Have you ever seen a potato go to seed?
Even if you don’t allow two different potato cultivars to cross-pollinate, potatoes grown from true potato seeds will be wildly variable and quite different genetically from their parent plant (its genes are shuffled randomly into their seeds which can be a lot of fun for discovering new varieties and maintaining genetic diversity, but not always great for depending on to fill your belly . . .especially when you end up with bitter potatoes!). For centuries, farmers have been producing reliable potato crops by planting tubers instead of seeds. When you plant a tuber you get a genetic clone with all the variety’s characteristics as well.
Certified seed potatoes
The trouble with planting potato clones, however, is that tubers can host a lot of disease (bacterial, fungal, viral). That’s where certified seed comes in. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for a rigorous certification and classification program for potatoes. Farms producing potatoes for seed are required to be certified and inspected and all potatoes sold for seed in Canada must be lab-verified clean stock.
Double-certified seed potatoes
We use the words “double-certified” to indicate potatoes that are CFIA-certified and certified-organic. While there are a limited number of farms in Canada that produce seed potatoes, there are even fewer farmers who go through the additional work of organic production and certification (only a handful of farms in Eastern Canada are producing organic seed potatoes). These verified-organic growers experience all the challenges of farming from weathering storms and the unpredictable to rodent and pest pressures, all while maintaining good organic practices and a pile of paperwork. If you are looking for a rare breed – these farmers are it!