Ont. potato processor backed to triple capacity

A Toronto produce distributor putting up a $5.5 million facility for washing, packing and shipping potatoes will get almost 10 per cent of the cost covered with provincial backing.

EarthFresh Foods will get $496,875 from Ontario’s rural economic development program toward the new plant it’s building at Flamborough, about 20 km northwest of Hamilton.

The new plant is set to replace the company’s existing facility, which the province described as “too small to respond to the growing demand for (EarthFresh’s) popular potato varieties.”

The new plant, when operating, is expected to help the company “nearly triple” its processing capacity and boost sales by $15 million within two years, while cutting production costs.

The company also expects to create 44 new jobs at the new plant, on top of the 70 staff now working at the existing site, and to expand into new markets with new products.

“Through new potato variety development, innovation, and a persistent focus on quality, we will make this region a stronger, more viable place to produce fresh vegetables for customers throughout the GTA and abroad,” company president Tom Hughes said in the province’s release.

EarthFresh distributes potatoes, onions, carrots, beets and parsnips across North America, sourcing from growers in most provinces and 38 states.

It also operates SunRain, a variety development company that helped breed potato varieties such as Klondike Rose, Klondike Goldust, Red Yukon, Pure Gold and Sierra Gold.

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