b'Northbank Potato Farm near Edmonton, Alta. is stuck with 15 to 20 per cent of its seed potatoes, after growers cancelled orders this spring. PHOTO: RUSS VAN BOOMseed orders like normalbusiness had beentends to be small, it tends to be stored at a coolerdont think theres going to be a permanent 30 per actually increasing for him over the last few yearstemperature, so it doesnt have colour. And therescent reduction, like there is in some cases this as the french fry processing expansion had hap- just a lot of difficulties with getting that productyear. But certainly, theres going to be an impact.pened. There were worries this year there wouldntconverted to any other sectors of the industry. So, been enough seed to fill demand. the loss is there for them. SCRAMBLING FOR WORKERSAnd then all of the COVID thing unfolded andOn Van Booms farm he is sitting on aroundSpurr Brothers Farm in the Annapolis Valley in within a matter of a week or two, thats when we15 to 20 per cent of unsold seed. He has beenNova Scotia was getting ready for the growing started getting phone calls. It looks like just holdsearching for alternative markets such as dehy- season as the pandemic hit North America. The off on that last load, looks like were not sure yet.drated, but it looks like most of his seed, alongfruit and vegetable farm was receiving seed And as it went on, those calls just kept on comingwith his Alberta counterparts, will be destroyed.potato orders, prepping for seeding and planning in, Van Boom says. Its going to be a major setback, Van Boomout pruning of its orchards when flights for their For seed growers it wasnt as simple assays. You cant really prepare for something likeemployees started getting cancelled.changing planting plans or sending extra spudsthis, its incredibly difficult. Spurr Brothers sells fresh potatoes, fruit to food banks for use, they had already investedIt hasnt been all doom and gloom on his farmand other vegetables to Loblaws, local farmers four to five years into these cropsgrowing andthough. Northbank Potato Farm also grows seedmarkets, a market co-operative and other food preparing the seed for sale this year. for fresh potato varieties, which he did not see anyservices in Nova Scotia. During the growing This is probably one of the toughest stories oforder cancellations with. But Van Boom will stillseason they employee around 50 people with 22 of the whole situation because the seed growers arebe reducing acres overall this year. them being temporary foreign workers from Mexico really at the very bottom of the supply chain, Ma- People still need to eat, so how will their dietsand Jamaica.cIsaac explains. Unfortunately, the seed profilechange is the big question? Van Boom says. IWe have some guys that have been coming 8 SPUDSMART.COM SUMMER 2020'