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Brace yourselves, America: We’re facing a French fry shortage

Illustration for article titled Brace yourselves, America: We’re facing a French fry shortage
Photo: bhofack2 (iStock)

First it was hummus. Then maple syrup. Then Burger King’s zesty sauce. And then coffee. And now climate change has come for our French fries. Wet, cold weather has damaged this year’s potato crop, Bloomberg reports, leading to the greatest shortage since 2010.

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Farmers in Idaho and Alberta were able to salvage part of their crop, but those farther east, in Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota, were not: snow, rain, and early frost forced them to abandon potatoes in the fields. The overall U.S. harvest, the Department of Agriculture predicts, will drop 6.1% this year.

And no, the bit about French fries isn’t (just) alarmist clickbait. Fries require larger potatoes (they’re long, after all), which won’t be as readily available this winter. “French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can’t meet the demand,” a spokesman for the Idaho Potato Commission told Bloomberg.

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The Canadians are more optimistic. The general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told Bloomberg it was “a manageable situation. Potatoes are going to have to move from one channel to another that they sometimes don’t move in a normal year.”

Perhaps we’ll have to resort to smuggling taters in from north of the border.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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