NewsBusinessManitoba's quest to build a better sweet potato

    Manitoba’s quest to build a better sweet potato


    The Manitoba and federal governments announced a $210,000 investment in agricultural research Monday, focused – at least in part – on building a better yam.

    According to the province, demand for sweet potatoes in Canada has jumped 83 per cent in the past decade. However, comparatively few yams are grown in Manitoba, meaning most are imported.

    The cash investment will help fund research into new varieties of sweet potato that can handle Manitoba’s cooler climate and shorter growing season.

    “In broad strokes, the sweet potato is grown in the central and southern United States,” said Tom Gonsalves, an industry development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture. “The varieties used there took advantage of the longer growing season than we have … we just don’t have as many frost-free days.”

    The trick to adapting the yam to Manitoba will be making it mature faster, Gonsalves said, without sacrificing things like flavour or storability. As the plant grows, starches in the yam turn to sugar, he said, so accelerating the process can make sweet potatoes less sweet.

    The possibility of more local yams was music to the taste buds of Winnipeg restauranteurs.

    “There’s definitely been a movement to sweet potato in general. It’s more health conscious,” said Emily Butcher, a chef at Deer and Almond.

    Butcher tries to source as many local ingredients as she can. She said the restaurant doesn’t have yams on the menu at the moment, but that could change if more homegrown ones are available.

     “We really cater our menu to what our farmers have,” she said.


    Trending This Week

    Potato field at Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

    The P.E.I. Potato Industry is Edging Back to Normal

    After a year of upheaval following a potato wart discovery, P.E.I. has worked hard to regain their spud status. More than a year after potato...
    Manitoba Potato Production Days 2023 stage

    MPPD Celebrates 50 Years of Potato Memories

    Manitoba Potato Production Days (MPPD) kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with an opening night reception followed by a full day of presentations, demonstrations...
    Freshly emerged potato field

    Fortified Stimulate Yield Enhancer’s (aka Stimulate) Offers 40.4 cwt/acre Marketable Yield and Consistent Benefits

    Drumroll please…. The results are in from this year’s trials and – at a whopping 12.6 to 1 (!!) return on investment – Stimulate’s results...
    Potato field being sprayed

    PMRA Potato Products Review Refresher

    With the PMRA having reviewed numerous potato products, it’s important to keep track of what you can and can’t use anymore. Over the past few...
    Solynta's true potato seeds

    Solynta Signs Agreement to Develop True Potato Seeds for Kenya

    Dutch company Solynta has signed an agreement with FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tuber, to collaborate on the development of hybrid true...