Why PEI Potatoes?
Growing world famous potatoes is much more than just an industry on Prince Edward Island, it’s been a way of life since the 1700s. Our growers are extremely close to the soil, many of them having grown up on the land they continue to farm.
It's in Our Nature
The average potato grower on the Island grew up on a farm, learning valuable lessons from the previous generation on successfully producing food for others. There are over 180 potato growers on PEI, with 96% of these being family farms. Most Islanders are connected to a potato farm in some way, either through direct employment or through their friends and family. The pride and care that our growers take in producing high quality potatoes is why PEI Potatoes are the best in the world.
Ideal Growing Conditions
PEI has ideal conditions for growing its most famous crop. Our red, iron-rich soil is perfectly suited for potatoes, as it retains just the right amount of moisture during the growing season. Warm summers, cold winters, and adequate rainfall result in excellent growing conditions with the right balance of heat, light, and water to maximize yields and tuber quality. The Island provides a distinct advantage for growing high quality potatoes as the ocean acts as a natural barrier against airborne or insect-borne diseases. As well, this easy access to the ocean facilitates transportation of the crop, while limited points of entry allow us to fully control the movement of potatoes into and out of the province.
It takes an Island
Recognized for their ideal taste and quality, there are currently over 100 varieties of PEI Potatoes that are currently shipped to over 20 countries across the world. Over 86,000 acres of potatoes are grown on PEI each year, making it the largest commercial crop grown on the Island. The potato industry is worth over one billion dollars to the Prince Edward Island economy every year, which includes the value of the crop, the direct employment generated, as well as the additional services and industries. As the #1 potato producing province in Canada, and the leading export for PEI, we're no small potatoes!
Spuds and Sustainability
Island growers practice environmentally sustainable farming practices and follow the most stringent environmental, economic, and social standards in Canada. PEI has the highest adoption rate in Canada for completion of Enhanced Environmental Farm Plans, which help farmers develop sustainable operational plans. PEI farmers understand the need to protect our land, waterways, air, and species, since our Island is very susceptible to changes in the natural environment. Growers help develop and implement strict environmental regulations in order to protect our environment for generations to come. Also, the potato industry works in close partnership with with various stakeholders to educate growers on best management practices, including managing pests responsibly, improving soil fertility, eliminating soil erosion, and improving plant health.
Perfecting the Potato
Prince Edward Island potato growers take pride in the quality of their product and show their commitment to quality in a number of different ways. For one, the industry tracks all movement of potatoes from the Island and monitors all shipments before leaving the province to ensure that only the highest quality potatoes are reaching consumers. Potato farmers also collectively own and operate an Elite Seed Farm, established in 1962, which is dedicated to producing high quality seed, monitoring plant health, and eradicating disease in seed stock.
For farmers on Prince Edward Island, producing the best is more than a job. It takes all the right ingredients, the work of many hands and the spirit to persevere. What does it take to grow a potato? Where we come from, it takes an Island.