Helluva story

The potato is an exceptional vegetable that is high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It has endured through the times and found its way unscathed through changing fashions, nourishing generations of Quebecers. Versatile and inexpensive, the potato has always had its place on our plates. Today, it is reinventing itself, delighting our senses with its many varieties and countless tasty recipes.

235 growers
22 processors
1,2 1.2 billion pounds of
potato each year
(Just imagine: 120 million
10-pound bags!)
There once was an extraordinary vegetable

Most likely introduced to Lower Canada by the British around 1760, the potato was not as well liked then as it is now. But with colonization (1840-1950), things changed. Considering that the potato is easy to cultivate and can survive changing temperatures, it adapted to all types of land, from the Gaspésie region all the way up to the Abitibi-Témiscamingue area. The spud became an ally, helping to nourish innumerable families and serving as an important staple in people’s diets. Whether in a fricassée, or just plain boiled or browned, the potato can do much more than serve as a side to meat.

The potato is everywhere

Recent decades have seen the potato remaking itself. While it remains an all-time classic that people love to eat, it has become far more refined thanks to original and creative recipes. Come to think about it, it is difficult to imagine the foods that we eat without the humble potato. Extract it from our plates and meals fall flat. Gone are shepherd’s pie, poutine, meat pie, gratin dauphinois, gnocchi, chips, fries, velvety soups, potato salad and potato doughnuts. When all is said and done, life would be boring without potatoes!

The call of the shack !

In Quebec, 235 growers, 22 processors, dozens of distributors and 860 canteen keepers dedicate their lives to the potato. Together, they turn the wheels of an industry that is vital to Quebec, generating thousands of jobs.

 

Did you know that Quebec is the only place in the world that boasts “potato shacks”, modest roadside canteens dedicated to our beloved root vegetable? There is one in each village, where, guided by the aroma of fresh fries, folks like to drop by and grab a bite. After all, what’s life without a treat here and there!

Digging up the first potatoes of the year truly feels like unearthing a treasure.

Farming: a profession that has evolved

Half a century ago, harvesting was still barely mechanized, and most tasks were performed manually. Nowadays, in the fields and on the packaging line, workers use specialized machinery. This evolution allows for a vision of productivity that is in harmony with nature, via the use of “sustainable” agriculture. Sustainable agriculture uses georeferencing, taking into account a field’s spatial positioning and its ecology.

Although technological advances have been dazzling, the farming profession remains essential. Today’s growers must demonstrate expertise in several areas, as well as knowledge spanning a variety of topics, such as agronomics, engineering, mechanics and construction.

We certainly like our taters!

In Quebec, more than 80% of potatoes sold on the market are grown within the province, with 43,000 acres of land dedicated to producing them. On average, no less than 1.2 billion pounds of Quebec potatoes make their way to our plates each year.

Now that’s a helluva story!

« On our plates, the potato reigns supreme. »

Portraits of our people

From the fields to our plates, the spud travels a route consisting of several steps involving tens of workers and their families. From planting to distributing not to mention harvesting and preserving, potatoes enjoy various adventures before making their way to our plates at home. We are in pursuit of the potato, from its roots in the fields all the way to its arrival at our tables.