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China’s Push to Promote the Potato

Another, albeit quieter, revolution is taking root in China. This one involves not politics, but the humble potato. As reported in our story “The New Staple Food in China”, potato production and consumption is being dramatically reshaped in the world’s most populous nation, already an important player in the global potato industry. In January, the People’s Republic of China announced plans to drive up domestic potato consumption. The government aims to make…

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Taking Aim at Food Tampering

It’s something potato farmers in this country have never seen before — sewing needles intentionally stuck in potatoes that make it into fresh packs and onto processing lines in Prince Edward Island, posing not only a threat to consumers but threatening the reputation of the Island’s proud potato industry. Our coverage of the potato tampering incidents in P.E.I. includes an overview of the case that first emerged in the headlines back in…

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The Benefit of Field Days

Field days. Most potato-producing regions of the country saw at least one of these this past summer, providing growers with the opportunity to learn about new varieties and agronomic practices, check out the latest farm equipment and technologies, and network with their peers and industry types. And perhaps even as importantly, relax a little bit. Peter VanderZaag, who was MC at the 2014 Ontario Field Day in Alliston, Ont. in August, will…

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Searching for a Silver Bullet

The clock is ticking on Thimet 15G, the insecticide of choice for controlling wireworm in potatoes in most areas of Canada. Because Canada’s regulators have decided to phase out Thimet due to environmental concerns, the pesticide will no longer be available for use on potatoes as of Aug. 1, 2015. With wireworm populations steadily rising in Prince Edward Island and other parts of the country, there’s a question hanging over the potato…

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Potatoes and the Food Service Industry

In January, I had the pleasure of attending Manitoba Potato Production Days, the annual three-day conference and trade show held in Brandon, Man. I was treated to some stimulating presentations, got the low-down on the latest potato farming products and equipment for this coming growing season, and best of all, had some great conversations with growers. They were out in record numbers this year, and I’m sure a lot of that had…

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A New Way to Do Business

A New Way to Do Business The Seed Potato Tuber Quality Management Program (SPTQMP) has been around for a few years. Under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency program, growers or staff members are trained and licensed by the CFIA to perform seed potato tuber quality inspections themselves before the product is shipped out. Up to now, growers have signed up for the program on a volunteer basis — but that’s about to…

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Educating the Public about Potatoes

Open Farm Day is a concept that’s been gaining traction in recent years, with an increasing number of growers across the country opening their barn doors to the public for a day a two in August or September. The goal is to inform and educate people about the different types of farming operations and how they function. In late August, farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan took part in these events, and September…

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Holding the Line on Potato Prices

That’s the price situation for processing potato growers in most regions across the country this year following some sticky contract talks with Canada’s major french fry and chip processors this past spring. According to Kevin MacIsaac, general manager for United Potato Growers of Canada, growers in most areas — including Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick — accepted offers for the same amount they received for their product one year ago….

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Planning the Best Pest Response

That smiling visage to the left belongs to me, the new editor of Spud Smart. It is my pleasure to contribute the From Our Desk feature along with a number of other articles for this, our spring 2013 issue—but first, let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m a veteran journalist with decades of experience as a news reporter, writer, editor and producer for magazines, newspapers, television and the Internet. I…

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Waging War on Waste

Waste is a reality for all potato operations. Just how much waste varies, and the degree of waste often differs from season to season. Canadian growers commonly view waste as potatoes unusable for fresh market, processing or dehydration because they do not meet minimum size, grade or quality standards. Potatoes disposed of due to low market value caused by overproduction—typically referred to as cull potatoes—are also considered waste. Solanum, a potato processor…

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