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INTRODUCTION: Suspension of disbelief and a wonderful opportunity

For most, April 1st on a calendar means a few hours gleefully toying with friends and colleagues, pulling peoples’ legs, engaging in a little light-hearted “suspension of disbelief”.


April 6, 2009
By Ralph Pearce

For most, April 1st on a calendar means a few hours gleefully toying
with friends and colleagues, pulling peoples’ legs, engaging in a
little light-hearted “suspension of disbelief”. 

Somehow that description is befitting of my April 1st in 2008, when we
toasted, feted and honoured Peter Darbishire, longtime editor of
Potatoes in Canada. Not only had Peter chosen that day to step down and
call it a career, it was also the day he left me in charge of the store.

So here I am, near the end of my first year, taking this first opportunity to introduce myself.

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It has been something of an adventure, these first 365 days, complete
with a learning curve that has travelled more “up” than “across”.
Sometimes, that curve has been at breakneck speed, other times, it has
required the digestion of a  million details on the inner workings of
being an editor, complete with dozens of daily communiques and managing
the flow of information. Happily, two of the better experiences in the
past year related to potatoes. The first was the International Potato
Expo in Charlottetown, in February 2008 (granted, it was six weeks
before my official arrival as editor), and the second was the annual
grower day in Alliston, Ontario. Both provided their own unique
opportunities to meet those involved in the industry and learn as much
as I could in a relatively short span of time.

Needless to say, I look forward to the same kinds of opportunities in the coming year.

It is somewhat comforting to know that even in these harsh economic
times, agriculture in Canada is an incredible industry with which to be
involved. From where I sit, no other economic sector has the reach and
potential to affect so many people, places and industries. In the past
year, the profile for potatoes alone has increased considerably, with
2008 celebrated as the Year of the Potato by the United Nations. Added
to this has been the proactive move by growers on Prince Edward Island
in addressing environmental concerns, not to mention researchers
studying the glycemic index in potatoes, trying to make a healthy food
item healthier still.

And that is just the picture for potatoes: the same bright, big-picture outlooks exist for other crops across Canada.

Again, it is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture.

My hope is that such excitement is reflected in the scope and content
of the stories in this issue of Potatoes in Canada. We have
contributions that span production, storage and marketing issues from
across the country, from new varieties that are attracting attention of
processors and consumers to a somewhat surprising toehold for soybeans
as a rotational crop. In particular I want to thank Rosalie Tennison
for her help and guidance since Peter Darbishire’s retirement. To say
his are some big shoes to fill is undoubtedly the understatement of all
time, yet Rosalie’s quiet expertise and familiarity with the industry
and its key players have provided a calming and welcome influence. 

For me, the journey is just beginning, even now towards the end of my first year as editor.

Yet the learning never stops; it is what makes the job so much fun, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


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