Our story is rooted in family – beginning with Jacob van der Schaaf and his daughter, Angela Santiago.
Jacob, a Dutch immigrant and serial entrepreneur, longed for the small Creamer potatoes of his youth. “I can’t find any potatoes here with the same delicious taste and creamy insides!” he would lament.
So, in 1996, he put an idea to Angela: why not test out the market for little potatoes?
Washing the first Creamers – in the family bathtub
On a small one-acre plot just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Jacob and Angela began growing their first acre of Creamer potatoes by hand – planting, weeding, and harvesting it themselves. They also washed that first crop by hand – in the family’s bathtub!
The first crop was a success, so father and daughter upgraded to an old root cellar where Angela began the arduous task of sorting, washing, and bagging the potatoes. Then, it was packing them into the back of her hatchback and setting off for farmers markets and restaurants.
Chefs were early fans, valuing the potatoes for their quality and uniqueness. (The esteemed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel was one of their first accounts.) Their potatoes were popular with consumers too, and a regional retailer soon began stocking them.
Demand quickly overtook what Jacob and Angela could do themselves.
Growing a future
Jacob and Angela bought their first plant in 2000. They modified the equipment to handle the specialized needs of Creamer potatoes with appropriate delicacy and allied themselves with excellent farmers in Canada and the United States. Within four years, they expanded to their current production facilities in Edmonton, Alberta.
They even successfully lobbied the government to allow for smaller packages of potatoes – a potato industry first – making the Creamers more convenient for consumers to store and use.
It’s still about family
Family is still at the forefront of the business. Angela is in charge of the boardroom as CEO, while Jacob pursues his passion in the field. He runs Tuberosum Technologies, a potato research and breeding company, that continues to bring the company proprietary potato varietals that we own exclusive rights to – no one else can grow what we can.
And there’s more coming to the market every year, each with its own unique taste and colour profile.
A produce pioneer
With passion, hard work, and the bonds of family, Jacob and Angela successfully created a new niche in the very competitive produce market. That’s no small potatoes.
Today, they remain as passionate as ever about bringing fresh, wholesome and delicious Creamer potatoes to families across Canada and the United States. They are also passionate about giving back to the community.