The Ontario potato crop overall is good with a plentiful supply. “Quality is hit and miss--there’s variable quality across the province because of the overall growing conditions that were tough depending on when they were planted and harvested,” says Quinton Woods of Gwillimdale Farms, adding that some of the later plantings saw more moisture. As for volume, it’s average and variable from grower to grower.
As for the timing of the crop, Woods says it had a very open window with good weather, albeit warmer at certain times than is preferred. “Overall it was a very good harvest,” he says.
Meanwhile, demand is steady for Ontario potatoes. “With the inflation and household debt and interest rates, consumers are being more selective in what they’re purchasing and making what they are purchasing going longer,” Woods adds. “Demand is steady but it could be better.” With that in mind, Gwillimdale is continuing with its #2 product line that it introduced last year--a full line of retail-packed #2 product.
As for a holiday “bump” in demand, the demand for Canadian and U.S. Thanksgiving might indicate what to expect. “Looking back, there were bigger volumes for those holidays but not what they traditionally are. We’re expecting a bump but I don’t think that bump will be as large as they were pre-COVID,” Woods says.
That’s all leaving pricing slightly down over last year which is challenging given that input costs continue to increase. “With the consumer issues out there, that’s a force in driving pricing down,” he says. “I do see pricing staying here for quite a while. I think if there’s going to be any change in pricing, it will be late in the season so it will be a steady path for the next couple of months.”