Atlantic Potato Distributors

The quality standard in spuds for 23 years
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Sean Davis

Based in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, the Hanscome family has been a longstanding name in the potato business as a full grower, packer and distributor. Ralph Hanscome established Atlantic Potato Distributors (APD) with his wife, Nancy in 1993 as a potato broker.

Over the years the business has become a recognized leader in both food safety and quality and the company has quickly grown in size and scope. APD is now one of the largest importers of U.S.-grown potatoes into Canada, supplying major retail chains like Loblaw’s.

Atlantic Potato Distributors

Honored to be Grower of the Year

The company continues to set the industry standard for safety, product quality and overall value. In April 2016, APD was named Grower of the Year by Loblaw’s. The award selection criteria includes food safety programs and certification, quality, innovation, farm conditions, corporate social responsibility, impact on community, excellence in customer service and building strong, strategic and collaborative partnerships.

“We were recognized for our leadership within the produce industry for food safety, quality and security,” says Rachel Durepos, director of innovation and food safety at APD.

Food safety and quality first

Achieving this high level of excellence in food safety and quality is something the APD team has been working on for more than a decade. In 2003, the company was the first potato packing facility in Canada to exceed safety standards and become the first packing shed in Canada to be CPIQ approved which allowed the business to perform internal inspections followed by immediate shipments.

In an effort to increase food safety and security within its plant, APD is also SQF-Level 3 certified. “This is the highest level of food safety certification a plant can have,” says Durepos.

On the potato processing lines APD’s facility has metal detectors and an X-ray machine that screens all potatoes passing through. “Our entire property is fenced in and we have cameras offering 32 views of the facility inside and out. We have controlled access checkpoints into all of our receiving lines,” says Durepos.

Product traceability is another important cornerstone in the business. “We began traceability programs before it was fashionable and in demand,” says Durepos. “As part of our food safety program we audit growers to ensure our high quality standards are met.”

“We have increased the number of high-caliber growers we work with,” adds Durepos. “All of our suppliers are required to have a third-party audit to supply their product into our facility.”

Increased cold storage capacity

As APD works to cultivate relationships with growers who are on the same page in terms of food safety and quality, the family continues to farm a sizable plot of potatoes grown in Canada. The Hanscome family grows potatoes on more than 1,110 acres in Victoria County and has more grower partners in eastern Canada and the Northeastern U.S.

A recent expansion project has added more cold storage space at APD’s facility. “We now have an additional 11,000 square feet of cold storage with triple racking; this project completed last winter,” says Durepos. “We’re able to produce and sell greater volume because of this expansion.”

Processing higher volume has made way for more jobs at APD. “We are the largest employer in our area and we’re proud to have employees that have been with us for 20 years or more,” says Durepos.

Some of the new APD team members include younger millennial employees, many of which are helping the company adapt to new equipment and innovations. “Our younger equipment operators are naturally tech savvy and they can quickly adjust and learn how to run some of our new equipment lines,” says Durepos.

With demand holding steady and APD pumping out greater volume, the business is well positioned for expansion. Like-minded partners and the capacity to store and process more potatoes is allowing Atlantic Potato Distributors to maintain its standing it the industry and further its reputation for the best product quality, spud after spud.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Bank of Nova Scotia
Emile Senechal et Fils Ltee
Race-West Company