Uh Oh! Massachusetts Could Be Facing a Potato Shortage and Here’s Why
In the past few years, we've been through a lot. Needless to say, there have been some trying times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, vaccines, boosters, and let's not forget about those food shortages.
Now, in 2022, Massachusetts is facing another food shortage. The good news is this one has nothing to do with the pandemic, but the bad news is it's one of my FAVORITE foods. Yes, we're talking about the potato.
I love potatoes because one, they're delicious, and two, they're so dang versatile. Baked potatoes, french fries of all varieties, mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato skins, tater tots. You get it, I love them. But yes, there could be an upcoming potato shortage in Massachusetts.
"Spudpocalypse" has been brought to the nation's attention via a group called the PEI Potato Board, who have started campaigning to bring this possible potato shortage to the public's attention. According to the group, the USDA has halted all potato shipments from Canada's Prince Edward Island, which normally ships around 250 to 300 million pounds of potatoes every year.
More specifically Massachusetts receives about 75 million pounds of potato from PEI every year, making our fair state the PEI potato farmer's second-largest American customer, according to The Boston Globe.
So why did the USDA shut down shipments of potatoes from PEI to Massachusetts? Well, the potatoes are sick. They have a disease, warts in fact.
According to the PEI Potato Board, potato warts are soil-borne disease that causes spores and "cauliflower-like appendages" to pop up on the potatoes. Warts pose no threat to people, but can absolutely destroy crops.
Massachusetts may face a drop in its potato supply as a result. Greg Maheris, a potato
distributor at J Maheris Co. in Chelsea, told the Boston Herald that his spud supply has
fallen by 30 percent. Normally, Maheris sees more than 70,000 pounds of potatoes from
The Boston Globe
U.S. officials say that warts spread like lightning, blackening and that could threaten farms on the Eastern seaboard that use PEI seed potatoes to grow their own. However, the PEI Potato Group says that the threat to the U.S. potato farming industry is basically nonexistent
So next time you're at the grocery, don't be surprised if you see a low supply of potatoes or skyrocketing potato prices.
The Boston Globe reports that Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's minister of agriculture had this to say, “We are very hopeful that we will see the market
reopening through the United States for table stock potatoes soon.”