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Canada is facing a potato shortage
June 11, 2012 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Poor potato crop leaves processors short of spuds Canada is facing a potato shortage, mainly because of poor growing conditions last summer. That has sent wholesale prices for some spuds soaring and forced processors such as Toronto-based McCain Foods Ltd. to temporarily close some plants.
posted by Blake (23 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
β€œThe weather forecast? Who knows.”

Well, that about sums that up, eh?
posted by HuronBob at 7:22 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


processors short of spuds? so microchips are now made from potatochips? (that's how I first interpreted processors).
posted by symbioid at 7:38 AM on June 11, 2012


'Poutine Aid' doesn't sound catchy enough to get Geldof interested...
posted by dowcrag at 7:38 AM on June 11, 2012


Not far away in NY State our fruit crops took very heavy hits from the weird spring. This is apple country, so it will be tough for lots of folks. No word yet on NY spuds and onions.

The strange weather will be getting more frequent and common, and natural pollinators (bats and bees) are in trouble. I'd say we'd all best get used to rising prices and produce shortages.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2012


Chiming in with kinnakeet, some Upstate NY cherry growers faced such poor harvest prospects this season, due to unusual weather, that they chose not to bring any crop in.

Is there a central best-of-the-web source for looking at presentations of regional crop harvest variabilty and volatility? I imagine USDA has some of the data, but I'd love to see it pre-digested and mapped for me.
posted by Glomar response at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2012


I posted previously about the loss to the apple, cherry, and other fruit crops - which made sense with the overall too warm but erratic winter damaging buds; but I never would have thought about the potato crop; this will be a big deal.

We already have seen a dramatic rise in grocery prices in general in Ontario over the past few years - more expensive produce this summer & beyond is going to make that worse, and I don't see this erratic weather slowing down with climate change going forward... yet another signpost to the (inevitable, I feel) bumpy years ahead.
posted by flex at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2012


The article stated that the Idaho spud crop seems to be OK, I should still be able to eat enough fries to kill me.

kinnakeet... our Michigan apple and cherry crops were pretty much wiped out as well.
posted by HuronBob at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2012


"I don't see this erratic weather slowing down with climate change going forward..."

Or as they like to say on the right side of the aisle here in the states: "What climate change?"
posted by HuronBob at 8:02 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be nice to see this change the minds of climate change deniers but it won't. Nothing will.
posted by tommasz at 8:10 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


How's the sweet potato crop looking?
posted by me3dia at 8:26 AM on June 11, 2012


Good that Canada will have to finally pay more for something- NAFTA let big corporations move to Canada for cheap labor and export back to the US at higher prices. Try doing that with spuds... heh heh
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2012


Good that Canada will have to finally pay more for something

(a) Canada pays more for everything, all the time, at least as regards consumer goods. Even when the Canadian dollar is valued at $1.05 US, consumer goods here cost about 20% more than identical goods sold in the USA. Books, other media, vehicles, electronics – everything is subject to about a 10–20% mark-up pre-taxes.

(b) What in the world are you talking about? Canada's just as much a NAFTA/Free Trade victim as the U.S. has been, with most major manufacturers shipping jobs overseas or to Mexico. Harper is turning this entire country into a natural resource strip-mining project to serve U.S. interests.
posted by Shepherd at 9:00 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ah man, so glad Shep chimed in before me, seeing a crazy mark up on produce from over the border in Seattle is terrible.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:17 AM on June 11, 2012


It would be nice to see this change the minds of climate change deniers but it won't. Nothing will.

I assume minds will change when it's bad enough to affect their wallets. Even then I'm sure they'll find some other thing to blame it on.
posted by elizardbits at 9:37 AM on June 11, 2012


I assume minds will change when it's bad enough to affect their wallets.

Nah, they'll just find a way to make it affect our wallets instead.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


*begins hoarding ketchup*
posted by jonmc at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2012


No potatoes? No cherries? *cries*
posted by Cranberry at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2012


Cheap labor in Canada? Not in this decade. Or last decade.

Maybe Colonel Panic was being sarcastic.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2012


We will need a bigger event for this to truly trickle-down to us little folk. The modest increase in price at the retail/foodservice level is going to be hardly noticable. McCain and Simplot have a number of competators that have domestic sources and are more vertically integrated. They will pick up their slack. The chances of us actually noticing an increase in price is slim. This is a 1%-er's problem.
posted by pistolswing at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I assume minds will change when it's bad enough to affect their wallets.

That's my hope too. But I don't think it's realistic: their/our wealth insulates us from the effects of those changes until whole systems start to collapse.
posted by sneebler at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2012


We will need a bigger event for this to truly trickle-down to us little folk. The modest increase in price at the retail/foodservice level is going to be hardly noticable.

That hasn't been what I've perceived so far - an uptick in costs translates to an uptick in prices whether or not businesses pick up the slack sooner or later. Gas prices are still high, bread prices are still high: once businesses saw that consumers would pay more - that we would absorb the hit and keep consuming - why lower their prices again if they don't have to? I'm not exactly trusting them to pass the savings on to the little people.

(Do I even need to mention the HST here... businesses saved money so prices went up?)
posted by flex at 1:49 PM on June 11, 2012


> We will need a bigger event for this to truly trickle-down to us little folk

Is there anyone who's a gardener and also a climate change denier? Probably not. But then, most people don't get a chance to grow their own food. Urban life. I hate it. But it's the mainstream. The changing climate has been obvious to me for a long time, and the fact that numbers show it is changing, only confirms the obvious. But if you live in a concrete world full of virtual realities (ie anyone who does) then I guess you can believe anything you like.
posted by Listener at 2:48 PM on June 11, 2012


But if you live in a concrete world full of virtual realities (ie anyone who does) then I guess you can believe anything you like.

One problem is that the bulk of voters live in cities, and are insulated from personal experience of climate change. If they have gardens, many of them just nod and say, "bring on the warm weather".

Here's part of a report from Canada's largest insurance company:
"Climate change is an important issue for society at large. With rising temperatures, heavier precipitation and an increasing number of extreme weather events, we are seeing the impact of our new climate reality firsthand,"
posted by sneebler at 5:53 PM on June 11, 2012


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