b"Crops in the ground in good timing. And it's good conditions, good soil temps, good moisture, we're off to a good start. But we're only on the first leg of the race, Greg Donald, general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, says in a phone interview.Last year the growing season was challenging with dry conditions. Potato production on the Island dropped because of the drought, with New Brunswick growers suffering a similar fate.Because of the winter we had, with no frost when we had spring melt and then the spring rains because there's no frost, a lot of that moisture went down into the ground as opposed to running off, Donald explains. Reports from the P.E.I. Department of Environment, Energy and ClimateJohn Phillips of Farmboys Inc. on Prince Edward Island checks a planted potato field. PHOTO: ANNE PHILLIPSAction show ground water levels were replenished following the drought.Acreage Breakdown Canadian growers receiving slight price Donald says theyre at even better levelsFollowing demand drops in 2020 dueincreases, MacIsaac says.than at the start of the 2020 growingto the COVID-19 pandemic, contractWith the return of live events and season. volumes have increased with mostrestaurants across the continent reopening, french fries are in demand. On top of that, recent processing expansions at plants across the country, have spuds in hot demand. MacIsaac expects Canada needs around 8,500 more acres of spuds to fulfill processing demand.Chip demand did increase during the pandemic as people stayed home and turned to comfort food. Contract volumes for chipping potatoes in Canada are similar to last year, MacIsaac says.For fresh potatoes there has been a shift from red to yellow potatoes planted. This is in line with a larger overall demand shift happening across North America, presenters at the Crop Transition Conference, held in-person and virtually in Fargo, N.D. on June 14 said. Overall fresh potato acreage isnt expected to change much from last year though, MacIsaac expects. Make sure to check SpudSmart.com for updated acreage numbers from Statistics Canada. 14SPUDSMART.COM Summer 2021"