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South Surrey farm gives away ‘ugly’ potatoes, brings awareness to food insecurity

Heppell’s Potatoes gave away 2,000 pounds of free potatoes to community members
Heppell’s Potato Corp. gives away misshapen potatoes periodically to those in need. Pictured is the Heppell family’s Campbell Heights property of their potato crops, where they also grow many other root vegetables. (Sobia Moman photo)

Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, but not all are treated equally. That’s why Heppell’s Potatoes Corp. in South Surrey gave away over 2,000 pounds of their ‘ugly’ potatoes to those in need.

Coined Ugly Potato Day, Heppell’s Corp. started the casual event in late June to help reduce the number of potatoes that get tossed weekly from their farm. Cull or waste potatoes are typically oddly shaped, have growth cracks or are bruised, which makes them difficult to sell to most markets.

Regardless of their appearance, the potatoes the farm gives away are still completely safe to consume, Tyler Heppell of Heppell’s Potato Corp. explained to Peace Arch News.

“We try to donate as much as we can to the food bank, but the potatoes at this time of year, they don’t have skin on them so they don’t last very long. So, we thought we’d just give back to our community and give out free potatoes.”

Heppell took to his social media accounts, inviting residents who are struggling with food security to stop by the South Surrey property and load up their bags with potatoes. He also encouraged those who aren’t struggling to stop by for potatoes and make a contribution to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, to which the farm has been donating for over 30 years.

More than 300 people stopped by the farm on Saturday (July 9) morning for the second installation, feeling “thankful and very happy to get potatoes,” Heppell said.

Many visitors to the farm took home potatoes for their neighbours or family members, said Heppell, who estimates that around 500 people benefited from the giveaway in just one day.

“I know we’re going to have food shortages this year and it’s so sad that 20 per cent of all produce gets thrown out because it just looks ugly, but it still has nutritional value and tastes the same,” Heppell said.

Generous visitors dug deep and a total of $250 was raised to support the food bank.

For those who missed out this time around, Heppell’s Potatoes will be hosting more Ugly Potato Days this summer. Dates are upcoming and to be the first to know, visit their TikTok, Instagram or Facebook, @Heppellspotato on each site.

ALSO READ: Mayor, councillors serve notice of motion to help spare South Surrey farm from development


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Sobia Moman

About the Author: Sobia Moman

Sobia Moman is a news and features reporter with the Peace Arch News.
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