Turners & Growers and the Potato Washing Debacle

By the early eighties, Foodtown had made some inroads into direct supply of green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, kumara and a number of other crops.  Kumara were in fact one of the early crops which were  100% directly supplied – by no other than the late Gary Blundell.  When it came to potatoes though, Foodtown had a bit of a problem.  One of my predecessors hat come back very enthusiastically  from PMA in the US, having been introduced to the concept of washed potatoes.  We might takes these for granted these days… but that was not the case 30 years ago! 

Foodtown, naturally, approached Turners & Growers, its potato supplier, to suggest that potato washing should get onto the company’s agenda.  The answer was somewhat surprising…”it could not be done”, said Turners & Growers.  The reason given was the soil condition in Pukekohe which would defeat any effort one could undertake to get potato washing under way.

Luckily, Foodtown chose not to take NO for an answer and started a conversation with a large potato grower in the area, A. S. Wilcox & Sons  and the ingenuity displayed by Lex, Henry and Ross Wilcox sure enough got washed potatoes onto Foodtown shelves within a year.  And they have remaind there ever since.  Direct from the source from Day 1 and no longer supplied by Turners & Growers. A further chink in the relationship….

To be continued

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