North America

Potato power: Potatoes serve high quality plant protein that helps to maintain women’s muscles

Researchers from McMaster University have found that the potato, primarily known as a starchy vegetable, can be a source of high-quality protein that helps to maintain muscle. The findings, reported in the journal Nutrients, highlight the potential benefits of what is considered a non-traditional source of protein, particularly as dietary trends change and worldwide demand has increased for plant-based alternatives to animal-derived sources. This study provides evidence that the quality of proteins from plants can support muscle.

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Under shadow of COVID-19, Prince Edward Island potato growers face uncertain season

Some of Canada’s Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potato farmers have already begun planting this year’s crop. But even before most potatoes are in the ground, many producers are facing an uncertain future for their product, which could affect decisions they make around what to plant this spring, along with the money they’re able to make once potatoes have been harvested. An overall drop in potato acres planted this season is expected, and a drop in revenues.

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A world-only? Mr Potato Head in Rhode Island now “COVID-correct” with face mask and all…

If there is something that can be said for certain about potato lovers around the world, it is that they all passionately care not only about their favourite veggie, but most often about each other’s welfare. This simple truth can be seen when you look at the loving care bestowed on the Mr Potato Head statue at the Clements’ Marketplace in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He now (dutifully) wears a face mask – signifying the realities of the times we live in today.

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NPC CEO on COVID-19 and its impact on the potato industry

The Eye on Potatoes Podcast is brought to you by the National Potato Council. This is the place to tune in for conversations with growers and thought leaders on advocacy, production and all things potatoes. National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles and Eye on Potatoes host Lane Nordlund sat down during this podcast to discuss the latest on COVID-19, its impact on the potato industry, the government response, and how NPC and its state partners are supporting growers in this unprecedented time.

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Idaho potatoes to be sold online?

According to a Capital Press report, the Idaho Potato Commission is considering advertising on major online sales platforms such as Amazon, Walmart and Kroger Co. websites. “If we ran a program starting in May through August, it could cost a little over $100,000,” Commission CEO Frank Muir said. Costs would be covered by recently lower spending on travel and on certain promotion and incentive programs. He has not yet made a formal recommendation to commissioners.

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Podcast: Adding to the potato rotation to boost soil health

This episode of the Potatoes in Canada podcast series “Tuber Talk” focuses on the practices in Prince Edward Island, one of Canada’s largest potato producing provinces. Ryan Barrett, research coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board, shares what crops P.E.I. producers are adding to the rotation to boost soil health. Barrett discusses what they’ve seen with mustards, buckwheat, sorghum sudangrass, Pearl millet, on top of sharing his experiences working on the Island.

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Medius Ag announces expanded agricultural data management services, new Director of Business Development

Agricultural data management company Medius Ag is announcing the expansion of its software solutions to a broader range of commodities around the globe through the launch of its new platform, Medius.Re. Medius Ag is also announcing the addition of Ryan Krabill as the company’s Director of Business Development. Mr. Krabill, a 15-year veteran of U.S. agriculture and early collaborator with Medius Ag, will manage outreach to other commodities around the globe from his office in Denver, Colorado.

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Breakthrough: US potato industry welcomes $50 million USDA purchase of potatoes

The National Potato Council today welcomed USDA’s announcement of a $50 million surplus potato purchase to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The potato purchase, the largest of all the specialty crop purchases, was part of a $470 million Section 32 food purchase announced by USDA. This purchase is in addition to those previously announced by USDA.

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Canada’s British Columbia potato farmers face tough decisions as demand for fries fizzles

Beauty is only a peeler away. B.C. potato farmers in Canada are hoping grocery shoppers will embrace less-than-perfect Kennebec potatoes, a variety that’s usually turned into fresh-cut french fries, as local restaurant demand has fizzled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only have B.C. restaurants cut their potato orders, reduced demand across Canada has led to a glut of Kennebec potatoes on the fresh market. That’s led to downward pressure on prices as potatoes from other provinces find their way to B.C.

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Washington farmers’ COVID plight: ‘What do you do with a billion pounds of potatoes that you can’t sell?’

The coronavirus pandemic has left Washington’s farmers with at least a billion pounds of potatoes they can’t sell, a new crop growing without any buyers and millions of dollars in debt they have no way to pay. As it turns out, getting rid of a billion pounds of spuds isn’t easy — or cheap. It usually takes Washington farmers a year to sell that quantity to grocery stores. “Now we’re trying to move it in a couple months,” Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission said.

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‘A season when dreams die’ – Coronavirus cuts into global french fry demand

For farmer Mike Pink, spring is supposed to be a time of hope, when he can survey a green field of young potato plants and anticipate the bounty to be pulled from the sandy soils of the Columbia Basin. Hal Bernton, Associated Press reports. This year, this is a season when dreams die. Due to an epic potato glut that imploded his market, he has decided to do what was once unthinkable — destroy part of his crop rather than sink more dollars into cultivation. By early April, potato processors had decided to reduce their contracted acreage by about 20 percent, according to Chris Voigt of the Washington Potato Commission.

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US: AgweekTV – Planting progress, coronavirus and custom combiners, potato donation, ag recovery outlook

In this week’s on AgweekTV full show for May 2 – 3, 2020: Planting is progressing better than expected and better than last year here in the Western Corn Belt. The coronavirus crisis is causing big challenges for custom combiners. Lamb Weston, RDO Frozen donate potatoes to the Great Plains Food Bank – which were meant originally for area restaurants. And ag economist Dr. David Kohl discusses how agriculture will recover from COVID-19.

