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P.E.I. government sells FoodTrust

The owners of Prince Edward Island potato producer Mid Isle Farms and other local investors have bought the province’s potato and blueberry marketing company.

The province announced in March that it would sell FoodTrust of P.E.I., a non-profit Crown corporation it set up in 2001. Its main product is a line of premium potatoes it sells throughout Ontario and Quebec in specially designed and “commercially attractive” merchandising units.

FoodTrust also sells P.E.I.-produced potato spices and frozen blueberries and has developed value-added potato products. The company sources product from over 40 local growers.

The new ownership group will pay an undisclosed sum for FoodTrust and operate it as FoodTrust 2008 Ltd., the province said in a release Tuesday.

The province said FoodTrust’s board asked it to arrange a sale, so the company could get access to private-sector equity investment.

“I am pleased that the new owners are committed to pursuing opportunities to develop and market high quality products from Prince Edward Island that can attract premium prices,” provincial Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair said in the province’s release.

FoodTrust’s sales in the past year were worth over $3.8 million, the province said in March. The provincial and federal governments have since 2001 invested about $5 million in the company to create a brand and develop both products and markets.

The province said the sale took place following a “competitive and transparent” bidding process via accounting firm Grant Thornton.

Mid Isle Farms, headquartered at Albany, P.E.I., was founded by its seven shareholding farm families in 1982 to build a potato washing and packing plant. The company also operates two long-term potato storage facilities with combined capacity of over 30 million pounds.

Mid Isle, owned by the Dawson, MacDonald, MacKay, Mulligan, Robinson, Webster and Wood families, packs and ships yellow, red, round, and russet potato varieties grown by its shareholder farms and other P.E.I. growers. Its customers are in both the retail and food service trades.

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