Potatoes – there’s no denying these humble tubers are one of PEI’s biggest claims to fame. And we certainly haven’t shied away from celebrating this edible Island icon with songs (cue Bud the Spud), cookbooks, and souvenirs. Hey, we even have an entire museum dedicated to the potato—it’s in O’Leary in case you were wondering. Given our obsession with taters, it seems more than fitting that the PEI Potato Growers are the presenting partner of Farm Day in the City, the Island’s largest outdoor market and our favourite day of the year!!! We thought it a perfect opportunity to pay homage to the farmers and vegetable that have made our Island world-famous with our ‘Top 6 Ways to Experience the PEI Potato’ :
Enjoy them EVERY which way
One of the best things about the potato is it’s extremely versatile; there are probably more ways to prepare potatoes than there are days in the year. There are the classics, such as new boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes smothered in butter, salty treats including french fries and potato chips, and fancy dishes such as Duchess potatoes and potato croquettes. Less familiar potato applications such as potato gnocchi, potato risotto, and potato pizza have also made their way on restaurant menus and the kitchens of potato lovers everywhere.
On PEI, savvy home cooks and chefs have found plenty other ways to incorporate potatoes into everything from bread to fudge to chocolate cake. And, of course, with seafood almost as abundant as potatoes, a classic potato chowder filled with mussels, clams, lobster and cream is a must while visiting PEI. Over at COWS Creamery, the fine folks behind product development have taken two of the greatest foods of all time and created a masterpiece: chocolate-covered potato chips.
So, no matter how you roll with your spud indulgences, you can be sure PEI’s potato farmers and chefs have got your covered. And if you fancy whipping up your own potato masterpiece at home, be sure to check out this collection of recipes (LINK: https://www.peipotato.org/recipes/).
2. Pay a Visit to a PEI Potato Family
If you’ve always wanted to visit a PEI potato farm and meet the people behind the Island’s biggest cash crop, you’re in luck! Experience PEI, a locally-owned experiential tourism outfit, offers an experience where you can ‘dig in’ to the PEI potato story, fittingly called Taters, Tractors and Tales. You’ll have a chance to meet with the Roberts family, who are continuing a multi-generational tradition of potato farming. They’ll share their farm’s history, show you some of the equipment used to farm potatoes in the past and invite you to help with whatever is going on at the farm depending on the time of season.
3. Go to Farm Day in the City (Sept 30th, 2018) Presented by the PEI Potato Growers
If you’re looking for a food and fun-filled day in downtown Charlottetown, look no further! Farm Day in the City, PEI’s largest outdoor market of the year, takes place on September 30th, marking the finale of the Fall Flavours Festival! With the PEI Potato Growers serving as the presenting sponsors of this exciting celebration of all things local, you can be sure there will be plenty of potato-related activities and foods to enjoy! Make sure you get an order of PEI fries from the Fry Truck, with all proceeds going to local charities/non-profits including 4-H and Farmers Helping Farmers. Cheer on your favourites at the potato peeling contest and make sure you get a photo opp with one of the PEI Potato Farmers on-site! With +165 vendors, live music, kids activities, and plenty more on offer, Farm Day in the City is a not-to-be-missed event!
4. Take in Another Spud-Centric Celebration
It turns out Stompin’ Tom Connors isn’t the only one that thinks potatoes deserve to be in the limelight. There are several opportunities to celebrate the humble spud across PEI. In O’Leary, the Potato Blossom Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary this past July (2018). The week-long festival is jam-packed with events including the Canadian National Potato Peeling Contest, the awarding of the year’s Potato Ambassador, the crowning of Little Miss Potato Blossom, the crowning of “Miss PEI Potato Blossom, a community parade and much more!
During the Fall Flavour Festival, several Signature events feature PEI Potatoes prominently in their menus, including Toe Taps & Taters in Canoe Cove, the PEI International Shellfish Festival (pay special attention to the PEI Potato Chowder Competition, where you may be able to snag a sample or two!), and Harbour Feast in Charlottetown (Sept 29, 2018).
And if find yourself at a harvest festival, a community dinner or other food celebration, you’ll most likely find PEI potatoes being served up alongside other famous PEI foods, like lobster, blue mussels and Island beef.
5. Visit the Canadian Potato Museum
Located in O’Leary (also home to the Potato Blossom Festival!), the Canadian Potato Museum is a must for history buffs and potato lovers alike. The museum pays homage to the tuber itself and the farmers that have tilled the fields for generations. Highlights include the world’s largest exhibits of potato-related farm machinery, agricultural and community artifacts, and the world’s largest potato sculpture. Of course, you’ll want to pay a visit to the on-site country kitchen, where potato dishes reign supreme. We highly recommend the potato fudge!!!
6. Support PEI Potato Farmers
One of the best ways to demonstrate your love for PEI potatoes, is by buying them and supporting the farm families that grow them year after year! Include spuds in your weekly meal plan, find ways to incorporate them into your favourite dishes and, of course, when you’re at the grocery store be sure to ask if the potatoes on their shelves are from PEI!