This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to our food sourcing in a while. We’ve always had different kinds of potatoes for French fries at different times of the year based on the potato season. We didn’t know any better, and this was all we had available to us.
Prince Edward Island produces the best potatoes in the world for frying. So we were always snapping up PEI potatoes whenever Russo’s (our distributor) had them in stock. We had one farm in particular that we loved in P.E.I called Mid Isle Farms. We would always ask Russo’s for the white bag because they fried up the best. Some years it would be the brown bag. We didn’t know why. When they weren’t available we asked for Chef potatoes, but they fried up inconsistently (joke on us, Chef potato is a generic term for size of a potato, not varietal).
We’ve grown a lot since then. And higher volumes means we’re starting to be on the radar for direct sourcing from farms. Which is why I was really excited when we got an email from a PEI Trade Mission. They were coming to Boston and had heard about Clover. And so after 5 years of loving their potatoes, I finally had a chance to meet with the farmers from Mid Isle. Mid Isle Farm is actually a co-op of 7 farms. Several years back these farmers came together and found that it was cheaper if they invested in a facility together that could clean their potatoes. They could also get more money at market for a clean potato than a dirty one! They shipped us a bunch of different varietals that we could test out and see what made the best french fry. They were all awesome, but our favorite was the Innovator potato. It’s a new varietal they’re working on. We’ve secured a direct source with them, so we’ll be using their Innovator potato for French fries 10 months out of the year. We’ll have to figure something out for the other two!