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Canadian firm taking over french fry plant

By Dave Thompson

Jamestown, ND – A Canadian company will be taking over the Jamestown french-fry plant next month.

New Brunswick-based Cavendish Farms is purchasing the Aviko plant -- and takes over December first. Aviko is based in the Netherlands.

Robert Irving is the president of Cavendish Farms. He says purchasing the Jamestown plant make a lot of strategic sense.

"Our two plants in Prince Edward Island are sold out. We need more capacity to grow our business. It fills that need. Secondly, it's another potato growing area, and allows us to buy potatoes in different areas, and minimize any risk we may have in purchasing potatoes. Third, is the reason for new markets. From the east coast, we were unable to compete because of the high freight cost out into the midwest of the U. S., and in western Canada. Now with this market, it will allow us to do so."

Irving says Cavendish plans to produce potato products for both the institutional and retail markets.

Irving says earlier this week, he met with the contract potato growers -- and he says Cavendish is pleased that those growers use irrigation technology to grow the potatoes.

"That excites us because that gives us a guaranteed supply of raw potatoes and insures that we can communicate that to our customers that we'll be able to deliver a quality product year-round. And that's what the customers are demanding today. They want good value. They want the highest quality at the lowest cost. And I think Jamestown is well-positioned to service the midwest and western Canada competitively, and that's very important to us."

Irving says a new plant manager is being hired, but people employed at the plant should not notice any real difference. The plant employs 250 people.