Anton Riezebos and Corné Kodde started Polder Potato in 2018. Since then, this Dutch potato trading company has grown steadily. It acquired the processing company ASN last year. These two companions, together with Aard Robaard, are thus focused on potato peeling and producing fresh products like French fries. The new peeling company got started on April 24. And now Polder Potato and ASN are under one roof. "We can serve all kinds of potato customers from here," begin the men.
Anton Riezebos in front of the new building.
Anton, who runs the day-to-day business, had been wanting to start peeling potatoes for some time. "We package plenty of Spanish Agrias and then are always left with the undersized (40-60) ones. We used to sell those to other market players but always felt we could market them better. So, we began looking for the chance to start a peeling company," he says.
They found such a company close by in ASN Dronten which Polder Potato had been regularly supplying for two years. Along with Corné, and Aard, who owns a farm and cold store, Anton took the plunge and took over ASN. "We're now under one roof, but we keep Polder Potato and ASN operations separate. Polder Potato sells its potatoes to ASN."
New peeler with no scrapers
This new processing plant has been operational for several months. "Having everything in one place is ideal and working from this new production environment improves efficiently," says Anton. Finis provided the new peeling lines.
"They had great advice and deserve all the credit. Most cold peelers use scrapers, after which the potatoes are peeled. Finis developed a machine with no scrapers. It has discs that gently peel the product. An additional advantage is that no carborundum is released during peeling. We're one of the first to use this machine and are delighted with it. It results in a nicer end product. Plus, the line's very maintenance friendly."
"We took over ASN's clients but have since also acquired more, large and small, ones in the meals segment. Most of ASN's customers are in the Netherlands, but we're looking at overseas opportunities too. We're thrilled with our package expansion. This was always the plan. We now grow our own potatoes, supply seed potatoes (also for export), pack for the local market, and have a peeling plant. That's a nice year-round spread of activities," explains Anton.
"We work a lot with fellow packers and traders, something we definitely hope to keep doing. After all, why do everything yourself when you can strengthen each other? Postuma AGF takes care of our outgoing transport. They travel throughout the Netherlands, which is perfect for us." You would be mistaken in thinking these entrepreneurs are done investing. "There are still plenty of growth opportunities in the fresh French fries arena. Also, we applied for a permit to build a new crate storage facility that can hold 2,000 crates," Anton continues.
From farm to fork
"Our farm-to-fork principle appeals to many buyers. We have deals with a fixed group of growers who produce potatoes close by for Polder Potato and ASN. Our logistical lines are thus very short, and we deliver a product we truly support. Many of our potatoes are grown very locally, and we source our early potatoes from the south of the country."
"Corné is very active in this and also offers cultivation guidance. The Agria is our main variety, and we grow Titanium, especially for several customers. That lets us serve our clients with potatoes, grown to size, which are then peeled and packed. Our clients appreciate that quality and continuity," says Anton.
These businessmen also practice circular farming every day. "For example, we exchange land with a livestock farmer. He uses all the peels from our plant as cattle feed, and we get to use his manure," Anton says, who is reasonably optimistic about how the potato season will go. "Inflation may even boost potato sales. People always turn to basic products like potatoes. And Dutch yields are quite good. The market should remain fairly stable, but we'll only know how things fared for sure when the season's over," he concludes.