Our story video- who we are, what we do, our purpose – featuring Angela Santiago, CEO and co-founder of The Little Potato Company.
The story of The Little Potato Company is really a story of Jacob van der Schaaf and his daughter Angela Santiago.
Jacob, a Dutch immigrant, 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?
The test-plot thickens
On a small one-acre plot just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Jacob and Angela began the experiment.
They grew their first acre of 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 tiny potatoes with appropriate delicacy and allied themselves with excellent growers 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 – making the product 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 has brought the company unique potato varieties.
Today, The Little Potato Company owns exclusive rights to six varieties. No one else can grow what they can.
Now, Jacob and Angela traverse the globe, searching for new and unique little potato varieties. We call them global potato hunters.
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 little potatoes to families across Canada and the United States. They are also passionate about giving back to the community.