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Nakamura Farms earns potato fame

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Taber Times
Times Photo Submitted AWARD WINNERS: The brothers received recognition for their high-quality crop from Frito-Lay. (L to R) Paige Fletcher, Ryland and Lyndon Nakamura, and Georges Dion from Frito-Lay. (Below) An irrigation pivot mists over a potato field at Nakamura Farms.

By Cal Braid
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nakamura Farms Ltd. was awarded the 2023 PepsiCo Frito Lay Grower of the Year Award for North America. Every year, PepsiCo Frito Lay recognizes the top grower on the continent, and Nakamura Farms took the honours for an exceptional season. Lyndon Nakamura said that the criteria are quality, sustainability, digitization, and a wild-card factor: your likability and community involvement.

The digitization aspect means, “PepsiCo partners up with a bunch of different farm and stewardship programs that are collecting data to try to reduce carbon footprint, along with growing more with less. A sustainability standpoint. They collect farm data to try to help us be successful,” Lyndon said.

Nakamura Farms and a handful of other growers supply the Taber plant. From their home base north of Taber and land west of the Taber, the Nakamuras grew 2,200 acres of potatoes. Lyndon said that the operation technically won two awards, both the Canadian and North American supplier of the year. “They recognized both, so that was kind of cool. It was kind of a big deal to us.”

Lyndon and his brother Ryland took over the farm from their dad and uncle in 2021. Agronomist Paige Fletcher is also a part of their team. “She’s a big part of the quality factor, helping us to be successful in growing good quality potatoes,” he said.

Potato quality is judged by appearance, size, color, frying quality, taste and texture. A solids measurement, referred to as dry matter content, is a component of quality. Asked what type of potatoes they provided, he said, “Frito Lay varieties is all I’m allowed to say. They have proprietary rights to their varieties.” Fair enough. Business is business, and for these local farmers, it’s been good.

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