Potatoes are tuberous crops that grow underground on the roots of the potato plant, a member of the nightshade family. The plant produces green, bushy foliage above ground, and when mature, the tubers are harvested from beneath the soil. Potatoes come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colours, ranging from small fingerlings to large russets, and from yellow and red to purple and even blue. These tubers are rich in essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fibre, especially when consumed with their skin. In Alberta, the cool nights and long summer days offer a favourable environment for potato cultivation, resulting in high-quality yields that are used for various purposes, from table potatoes to processing.


Potatoes have an ancient lineage, having been cultivated in the Andes for over 7,000 years. The Spanish explorers introduced them to Europe in the 16th century, from where they spread and became a staple in many countries. In Canada, the history of potato cultivation dates back to the early European settlers. In Alberta, potato farming has been a significant agricultural activity for many decades. The province's vast and fertile plains have positioned Alberta as a major potato-producing region in Canada. The province is particularly recognized for its contribution to the processed potato market, supplying raw materials for products like chips and fries.

Ways To Cook

The potato's culinary versatility is unmatched. You can boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew, or enjoy them roasted, fried, baked, and even grilled. Boiled potatoes, seasoned lightly, serve as a simple side dish or can be incorporated into salads. Mashed potatoes, creamy and buttery, complement roasted meats beautifully. In Alberta, and indeed throughout Canada, dishes like poutine—where fries are topped with cheese curds and gravy—highlight the potato's comfort food potential. Roasted potatoes, with their crispy exteriors and fluffy insides, are a staple in many households. Additionally, potatoes can be turned into dough for gnocchi or used in soups and stews. It's also worth noting that different potato varieties have distinct textures, making them more suitable for certain preparations: waxy varieties hold their shape in salads, while starchy ones are perfect for mashing or frying. No matter the method, potatoes offer a satisfying and nourishing base for an array of culinary creations.

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