The Small Canadian Town Known As The 'French Fry Capital Of The World'

They are known throughout the world as french fries, though the French had nothing to do with inventing them. The Belgians take credit for that, though Belgian fries doesn't roll off the tongue nearly as easily. However, if there is one place in the world that ought to be known for french fries, it's New Brunswick, Canada. Why? Because New Brunswick produces one-third of the world's fries — that's why! 

The town of Florenceville-Bristol in the western corner of the province is within spitting distance of the potato fields of Aroostook County, Maine. Nineteenth-century Canadian woodsmen looking for summertime work crossed the border to work the Maine fields and, at season's end, brought some potato crops back to Florenceville-Bristol. Needless to say, the crop took off like a rocket (via Explore Florenceville-Bristol).

The chief reason the potato took such a liking to this corner of New Brunswick has to do with the area's soil. According to The Government of Canada, Florenceville-Bristol and the surrounding area are teeming with  sandy, nutrient-packed loam soil, which is known as Holmesville Soil. Named for the nearby town of Holmesville, the soil was officially granted special status as the official soil of the province back in 1997. With excellent soil and an abundance of potatoes, it was only a matter of time for someone to come along and turn the crop into something that's beloved the world over. 

French fries are big business

How exactly did this small town in the far western corner of the Canadian Maritimes become the French Fry Capital of the World? It all started in 1957 with four brothers — Wallace, Harrison, Robert, and Andrew McCain. These sons of farmers took their combined knowledge of agriculture and entrepreneurship to start McCain Foods. Built around the humble potato that was so popular in their hometown, the company specialized in developing frozen food technology that turned their signature product of frozen french fries into a household item.

Though the company's products are sold in over 160 countries, the global headquarters of McCain Foods remains in Florenceville-Bristol, and is the town's biggest employer. It's this connection, more than anything else, that has made the town the French Fry Capital of the World, according to Explore Florenceville-Bristol. Every July since 2009 (except when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak), the town has held a National French Fry Day. Throughout the day, townspeople and visitors alike can enjoy free McCain french fries, a french fry-cutting competition, numerous vendors, and activities for children like bouncy castles, balloon animals, and face painting. 

Though, according to CheeseWeb, Quebec and Nova Scotia remain more popular destinations in the Great North, New Brunswick is well worth a visit for its beautiful scenery, traditional culture, and a healthy serving of french fries.