These spuds make mighty great chips
There’s a good chance that the next bag of Frito Lay potato chips you tear open will contain chips from Prince Edward Island-grown potatoes.
Historic Freetown-based Monaghan Farms is Frito Lay’s largest supplier of raw product for export and were their top Canadian supplier in 2007. They collaborate with local growers to supply product to the company's plants in Canada, the United States, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
It turns out they grow varieties of potatoes that are just what the chip giant is looking for.
“These potatoes are bred with certain characteristics which are ideal for making potato chips with a low sugar content, which is what gives them their lighter appearance, and high solid that limits oil waste and optimum round shape,” said seventh-generation potato farmer Derrick Curley.
Derrick’s family emigrated from Ireland during the 1840s potato famine and named Monaghan Farms after the Irish county of their homeland. The Curley family still farms the original acreage where Thomas Curley established his original mixed-use farm.
Over the years the potato acreage grew, and in 1982 Monaghan Farms started selling potatoes in the processing market. Monaghan Farms’ relationship with Frito Lay – the largest player in the potato chip market – began in 1987 when Derrick’s father, Terry Curley, took a potato sample to Frito Lay’s Kentville, Nova Scotia plant to see if it met their standards.
It did. They have supplied the Kentville plant ever since.
“Frito Lay’s high standards for quality and sustainability make them a great company to work with,” Derrick said.
Although throughout the years, Monaghan Farms has grown potatoes for Frito Lay, McCains, Cavendish Farms and Humpty Dumpty, today it grows only chip potatoes for Frito Lay.
Derrick says Monaghan Farms has succeeded because of the partners, growers, and employees they are fortunate enough to work with.
“Within the potato agriculture business there are always many variables at play that result in a successful year,” Derrick said. “A lot of it is out of our control, so it is necessary to be flexible and be able to adjust, which keeps this lifestyle exciting and nervewracking at the same time.”
Prince Edward Island is the Mighty Island - we may be small, but we make big things happen.
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