P.E.I. potato chip plant revived for pulse processing

A Prairie grain and pulse processing firm plans to get Prince Edward Island farmers growing field peas this year to supply a new pulse processing plant.

New Leaf Essentials East, a new arm of Innisfail, Alta.-based W.A. Grain and Pulse Solutions, announced Wednesday it has bought the former Humpty Dumpty potato chip plant at Slemon Park in Summerside, P.E.I. to process locally-grown field peas.

The P.E.I. company has so far contracted about 3,000 acres with “nearly 50” local growers and has set a target of 5,000 acres for this year, the provincial government said in a release.

New Leaf Essentials East will process some of those peas for use in pet foods and aquaculture feed at the Slemon Park plant, which Humpty Dumpty owner Old Dutch Foods shut down in 2008. Other peas from the plant will be exported whole, the province said.

“This province has a deep agricultural history, thousands of experienced growers, a dedicated workforce and an ideal season for growing the crops we process,” Chris Chivilo, who founded W.A. Grain as a pea export operation in 2007, said in the province’s release.

“It’s also my home province and we see tremendous potential for growth here, which is why we’re so pleased to be opening New Leaf Essentials East in Slemon Park.”

“Field peas are very good for soil composition and sustainability and give farmers an excellent option for healthy annual crop rotations,” provincial Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac said in the same release.

“New Leaf Essentials East’s pea production will bring returns similar to those seen with soybean production, which is great news that will further add to our reputation as Canada’s Food Island.”

W.A. Grain, which already operates processing facilities at Bashaw and Bowden, Alta. and at Vanguard, Ponteix and Pambrun, Sask., expects to create “up to a dozen” jobs at the Summerside plant, the province said.

“The addition of New Leaf Essentials East will add jobs in the Summerside region and breathe new life into an underused facility in Slemon Park,” Rural and Regional Development Minister Pat Murphy said in the province’s release. — AGCanada.com Network

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