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Red, white... and now blue, for Ontario potatoes

Homegrown Blue Steele potato took five years to develop

An Ontario farm has just launched a homegrown version of the blue potato.

Called the Blue Steele, the potato is being sold at Sobeys stores in Ontario, said Tina Gokstorp, vice-president of sales and marketing at Grand Bend Produce.

Blue potatoes originatef in South America. Gokstorp said that Grand Bend wanted to develop a version of the potato that would grow well in Canada.

The company worked with Agriculture Canada through its accelerated release crossbreeding program to develop it. The process took five years.

Afterward, Grand Bend bought the rights to the potato, naming it the Blue Steele due to its steely hue (which comes from naturally occurring phytonutrients) as well as the potato plant’s high tolerance to drought and frost.

Gokstorp said her company has started to do public relations to promote the potato to retailers, restaurants and consumers.

“Part of the challenge,” she admitted, “is that consumers aren’t used to seeing a blue potato.”

But she said that home cooks will appreciate the spud’s versatility. It’s excellent fried, baked, roasted and even mashed, she said.

The Blue Steele is currently sold loose rather than in bags. Gokstorp said that Sobeys in Ontario was going to feature the potato at its stores in April.

Grand Bend Produce is a family owned grower in business since 1960. It’s based in Grand Bend, Ont., and a sells a variety of potatoes including fingerlings and mini potatoes to stores in Ontario and other parts of the country.

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