Devastating season – 500 million pounds of Canadian potatoes wasted

Potatoes look like shoe leather when fried.

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A trifecta of bad weather across Canada — a rainy spring, a hot summer and an extremely cold fall — saw an estimated 6,000 hectares of potatoes abandoned.

All three misfortunes hitting most provinces in the same year is “unprecedented,” said United Potato Growers general manager Kevin MacIsaac.

“I’ve been involved in the industry myself for 25-plus years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said MacIsaac. “You fry it up and you go, ‘Oh my God, it’s a brown shoe’,” he said.

The season altered the chemical makeup of some potatoes, making them liable to turn brown, like shoe leather, when fried, said Rickey Yada, dean of the University of British Columbia’s faculty of land and food systems.

When potatoes are exposed to cold and freezing, they convert their starch into sugar, a process known as low-temperature sweetening. With a higher sugar content, the potatoes turn brown faster when fried.

What caused the switch over to “shoe leather”?

First came the rainy spring, meaning that the potatoes were late to the ground. They were further stunted by a dry, hot summer, said MacIsaac. Rain throughout September and October (only six days in the entire month when it did not rain) posed issues for harvesting equipment, which don’t operate well in mud.

Then came extreme cold in late fall, which left the top layer of potatoes exposed to freezing – and boom! – four-and-a-half per cent of the entire national potato crop destroyed.

This is exactly what I’ve been warning you about. 

It doesn’t take a full-blown ice age to affect food supplies. All it takes is heavy rain in the spring, which delays planting, and then heavy rain or freezing in the fall, which hampers harvesting and you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

This is the sort of thing that happened during the Little Ice Age, when literally millions – millions! – of people died of starvation.

The potato-pocalypse: Bad growing season could mean we’re in for a year of stumpy, brown french fries

Thanks to Anthony Power in Ottawa for this link

The post Devastating season – 500 million pounds of Canadian potatoes wasted appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now

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December 27, 2018 at 02:34PM

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