Every year, the company ships over 16,000 orders across Canada.
Another business on P.E.I. is suffering from potato warts.
Veseys Seeds in York, P.E.I., has been informed that they will not be able to send potatoes to home gardeners across Canada this year, which will have an impact on the producers who supply the mail-order company.
On Monday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) called Veseys and informed them that under current regulations, no seed potatoes from P.E.I., including those sold by Veseys, can be delivered anyplace in Canada.
On November 21, the CFIA halted fresh potato exports to the United States. The decision was made in reaction to American worries after the discovery of potato warts in two P.E.I. farms last October.
Refunds may be available.
Vesey’s customers have had access to the 2022 catalogue since November.
“It puts us in an unpleasant situation because no one really knows where the light at the end of the tunnel is,” Veseys’ director of sales, marketing, and development, John Barrett, said.
“We can either keep collecting orders every day and entering them into the system, or we can wait until April or May to ship the potatoes when the weather is a little more favourable and conducive to shipping a live product like a seed potato.”
“We can keep doing it and risk wasting a lot of time and money in the spring producing tens of thousands of refunds if it doesn’t get fixed.” Alternatively, we might just cease receiving orders, resulting in a significant financial loss for our organisation.”
Barrett said the company typically ships over 16,000 orders a year, totalling over 21,000 kilogrammes (47,000 pounds) of seed potatoes in two- and three-pound sacks.
He estimates that the loss would be significant — in the six figures — and he doesn’t see why potatoes going to home gardeners would be a problem.
“No one has been able to explain why that action was made,” Barrett added.
“Gardeners from coast to coast rely on us for the food they cultivate in their gardens since we are the country’s largest mail-order gardening firm. As a result, it’s a perplexing decision that we don’t fully comprehend.”
‘Extremely upsetting and disturbing.’
Barrett is particularly concerned about the impact on seed growers, such as Barry and Ellen Cudmore of Brackley, P.E.I., who supplies seed for the mail-order firm.
Veseys and 23 garden centres in Atlantic Canada buy seed potatoes from The Cudmores.
“It’s upsetting because, between them and us, we were literally providing thousands of gardeners across Canada,” Barry Cudmore said.