Monday, September 15, 2008

Spud Farmers Sing The Blues

From Montreal Gazette:

It isn't just sovereignty that has fallen out of favour in Quebec. So has the potato. As far as reputations go, the spud's is mud.

In this new age of dietary fundamentalism, with Atkins and Montignac rising as new faiths, the humble potato has undergone something of a societal demonization.

It has all added up to intense professional anxiety for the province's 350 potato farmers, whose annual harvest season moves into its high gear this week, with today being the day many farmers plan to set out on their tractors.

Potato consumption in weight-conscious North America has declined 20 per cent over the past decade, according to the United Nations, which has declared 2008 to be the international year of the potato.

In Quebec, famously home of poutine, the province's culinary gift to the world, the decline has been a more modest 15 per cent, according to industry figures.

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