‘Smil­ing’ spuds on sale

Eyes Ir­ish Gold pota­toes in­tro­duced

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

A field of spuds sport­ing prom­i­nent bright pink and pur­ple blos­soms cap­tured the in­ter­est of mo­torists trav­el­ling along High­way 2 through Wood­stock last sum­mer.

Now, those mo­torists can get their first taste of that new va­ri­ety of pota­toes be­ing mar­keted by Ma­cLean Farms Ltd.

They’re a yel­low flesh va­ri­ety with a splash of pink around the eyes.

“There’s one that’s kind of smil­ing,” says Johnny Ma­cLean, pa­tri­arch of the West Devon­based farm­ing op­er­a­tion, in se­lect­ing a potato from a bag. He notes some of the eyes on his Smilin’ Eyes Ir­ish Gold pota­toes ap­pear to be smil­ing.

For Ma­cLean, who took off his 40th potato crop in 2015, this ex­ten­sion to his op­er­a­tion is all about po­si­tion­ing it for the fu­ture, as he has two sons and a daugh­ter ac­tively in­volved in the run­ning of the farm.

Ma­cLean Farms grew around 100 acres of the new va­ri­ety this year and the fam­ily is now ea­ger to get them into cus­tomers’ hands, con­fi­dent they will like the taste and the tex­ture.

He said they are good baked, boiled and fried.

“The taste’s the big thing. The best potato I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve been eat­ing pota­toes for a long while,” Ma­cLean said.

Point­ing out there are 20 mil­lion peo­ple of Ir­ish ances­try along the east­ern se­aboard, he hopes the name and the taste ap­peals to them.

“I’m only half-Ir­ish,” he said, “but it’s a strong half.”

In ad­di­tion to in­tro­duc­ing the new va­ri­ety, the farm op­er­a­tion is leas­ing the for­mer OPP wash plant, which has been idle in O’Leary for the last five years. They are pack­ing the new va­ri­ety there and the ware­house is also avail­able for cus­tom wash­ing of ap­proved stock.

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