A potato grower and two of his employees from Orwell Cove, P.E.I. are banking on a new piece of equipment they've designed to stop the food from bruising.
Randy Visser said he hopes the "EZ Down" will be a hit at the potato expo in Charlottetown this weekend. It will be the first time the $15,000 machine will be seen in public.
The partners were looking for a way to get potatoes from high conveyor belts to storage boxes below while preventing the potatoes from bouncing around and getting bruised.
The machine they invented loads potatoes from above and as the potatoes are released below more are loaded. The spuds never fall. Instead, they buffer each other.
Visser’s farm had been using it in their warehouse for a few years and thought other farmers might be interested, so the team made a prototype.
“We just thought, it worked great so we started tweaking it and improving it and whatever,” he said.
Visser said farmers can get more money for their crop with less bruising.
“Anytime you do something better it's a good thing, right? It should pay off,” he said.
Visser said the machine could work for other crops too.
“Onions, carrots, beets, a lot of produce, fruits, vegetables. I mean there'd be all kinds of industries that probably could use something like this. And who knows what else, I mean, manufacturing, there could very well be some opportunity there too,” he said.
The partners have put $60,000 of their own money into the project.
“If your butt is on the line you're going to do what it takes to make it work,” he said.