Demand strong for Manitoba potatoes

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THIS year's crop in Manitoba, Canada, is good quality despite yields being negatively impacted for a second year.

Larry McIntosh of Peak of the Market in Winnipeg, Manitoba, said in a recent interview with Fresh Plaza: "Supplies of fresh potatoes are about the same as last year which wasn’t a great year. In comparison to the last five years, it’s average but it’s a good quality crop. We had the least amount of rain in the last five years so there were some drought conditions and unfortunately not all of our acreage is irrigated. Overall, the potato yields were affected.”

However this year’s harvest had gone more smoothly than last year, when a big snowstorm hindered the last bit of harvesting, he said. He said the sizing of the potatoes is good, especially on yellows and reds.

At the same time, demand for potatoes is strong. “Obviously, restaurants are not ordering a lot of potatoes and they’re going through a very tough time. But our retail grocery stores sales have picked up because people are eating at home more. To some degree, during the pandemic, people are rediscovering potatoes,” Larry said.

He doesn’t anticipate sales to necessarily strengthen given the lockdowns that various parts of Canada are seeing. “I think compared to the beginning of the pandemic, people realize that the grocery stores will remain open and that they can go to the store or get groceries delivered. We haven’t seen the big spike in sales that we saw in March and there’s no reason to. We want people to buy potatoes as needed and don’t want to see food wasted either,” he said.

Meanwhile pricing for potatoes is even. “It’s come down from the spring because there are a lot of areas that have potatoes this year and it’s early into the season. It’s a good price but not as strong as it was earlier in the year,” Larry said.

Source and photo: Fresh Plaza

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