WHAT ARE POTATOES?
Potatoes are tubers. A tuber is a fleshy, food-storing swelling
at the tip of an underground stem, also called a stolon. Potatoes
have white, brown, purple or red skin and white or golden flesh.
WHERE ARE POTATOES PRODUCED IN BC?
The main areas where potatoes are grown are the Lower Mainland,
Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and the Kootenay.
HOW MANY POTATOES DO WE PRODUCE?
BC produces about 71,000 tonnes of potatoes valued at $20
million. This quantity of potatoes would create a pile 10m high by
10m wide and 11.3km long.
HOW ARE POTATOES PRODUCED?
grow from eyes which are pieces cut from seed potatoes. As potatoes
grow they must be hilled when the plants are 20 to 30cm high.
Hilling is done by covering the base of the plant with soil to
prevent the potatoes from exposure to light which causes them to
turn green. Before harvesting, potato vines are killed to allow the
skin to set. A mechanical harvester is used to pick the potatoes.
Potatoes need to be harvested at certain temperatures to maximize
the length of time they can be stored. If the temperature is too
warm, the pulp deteriorates before cooling can occur. If temperature
is too cool, the potatoes are bruised during harvest.
WHAT DOES A POTATO LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
potatoes, potato chips and French fries are the most common uses for
potatoes. They are a good source of potassium, iron, thiamin, folic
acid and vitamin C. The nutritive value of potatoes is reduced the
more the potato is processed. Thus, French fries have about one-half
as much vitamin C as boiled or mashed potatoes have. Potatoes are
about 80% water.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE POTATO LEAVES THE FARM?
are harvested from early summer through to late fall. Those
harvested during the summer and early fall are trucked to on-farm
packing operations or processors. At these facilities, the potatoes
are washed, graded, packaged and distributed to buyers throughout BC
and western Canada. Potatoes for processing in BC go mainly for the
making of potato chips.
Those harvested in the fall are put into storage, and loads are
removed and distributed to wholesalers and processors as the market
demands. Approximately 40% of the main crop goes for processing,
with the remaining 60% destined for the fresh market.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE POTATO PRODUCER FACE?
Potato late blight and insect pests are a concern for potato
growers. A new program is in place to map the occurrence of plant
diseases and insect infestation in a geographic information system.
By knowing where disease and insect problems are likely to occur,
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) can be utilized more efficiently.
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING POTATOES?
- Potato grower
- Field workers
- Seed potato producer
- Employees in processing plants
- Agri-business suppliers
1 medium potato (148g)
||Calories from Fat 0
||% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 0g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 26g
|Dietary Fibre 3g
|Vitamin A 0%
||Vitamin C 45%
|*Percent Daily Values are based
on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Interesting Fact About Potatoes:
Potatoes are the most grown vegetable in the world. In BC,
there are more potatoes grown than any other vegetable.
- Contacts and other resources:
- BCMAL - Field Vegetable Information
- BC Vegetable Marketing
- InfoBasket: Your Portal to Agri-Food Information on the Internet