Maine Potatoes head for the West Coast

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 9:10 PM EST
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VAN BUREN, Maine (WAGM) -Maine potato farmers had a banner year this past fall. They are now reaping the benefits by shipping to western States. Corey Bouchard takes a look at how they overcame a transportation issue to get their crop to market.

According to Jay Lajoie of Lajoie Growers, LLC in Van Buren. It has been a strong year for Maine Potatoes.

Jay Lajoie “The amount of crop this year, finding a home for it was an issue, transportation was an issue”

Our good growing season partnered with dry and unfavorable conditions in western states like Iowa, created a need for Maine Poatoes across the country.

”There was a number of processers looking for processing potatoes outside the county, actually outside the state of maine, these potatoes for example are going to washington state for a french fry processer.

With the increased demand came another question

”so with that new market and our crop availability here we had to find an efficent way to transport that potatoes.”

thats where a not so new, but reliable form of transportation came in to play... Rail

” Rail enables us to move a large quantity, although a longer transit time”

The Agricultural Barganing Council worked with Maine Northern Railway and Union Pacific to bring Refrigerated rail car service to Lajoie Growers to transport the spuds.

”Shipping by rail enables us to load the cars with approximately 80 tons of potatoes, so 160,000 pounds per car”

Lajoie says they have already shipped out around 30 cars, with no sign of slowing down in the near future.

”This avenue kind of puts Maine on the map, puts Maine Potatoes on the map, Maine produces good quality potatoes whether it’s fresh, processing, or chip potatoes.This project really helps put the name out there, gets our potatoes out west , lets them see how good our potatoes process and produce products, so its really important as a whole in the industry that this project went through.=

Lajoie hopes that after processors and consumers get a taste for Maine Potatoes, this partnership will last for many years to come. Corey Bouchard, Newssource 8

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