Supplies of Manitoba potatoes are even currently.
“Although supplies are down from last year we have plenty of supplies for the Canadian market. We may not be as active in the U.S. market this year but we will still be there for our regular customers,” says Pamela Kolochuk of Peak of the Market based in Winnipeg, MB. She adds that supplies are down approximately 25-30 percent compared to last year at this time but its holdings are comparable to the year before.
Pamela Kolochuk, CEO (right) and Adrian Absalom, operations manager (left) of Peak of the Market.
For Peak of the Market, which is marketing its 1.5lb. red and yellow creamer potato and a yellow fingerling 1.5lb. pack this year, its supplies come largely from southern Manitoba near Winkler while competing product comes from across North America including regions such as Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C. Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Idaho, Washington and North Dakota.
At the same time demand has increased on Manitoba potatoes--and could continue to--due to events on both sides of Canada. “There’s increased demand from the West right now because of the supply issues created by the flooding in B.C. There is also some increased demand from U.S. buyers who may have been purchasing from P.E.I. but have seen that supply cut off because of the restrictions put in place due to potato wart,” says Kolochuk. “The P.E.I. situation is a wild card and with them having a bumper crop, and no current options for shipping to the U.S., it’s uncertain how that is going to affect the Canadian market.”
At the same time, in the next few weeks Peak of the Market will be busy with its Farm to School vegetable fundraising program and the upcoming Christmas rush. “We’ll watch how things develop in P.E.I. and B.C. in the coming days and weeks to see how the unfortunate events in those two areas unfold,” says Kolochuk.
Also challenging growers and shippers, including Peak, currently are logistics. “There are increased freight costs driven by higher gas prices, driver and equipment shortages and now the coming COVID-19 mandates for drivers crossing the Canadian/U.S. border makes things difficult. The flooding in B.C. has just highlighted these challenges as we struggle to get product to customers at reasonable prices,” says Kolochuk.
Meanwhile on pricing, they’ve been stable over the last few weeks and look similar to pricing this time last year.