Potato shortages likely in Saskatchewan: Vegetable specialist

By Nigel Maxwell
December 4, 2018 - 4:00pm

Potato shortages are likely in Saskatchewan but won't impact anyone's Christmas dinner, according to the province's top authority on vegetables.

The comment from Provincial Vegetable Specialist Connie Achtymichuk comes on the heels of a recent shortage warning from the United Potato Growers of Canada, which indicated this past fall's poor weather is to blame for a poor potato crop across the country. Saskatchewan's potato crop is split between seed potatoes (3,500) and table stock (3,000) and Achtymichuk said she believed quality would be difficult.

"Certainly anything that was harvested after the frost, they'll have some trouble storing," she said.

Achtymichuk said the shortages would not likely be felt in Saskatchewan until February or March. Saskatchewan has a few packaging plants, which supply provincial retail stores. 

"The majority of the potatoes that you do see, especially red potatoes, are actually grown here in Saskatchewan," she said.

Achtymichuk said the potato harvest typically happens in September, to allow the opportunity for a good skin set, but the combination of frost and rain this year stalled harvest.

"Once the temperature goes below minus 7 Celsius for a night, those potatoes are damaged," she said.

farmnewsNOW reached out to several grocery stores in the Prince Albert area including Save On Foods and Lake Country Co-Op and they all reported they had no concerns regarding shortages at this time. On Monday, the Prince Albert Food Bank received a donation of 150 pounds of potatoes from a local producer.

 

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