The all Smiles Blog

Another day, another dish, another smile.

Back to

Meet the king of Canadian potatoes

You say potato, I say po-tah-to. You see potato, but Gary Hawkins sees a whole lot more. Gary is McCain’s global director of potato variety development, and when Gary sees a potato, he sees the specially-selected ingredient that goes into some of your favourite McCain frozen potato products.

To the untrained eye, one potato is just like another. To an agrologist like Gary, there are many varieties that can be found on McCain’s skilled supplier farms across the globe. Every kind of McCain potato is top-notch for flavour and nutritional excellence, and every one brings something special to McCain frozen potato products you love!

Here in Canada, our potato farmer partners lean on a few staples – but today we want to tell you about the potato. The Canadian classic. “This potato is the one to beat,” says Gary. It’s the…

Russet Burbank: The Canadian French fry King

“It’s overwhelmingly the most used potato in North America,” Gary notes – the undisputed king of Canadian potato farming to produce French fries. So, how did the Russet Burbank earn its crown? First, seniority. The Russet Burbank is an old classic. Developed in the late 1800s by Luther Burbank, the Russet Burbank potato is the original go-to for Canadian farmers.

“It’s a tough potato,” Gary points out, “and survives hardships like droughts well. It will keep growing if you keep feeding it, and you get a high number of potatoes for every one you plant.”

But perhaps one of the finest features of the Russet Burbank’s resume is this: skilled potato farmers have been able to make it work in the Canadian climate. As every Canadian knows, we have an all-too short season of warm weather in Canada – which keeps a tight lid on the length of our growing season. Climate variability only makes things harder. Canadian growers and agronomists have figured out how to grow high quality Russet Burbank potatoes with improvements every season..

It’s the ultimate Canadian potato to beat for French fries,” Gary says. No wonder you can find the Russet Burbank potato it in so many of McCain’s potato products. 

Even though it’s still the king of Canadian potatoes, the Russet Burbank is only one of many types of potatoes McCain uses and new high quality varieties are in production. No matter which we use, it’s always the wholesome goodness of a simple potato – the fresh ingredient at the heart of a delicious McCain meal you and your family will enjoy. And no matter which potato we use, they’re all grown with excellence – using the seed of a 60-year partnership between McCain and our growers. So, no matter what kind of potato goes into it, the final product is the same: the McCain goodness you love.