Congrats to Dr. Peter Vander Zaag! He’s a humble potato breeder and grower in Canada, a hero in third-world countries. He’s just won an Honorary Life Membership from the Potato Association of America. It held its 103rdannual general meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba from July 28 to August 1.
Vander Zaag is known globally as an outstanding potato scientist, educator, mentor, innovative potato producer and breeder. He has also contributed to making the humble potato a staple in developing countries such as China where rice has been the number one staple food.
To dig a little further into his background, go to the website of Sunrise Potato Storage.
The first VanderZaags emigrated from Holland in 1949, successfully transplanting their extensive knowledge of potato production onto Canadian soil. The next generation, Dr. Peter Vander Zaag and his wife Carla, spent almost 20 years overseas, studying and developing potato production methods in countries as diverse as Rwanda and the Philippines. Two generations now grow 1000 acres of potatoes annually near Alliston, Ontario.
“Today, we focus on the sustainable production of our conventional chipping and table potatoes, organic potatoes and seed production,” writes Vander Zaag. “Our state-of-the-art storage facilities hold 400,000 cwt (18,000 tonnes) in 20 bins, which allows us to ship the crop from September’s harvest to the following July.”
As Eugenia Banks, consultant to the Ontario Potato Board points out, “Rarely, a well-known global potato scientist is also an outstanding potato farmer. Vander Zaag is well respected by growers and researchers across Canada. He is constantly evaluating new potato production practices, and best of all, he shares what he learns with others.”