Potatoes in Canada

News Harvesting
B.C. farmers growing ‘outlawed’ potatoes looking for new partners

December 11, 2023  By CBC News

A B.C. farmer who grows an outlawed breed of potato says it is important to preserve the hardy breed, even if they aren’t suitable for large-scale commercial production.

As reported by CBC News, Rob Diether, 70, specializes in growing potatoes at the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-Op, located 115 kilometres north of Kamloops.

Inside a root cellar at the farm, Diether holds up one of the potatoes that has made the organic farm famous around the country. The Cariboo potato has a yellow skin and what he describes as “beautiful pink blotches” on it.


“These are very special potatoes. They’re hiding in the back to keep them away from just anyone who might not know how special they are,” he told CBC News.

“They look so attractive and the flesh is quite yellow as well. They’re a lovely potato. We’ve been growing and saving this seed since the mid-’70s.”

The reason for the Cariboo’s fame is that it’s illegal. The Cariboo is not allowed to be grown for commercial use and federal authorities have threatened the small co-op with a $10,000 fine.

And yet, the spud has been grown for decades on the farm, and Diether says efforts to preserve a potato long decertified by authorities reflects a need to practise sustainable small-scale farming.

The spuds have sparked interest from as far away as Corner Brook, N.L., and the farm regularly receives correspondence from those wanting to taste the tuber.

Diether says the interest in their “outlawed” potatoes may signal a growing interest in farming, and he hopes new farmers join the co-op to continue sustainable farming for generations to come.

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