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From Farm to Fork: The beginning of my year long journey With McCain Foods

McCain Blog Author Karlynn Johnston

By: Karlynn Johnston

​Karlynn is the creator & author behind one of Canada's most popular food & life...

This year I was offered an exciting opportunity very near and dear to this gardening girl’s heart: an opportunity to learn about the ‘farm-to-fork’ story behind a truly Canadian company that makes some of my favourite products. When I was asked if I would like to participate in a journey over the next year learning the process of how McCain potatoes get from the fields and to our plates, I couldn’t say “yes please!” fast enough.

My journey this year will include three components: learning about the goodness of McCain Foods’ Canadian grown potatoes, visiting a Canadian McCain farmer during planting season and heading out to New Brunswick this fall to learn everything I possibly can about the Canadian potato harvest and how McCain products start with Canadian Farmers and end up on our plates for our favourite meals!

Just a couple of weeks ago I packed my overnight bag and flew off to Toronto for my first part of the journey, a session learning all about the McCain company, what they stand for, and the story behind its delicious potato products.

A huge potato peel of history in the McCain Foods’ Toronto office!

Before I get into what I learned at the session, let me start off by mentioning how beautiful their offices in Toronto are – such a light, airy and open space!

Now here’s an overview of what I learned at the McCain immersion session:

Did you know that McCain is a truly Canadian, family-owned company? (because I certainly didn’t!)

I learned during my visit that McCain Foods Limited was founded in 1957 by Harrison and Wallace McCain, along with their brothers Robert and Andrew. They opened up their production facility in their hometown of Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Canadians have enjoyed their products for over 60 years now and I love the fact that McCain has remained a family owned, Canadian company over those years.

I also learned during my visit that McCain Foods is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen French fries and potato specialties, in fact, one in every three French fries worldwide is a McCain French fry!

I was very interested to learn how McCain works with our Canadian farmers and while we won’t meet one until my next post (stay tuned for that one!) I did learn that McCain has partnered with Canadian farmers for all of their 60 years, starting of course, in New Brunswick. They now work with more than 150 farmer families across Canada – and some of those families have been partnering with McCain for generations now. I learned that McCain has even created the Potato Technology Centre in Florenceville, New Brunswick that is always up to date with the latest research, all to ensure that McCain continues to deliver the best quality products.

 

I learned about the simple processes behind the McCain potato products we know and love!

While at the session in Toronto we were fed delicious McCain products for lunch. Their Homefries and Savoury Potato Wedges have always been a favourite of mine. I learned that McCain keeps their food process simple: wash, peel, cut, cook and freeze. That simple Farm to Fork process lets the goodness of potatoes shine through in their products. All McCain products are trans-fat free and many are low in saturated fat and sodium – in fact several McCain Foods potato products contain 5 grams of total fat or less. McCain is, of course, working hard to further reduce sodium, where they can, without compromising quality and taste.

And, I learned about the nutrients in potatoes, which are often overlooked!

While at the immersion session, I learned that potatoes are a much often ignored source of potassium and fiber. Everyone automatically thinks of banana’s as the best source of potassium, but potatoes have FAR more potassium and are an incredibly tasty source of this nutrient that most Canadian don’t get enough of. Every McCain french fry that is sold in grocery stores comes from the goodness of those nutritious potatoes!

Everyone automatically thinks “carbs!” when it comes to potatoes, but every nutritionist will tell you that potatoes are an incredibly nutrient dense vegetable and far more than just a carbohydrate. There is definitely a place on our plates for this delicious, nutritious vegetable.


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We have always enjoyed McCain products on occasion in my household over the years (have you SEEN how many Tasti Taters recipes I have on here?!) and to learn about their simple Farm to Fork process and the emphasis on keeping the food process as simple as possible to preserve the goodness of their potatoes was awesome.

It was honestly a fascinating session in Toronto, learning about this truly Canadian company that had their humble beginnings in Florenceville, New Brunswick. I can’t wait to go and meet a Canadian farmer and learn all about the planting process this spring, so stay tuned for more adventures!

To learn about the goodness and simplicity behind McCain potatoes yourself, head on over to the McCain website and read all about this truly Canadian company!

Love,
Karlynn

This post is sponsored by McCain, as part of our #FarmtoFork partnership. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.