The potato is arguably one of the most versatile side dishes out there. You can bake it, mash it, roast it, and of course make french fries with it. Soon in Canada though, you may not be able to do any of those things.
Canada is currently facing a nationwide potato shortage that farmers are calling completely unprecedented. Bad weather conditions led to one of the worst harvests in Canadian history and that means we could run out potatoes really soon.
First off, the summer was dry and hot which made for a tricky growing season. Next, a frost in September killed any hopes of more growth. Then all the rain we got across the country recently pushed the actual potato harvest back further. To seal the deal, a huge drop in temperatures in early November completely froze the ground and made the potatoes impossible to harvest.
The United Potato Growers of Canada estimated that this year at least 16,000 acres of potatoes were abandoned because of this bad weather. They released a harvest report across the country, and some provinces had it way worse than others.
In PEI, Canada's official potato capital, they were definitely hit hardest by the weather. Farmers there had to abandon 6800 acres of potatoes. Manitoba didn't have it much better with 5200 acres of potatoes being abandoned. Other provinces like Alberta, Quebec, and New Brunswick also had big issues with anywhere from 500-2000 acres of potatoes being abandoned.
The report doesn't provide specific numbers but in Ontario and Saskatchewan they do mention difficult growing seasons and point to massive shortages in both those provinces. This also means that the number of acres abandoned is actually much higher than 16,000. The only province where there was actually a decent harvest was in BC.
For customers, this means some scary things. Obviously, there is a big risk that the country is going to run out of potatoes, not just in grocery stores but restaurants too. Even if we don't run out, prices are going to go up.
With a lower supply and typically high demand, there are going to be price hikes to deal with the lack of supply. So if you're a big potato person, you should probably stock up for the winter now.
Source: CTV News