'Folks are excited' as P.E.I. potato planting season underway

Planting has already begun in southeastern P.E.I. as potato farmers look ahead to the coming season.

Soil conditions look good this spring

Potato planting will soon be underway across P.E.I. (CBC)

Planting has already begun in southeastern P.E.I. as potato farmers look ahead to the coming season.

"Spring is always an optimistic time of year." said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board.

"Folks are excited and good to get back out on the land. And so this year, you know, we're hopeful that we have better weather. Last year, we had a dry summer. So we're hoping that some of this rain we're getting these days will come in in July, August."

Donald said the conditions over the winter were good, with enough snow and rain to replenish the water table. The soil is still too cold for planting in most parts of the province, and rain over the last week has kept farmers off fields, but with warmer overnight temperatures in the coming weeks Donald expects farmers will be planting across the Island soon.

As with other industries, last year was a tumultuous time for potato growers, processors and marketers.

The bottom fell out of processed potato markets when the pandemic shut down restaurant dining rooms across the country. But as quickly as that market collapsed demand for table potatoes surged, requiring a rapid shift in operations.

Donald said farmers are hoping for a return to more normal markets this year.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker


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