until you’ve cleaned the house from attic to cellar? Time for an attitude adjustment! All these concerns are irrelevant to true hospitality.” Wow, talk about a slap in the face. I’m definitely the type of person that doesn’t want any guests over unless my house is spotless. I wonder if that comes from how you’re raised. I grew up in a home where the house had to be clean at all times. Any thoughts on what causes this mindset?

Step One: “put the focus where it belongs: on the guests. It’s helpful to redefine your terms. Do you “entertain” or do you offer hospitality?

Those who entertain take aim on material things: house, food, dishes, decorations. They view each dinner party as a production that must be scheduled, coordinated and directed to perfection. The event takes place in a stage set of polished furniture, cleaned carpet and precisely-set tables. Too often, the “entertainer” is so stressed and exhausted by all the preparation that she doesn’t enjoy her own party! With this mindset, entertaining is a chore, to be done as infrequently as possible.

One who offers hospitality has a different focus: her guests. To her, hospitality is about sharing. Her home welcomes visitors and draws them into the warm family circle as treasured guests. Her values put people before floral centerpieces and ironed napkins. She may engage in as much preparation as the “entertainer,” but she knows that when a guest feels truly welcome, the state of the floors is unimportant.

Start by changing your mind. Will you offer hospitality this holiday season? Or will you stage entertainment? Resolve to put first things–your guests–first on your list. Armed with this mindset, you’ll avoid the perfectionist traps that stand ready to snare the entertainer.”

Step Two: “Do-ahead preparations will take the stress out of drop-in visitors, and free you to enjoy visits from unexpected guests. Purchase or prepare hospitality supplies: crackers, some good cheese (the smellier the better to deter grazing children) frozen cookies or slices of cake. Child-proof the latter by wrapping aluminum foil and labeling as “liver and onions” before you freeze!

Keep a stock of good tea bags and coffee on hand, and assemble a teapot, sugar bowl and creamer, and several good teacups in one spot. Invite your guests to join you in the kitchen as you swish about efficiently, assembling a welcoming snack! ”

Step Three: If you’re going to throw a holiday party, begin early. The busy holiday season is the very last time you want to experience pre-party chaos.

Try this 10-point holiday party game plan:

1-Set the date

2-Make a guest list

3-Get the word out early

4-Plan food & drink

5-Rehearse your recipes

6-Map your house (Decide what layout you will have for your party)

7-Make your house party friendly

8-Figure out how/when you’re going to get everything done. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

9-Enjoy your party!

10-Handle mishaps with grace

Remember to have a Happy Holiday Season!

25 Days of Christmas Appetizers

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 14:34

pengine appetizer

Food, food, and more food! It’s normal during the holidays to feel a little overwhelmed by all the endless amounts of food. New Year’s is a few short weeks away and a perfect time to start a healthier eating resolution. If you’re on a diet or trying to watch your weight during the holidays don’t feel trapped and miserable. Instead eat what you want, but in small portions.

Along with endless amounts of food, the holidays also bring endless parties and visitors. If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year stock up on some of these tasty appetizer recipes to serve your guests. If you’re pressed for time a lot of these recipes are easy to make or you can even find some in the stores that are premade. Here is a list of 25 different holiday appetizers that are not only visually appealing, but delicious. Every day we will be posting each recipe on our Facebook page at so take a look and see the images you can also follow the link to each recipe on this page.


Cheese Platter JPG


Crab Rangoon

Strawberry Santa’s

Cheese Ball

Marinated Mushrooms

Penguin Appetizer

Vegetable Christmas Tree

 White Chocolate Dipped Cherries

 Cream Puffs!+Mail

 Shrimp Cocktail

 Stuffed Peppers


 Bacon & Potato Bites



 Roasted Mini Potatoes

 Spinach Artichoke Dip

 Onion Dip

 Smoked Salmon

Mozzarella Sticks

Queso Dip

 Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

 Fruit Kabobs jpg




DIY Christmas Tree Decorations

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 14:21

Each year during the Christmas holiday it seems as if prices increase and it becomes more difficult to buy some of the things I want. Decorating for the holidays is something I look forward to each year, but with a tight budget it makes it difficult. This year to satisfy my desire to decorate I found 10 do-it-yourself Christmas ornaments that will be fun to make with friends and family. Also, these new ornaments will give my old Christmas tree a new feel and look without breaking the bank!

*If you like the ornaments follow the link below the image to find out what you need and how to make it. Ornaments were chosen based on appearance, minimal supplies, and easy to create.

Cupcake Ornaments


Ombre Glass Ornament


Christmas Berry Ornament


 Button Wreath Ornament


String Ornament


Monogram Ornament


Tree Ornament


Reindeer Ornament


CD Ornament


Pom-pom Garland