Breeding

Pike Lake Farms in Canada offers ‘diabetic friendly’ potatoes

Although potatoes can be a tasty treat, they can wreak havoc on the blood sugar level of people with diabetes—at least, that had been the rule until Montana State University researchers developed the Huckleberry Gold potato, which is now being harvested at Pike Lake Farms in Sheguiandah in Canada’s Ontario province. 

“This is our first year growing them. When we were looking for potatoes to grow in the spring we had never heard of these before. They’re a fairly new potato, there’s not a lot of acreage in cultivation across North America,” said Katie Cyr of Pike Lake Farms.

Ms. Cyr shared stories of friends with diabetes who have come for dinner and were unable to eat the potatoes on offer. Potatoes tend to contain a high amount of starches and carbohydrates which cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, something that people with diabetes cannot easily manage.

“There’s a lot of people with diabetes in the North, so it would be helpful here. I know potatoes would be hard for me to give up,” said Ms. Cyr.

The university researchers cross-bred two old varieties of potatoes to create Huckleberry Gold and Ms. Cyr said the seed trials have been ongoing for the past four years. These potatoes are considered a fall variety and the family has recently begun pulling them from the ground.

“Everyone who’s tried them seems to enjoy them, and they seem to be just like normal potatoes,” said Ms. Cyr. “They’re good fried and baked, boiled, you name it. They were really good when we baked them; we didn’t even need any butter. We’ve had them every way.”

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