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Twinbridge Farms, Pioneer Seed tapped to expand potato cultivation

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Mar 27 2013 07:03:24 PM HST

Hawaii might have been known for pineapples and sugar cane, but nowadays, a Waialua farm is quietly making its mark in potatoes!

HONOLULU -

Former Waialua sugar worker Milton Agader sees a new future in spuds.

Potatoes harvested just this week will soon find their way to Foodland and Whole Foods and restaurants like Alan Wong's.

The Twinbridge Farms venture which Agader and his business partner, Aqulino Medrano, pioneered has lately been focused on branding: hence this new two-pound medley bag of potatoes.

"This is Yukon Gold, a red, and All Blue and a russet, so you have four different types of potatoes," said Agader.

The Twin Bridge Farms venture started out as -- pardon the pun-- small potatoes.

Potato seed companies in Canada, Washington and Minnesota stuck a deal with local farmers to get involved in  post-harvest testing.

Agader explained it’s a certification process to make sure the seed stock is hearty and disease-free.

Now, growers in other states are taking notice.

"We are talking to Idaho which is the biggest growing state, Colorado and Wisconsin have also expressed interest," said Agader.

The beauty of the deal is once the seed companies have their data-- local farmers get to keep the potatoes.

"We have been low-key about the whole thing, until now. But now, we have a bag. We have a label. We have had to distinguish ourselves from the imports," Agader said.

Most of the potato fields were just plowed up last week. Twin Bridge has about 35 acres in production. They hope to double that next year.

The potatoes will mean Twin Bridge employees who were busy today packing asparagus, will have work year-round.

This latest venture with Idaho and other states will use Pioneer Seed land in Waialua.

Twinbridge-- which has the expertise and the workers-- will grow the crop.

A sweet deal in the works-- the only downside is working with a spud that's gone bad.

"There's nothing worse smelling than a rotten potato. It's awful," said Agader.

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