Category Archives: potatoes

Growing Canada’s emerging sweet potato industry

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland – Canada’s first sweet potato variety is expected for release next year. And now work is underway to ensure Canadian farmers can also access sweet potato cuttings – called slips – right here at home.

To help meet booming Canadian demand for sweet potatoes, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is developing new varieties that grow well in Canada’s cooler climate and shorter growing season.

About 1,700 acres of the healthy tuber are currently grown in Canada – mostly in southern Ontario’s Norfolk County – but they’re all longer season varieties from the southern United States.

That’s also where Canada’s growers are getting their sweet potato slips every spring to plant their crops, but they can be in short supply and quality could be compromised.

“Canadian sweet potato growers use U.S. propagators and breeding programs because we don’t have the infrastructure and varieties here,” said research scientist Viliam Zvalo of Vineland. “Also, slip propagation has to be started in March when the ground could still be frozen in Canada. Our challenge is to figure out how we can produce them here so we can supply Canadian growers with quality slips at a reasonable price.” Continue reading

More Ontario potatoes on Ontario plates

Varieties being tested - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario – Watch the video

Elora, Ontario – Ontario’s potato growers have teamed up with researchers at the University of Guelph to identify new potato varieties that grow well in this province and are both tasty and nutritious to consumers.

The early fresh potato market in Ontario – the first potatoes of the season to come to market, generally in early July – is dominated by round, white potatoes. Very few early red or yellow potato varieties, which have more nutritional value-added potential, are currently available to be grown in Ontario.

“The early fresh market is very valuable, worth about $4 million a year, so we are looking to identify and establish red and yellow varieties for this market that are grown in Ontario, and adapted to the Ontario market and climate,” explains Vanessa Currie, a Research Technician in the University of Guelph Department of Plant Agriculture working on the project, which is supported by the Ontario Farm Innovation Program. Continue reading