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County Ag: potato packaging

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -You often hear about harvesting potatoes, but you don’t often hear about packaging them. And there are quite a few steps to packaging potatoes. On this week’s County ag, Megan Cole takes a look into how potatoes go from field to on the store shelves.

With potato harvest now over, it’s time for farmers to start packing and shipping them. Jeremy Pelletier, vice president of Edwin Pelletier and Sons, gives us some insight into what it takes to pack them.

“So from the field the potatoes are hauled in bulk, they’re stored in these large potato houses, from there they’re shoveled out and they’re put into our packing line we have several things you know that remove foreign debris, you know so we dump the potatoes in they go through the line, rocks, mud is all removed potatoes are then washed after they’re washed they go on to the optical grader where each potato has multiple photos taken of it.”

Pelletier says they ship potatoes all along the east coast.

“It’s different depending on how regions elsewhere produce. So we’re competing prices against the west and all central united states, new Brunswick we’re competing against so depends on where there’s a need but my potatoes stick along the east coast down to Florida coming up.”

He says they are now coming onto their busiest time of year with the holidays approaching.

“The demand is good right now, it looks good for the next few weeks with thanksgiving coming up we have a lot of product…its gonna be…its one of our busiest times of the year to pack thanksgiving and Christmas are our big rush so we’re gonna pack pretty much straight out until the rush starts to slow down again but yeah we ship it’s our biggest holiday thanksgiving is definitely our biggest holiday that people actually home cook potatoes.”

Pelletier says they are currently processing 120,000 pounds of potatoes a day.

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