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PGA Executive Director: ‘Vulnerability of the Canadian supply chain tested to its limits’

In an Executive Director report, Terence Hochstein of the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) says: “As I write this article for May 1st, Canada is now 107 days from the first reported case of COVID-19. Never in the history of mankind has the entire world come to a screeching halt; the world economy is completely upside down. There are millions of opinions out there as to the seriousness of this pandemic and the forever lasting effects of what our lives will look like in the future.”

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UPGC released planting recommendations for 2020 Canadian potato crop

The United Potato Growers of Canada released the following information regarding planting recommendations for the 2020 potato crop. As growers head to the fields with their potato planters, much uncertainty lies about future demand for the crop and what is the appropriate supply to meet the needs of the public as their buying and eating habits evolve due to COVID-19 distancing requirements.

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Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce releases spring potato planting video

It’s been said that seeing is believing, and sometimes giving customers and consumers a peek into your operations is a surefire way to gain their trust. This is a strategy Eagle Eye Produce has long believed in, launching innovative short videos to spread its message in a unique way. Most recently, the company released a montage video highlighting its spring potato planting in Eastern Idaho.

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Prepare for the ‘ultimate gaslighting’

Gaslighting, if you don’t know the word, is defined as ‘manipulation into doubting your own sanity’; as in, Carl made Mary think she was crazy, even though she clearly caught him cheating. He gaslit her. Pretty soon, as the country begins to figure out how we “open back up” and move forward, very powerful forces will try to convince us all to get back to normal. (That never happened. What are you talking about?) Billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, messaging, and television and media content to make you feel comfortable again. It will come in the traditional forms — a billboard here, a hundred commercials there — and in new-media forms: a 2020–2021 generation of memes to remind you that what you want again is normalcy.

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Canada’s meat-and-potato problem: Coronavirus pandemic hits the food supply chain

Canada’s potato industry joins a growing number of food sectors that finds itself in crisis, a crisis sparked by the near elimination of demand for french fries. Global News has learned that the Canadian Potato Council, which represents 1,000 potato growers across the country, sent a letter Thursday to Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau requesting “urgent required interventions” that the council says are vital to protect the potato industry and food security in Canada.

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Coronavirus pandemic leads to Idaho potato market distress

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a once strong potato market to make an abrupt about-face, leading some Idaho growers to dump surplus spuds from storage cellars or to feed them to cattle. Just a few weeks ago, Idaho potato farmers were enjoying some of their best fresh prices in recent memory and anticipated supplies would run short in the coming summer. The combination of lower spud yields and widespread frost damage during the 2019 harvest had contributed to a smaller statewide crop than normal, the Post Register reported Saturday.

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Packer Interview – Houston Food Bank reports on the ‘Buy Fresh’ program

The Packer’s Tom Karst visited April 24 with Sabrina Bosiacki, agriculture industry manager for the Houston Food Bank, about the promise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Buy Fresh Program. “The amount of need that we’re seeing right now is unprecedented,” Bosiacki said. “Just two days ago (April 22), we distributed 1.3 million pounds of food in a single day, which far surpasses our old record that we had attained post-hurricane Harvey; so we’ve never seen anything like this before since we became a food bank in the 80s.”

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Organic farmers pivot from selling to restaurants to homes amid coronavirus

New York’s farmers who can no longer sell crops to Big Apple restaurants are turning to a new business model: Boxing up produce for the growing hordes of home cooks, Jennifer Gould Keil reports in New York Post. Zaid Kurdieh, an organic farmer in Norwich, NY, used to rely on sales to top chefs and restaurateurs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller and Danny Meyer for 60 percent of his revenues. But with Gotham’s dining scene shuttered, Kurdieh has pivoted from packing up “hundreds of pounds” of produce for restaurateurs to curating 12- to 24-pound food boxes for home chefs.

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Plummeting french fry sales has Canadian potato industry re-evaluating

French fry sales are down across North America as tens of thousands of restaurants have closed during COVID-19, which means the potato industry has to adapt quickly. Companies that turn potatoes into french fries, wedges and hash browns are slowing down production, because there isn’t enough space to store all the frozen product, reports Alexis Kienlen in Alberta Farmer. While french fry sales have stagnated, potato chip sales are up. United Potato Growers of Canada is trying to figure out the amount of potatoes in storage so it can forecast how much production will be needed this coming year.

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Potatoes USA: ‘Potatoes show largest sales increase of all vegetables sold at retail in March’

Retail purchases of all potato products were 41 percent higher in March 2020 compared to the same time frame last year, according to figures released by industry marketing body, Potatoes USA. “Consumers give potatoes high marks for being a satisfying food that everyone enjoys and for being a great value,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Fresh potatoes have experienced a 42 percent volume increase since the beginning of March and a 67 percent year-over-year dollar sales increase as of the end of the first week of April.

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Side Delights Gourmet Petite Potatoes receives US packaging design award

Side Delights® announced its third packaging design award in five years. Graphic Design USA announced its 57th American Packaging Design Awards online today, including The Side Delights® Gourmet Petite fresh potato package. The design was created to include a clean, elegant design that evokes the feeling of a white tablecloth restaurant.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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