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PEI potato farmer bets on Smilin' Eyes specialty variety

PEI potato farmer bets on Smilin' Eyes specialty variety

The yellow flesh potato with a splash of pink around its eyes makes the spuds look like they are smiling, said Johnny MacLean, which is the reason why he named the potatoes Smilin’ Eyes.

February 25, 2016
A new variety of yellow flesh potatoes could soon become a staple on the tables of West Prince (PEI, Canada) residents.

Developed by Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) in the United States and grown by Johnny MacLean and his two sons Dwayne and Glen MacLean of MacLean Farms Ltd in West Devon, Smilin’ Eyes Irish Gold is described as an excellent potato for baking, boiling, mashing and French fries with a great flavour and high in anti-oxidants.

Also, according to its growers, the new variety of potato is uniform in size with a good appearance with high yields and handles well without bruising.

But for Johnny MacLean it’s the taste he likes.

Johnny MacLean:

“I’ve been doing business with these people (PVMI) for quite some time and they came out with this here yellow variety and I liked the look of it.”

“And now since we got it here and grew it ourselves,the taste is exceptional.”
Mr MacLean’s daughter, Mary Gillis, also added from the specs from the website the potato looked like it would be a better variety to grow on the Island, which was the case this past growing season after the potato proved to be resilient, resulting in a good yield despite the dry conditions over the summer.

The plants produce a beautiful, bright pink/purple blossom.

Those driving passed the two fields they planted by O’Leary Corner might have noticed the new crop growing this summer as the plants produce a beautiful, bright pink/purple blossom. Ms Gillis said many people were stopping by the road side just to take a picture of the fields.

“It’s a very pretty field. And they taste as good as they look,” said Mr MacLean. “They’ve got me spoiled now.”

The yellow flesh potato with a splash of pink around its eyes makes the spuds look like they are smiling, said Mr MacLean, which is the reason why he named the potatoes Smilin’ Eyes.

Smilin' Eyes - grown in the characteristically red Prince Edward Island soil of course

Operating out of the former O’Leary Potato Packer plant, MacLean said the potatoes are now ready for market and hopes to have them available soon.

MacLean:

“It’s a different kind of potato. This is the big thing. The texture is excellent. The flavour is excellent.”

“The best I have ever tasted and I’ve been eating potatoes for a long while.”
To put this into perspective: MacLean just harvested his 40th crop in 2015.
Companies in this Article
MacLean Farms Ltd., located on Prince Edward Island, is a 3rd generation potato farm operation specializing in growing quality seed potatoes for processing, table stock, and chipping.
The Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) was established in 2005 by the the state potato commissions of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to handle the licensing and royalty collection on Tri-State potato varieties.