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A Taste of Summer: New PEI Potatoes!

(Charlottetown, PEI  -  August 3, 2017)  New potatoes have been hitting Island grocery stores, and roadside stands are popping up across Prince Edward Island.  Locals and tourists alike savour this taste of Island summer.
Prince Edward Island potato producers, market gardeners, and students employ all sorts of methods to meet this demand for early potatoes.  The first step is green sprouting the seed to ensure that when it goes in the ground, it is ready to grow. 
After planting, many growers cover the potato drills with plastic or floating row cover if they hope to have some crop to market by late June and early July.  This helps to warm up the soil and air underneath, protecting the emerging plants from late frosts and encouraging early growth.  
Before all this takes place, variety selection is key.  Potato varieties vary in maturity, from as early as 60 days to long season varieties that will grow for over 120 days.  Common early season varieties on PEI include:  Irish Cobbler (an old time favourite), Eramosa (a creamy tasting potato), Superior (a standard commercial early) and Jemseg (usually the first one ready).  Often these early potatoes are marketed by variety name and many people have their favourite.
Fresh produce is a key part of the reputation PEI has as Canada’s Food Island, and potatoes certainly have a starring role.  New potatoes are great on the barbeque, in a salad, or simply boiled with some butter, salt and pepper!
Prince Edward Island Potatoes are world renowned for the great taste and quality that comes from growing in the unique red soil of PEI. The potato industry in PEI creates a total economic impact of $1.065 billion dollars and directly or indirectly employs over 12% of the Island workforce. The Prince Edward Island Potato Board is a producer-controlled association dedicated to supporting the highest performance of an economically and environmentally sustainable potato industry.  For more information, please visit www.peipotato.com.