Farming for the Future with the Care of the Past
Potato farming. At SouthWind Farms it’s what we do and it’s who we are. Don’t laugh. We know it sounds sort of funny to admit that one is a potato farmer in this day and age. But there are a few things you should know about us. First and foremost, we’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. Just like our parents and our grandparents before us, we understand that the best potato farming doesn’t happen in an office. It happens out in the field, which is where you’ll usually find us from dusk ‘til dawn, ensuring maximum quality in all of our crops. We’re dedicated stewards of the land, bringing more than 85 years’ combined experience in sustainable agriculture to our farming practices. The hands-on approach our grandparents instilled in us is coupled with the best technology for water and soil conservation, ensuring maximum sustainability and growth. We have regular third party food safety audits and have received superior ratings throughout. Most importantly, we love what we do and we’re proud to be potato farmers.
At SouthWind Farms, we focus on personalization, whether you’re an individual customer or a national company. Our farms are nestled along the Snake River at the base of snowcapped Idaho mountain peaks, and in the past five years, we’ve grown our fingerling crop from four to 750 acres with a lot of care, innovation and pride. We grow potatoes and we market specialty farm products, and we do it all with an unprecedented level of dedication. We know that providing a healthy, quality harvest in a sustainable way is a very important job and one we take very seriously…most of the time. We’ve been known to crack a joke or two!
Rod grew up working for neighbors in potatoes. He drove trucks and harvesters and, more often than not, found himself blazing new trails and perfecting the art of four-wheeling farm equipment. Needless to say, Rod was quickly encouraged to pursue a different avenue of farming. His love of the land took him to Utah State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy. From there, he traveled to UC Davis and procured his master’s degree in plant protection. Since then, he’s been on potato projects to Egypt and Brazil, but the wild farmlands of Idaho always called him home. “Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I still get to drive the tractors! Nearly all of our original customers at SouthWind Farms are still with us, and to me that’s our biggest marker of success.”
“I love growing things! Anything that is unusual or good to eat. Dry beans from Guatemala, heirloom tomatoes, raspberries, different varieties of garlic, you name it!” Robert’s love of good food and farming was brought together with fingerling potatoes – and the fact that being a lifelong ski instructor/bartender probably wasn’t going to last forever! The oddly shaped and colored potatoes caught his interest. When he saw how excited people and chefs got about the veggie, he was prompted to bring it to market from SouthWind Farms. “I love growing and shipping foods that others can get excited about.”
“We started SouthWind with three partners, an idea and a lot of hope.” Today, Jerry is proud that SouthWind is a place where people enjoy coming to work every day. With a farming background, deep Idaho roots and a love of the outdoors, Jerry now watches the company migrate from seed to harvest, year after year. “Our business has grown to the point where we have been able to meet some great people from all over the country and the world.” Currently, Jerry is working hard trying to figure out how to be a dedicated potato farmer while simultaneously perfecting his hunting, fishing and boating skills…daily!