Staple Irish spud comes to P.E.I.

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Potato field

If you celebrate this Saint Patrick’s Day like the Irish with that country's favourite potato variety, you’ll have the wife of former Premier Pat Binns to thank for it.

In a nod to the Irish, Sobeys will be giving away samples of farming company W.P. Griffin’s newly grown rooster potatoes today.

Carol Binns sampled the spud on trips to the Emerald Isle with her husband in his role as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland.

Binns knew John Griffin, president of the family-owned W.P. Griffin, and frequently bought Griffin’s produce at the Sobeys in Montague.

She said he had to bring in rooster potatoes.

“I started going after them at various trade shows,” said Griffin.

Now, as the business is getting ready to start the third year of growing the rooster, Griffin is leading the charge to introduce the potato to Canada.

W.P. Griffin will continue to supply Sobeys with the rooster until the end of April, on a trial basis.

If consumers take a liking to it, Griffin hopes to work with other local farmers to make the potato variety more widely available.

Prince Edward Island currently grows the most potatoes of any province, making up about 26 per cent of the market in 2014. If the new red-skinned, yellow-fleshed rooster takes the same trajectory on the Island as it did in Ireland, that number could increase.

The potato’s prevalence increased in the early 2000s, after being developed by the Irish. It soon took over mainland Britain as well, and is now the best seller in the United Kingdom.

Griffin said he has enjoyed the rooster mashed, baked or fried. He had a simple recipe for potato wedges, too.

“We cut them in wedges with a little olive oil and just stuck them in an oven on a cookie sheet.”

Organizations: Sobeys

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, Ireland Montague United Kingdom

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Recent comments

    March 18, 2016 - 10:26

    There is a glut of potatoes on the market and producers can't sell what they grow now. They are dumping potatoes in fields because of the glut.The Tignish co-op is selling local potatoes for $5.99 a 10 lb. bag and selling a 10 lb. bag of Griffins Heritage Russet potato for $2.00 a bag. How can they justify selling one bag @ $5.99 and another at $2.00 a bag. Both are local growers, one is small ($5.99) one is large ($2.00). Why is there such a discrepancy?