County Ag Report - Pineland Farms Potato Company

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 12:03 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

“Pineland Farms was started back in 1997 when a group of about thirteen local farmers wanted to have a place to bring local crops, mainly potatoes, and have more employment opportunities for the area.”

If you’re wondering where all those potatoes go after being harvested from fields across The County each fall, Shawn Lovley, Plant Manager at Pineland Farms Potato Company, has the answer. Many of those potatoes are delivered to processing plants, including Pineland Farms processing plant in Mars Hill.

“Today we have eighteen growers, what we call growers, which are local farmers of the area, anywhere from Fort Kent to Houlton. So, the farthest a potato travels into this facility is about sixty miles.”

Lovley says there’s a difference between their plant and other processors in the area.

“We’re unique in the fact we’re not frozen, we’re refrigerated. So technically we consider ourselves a fresh potato. We have a shelf life that’s sixty-five days on mash, give or take, and thirty-five days on the cut potato. So, we produce two, I guess you could say three types of mainstream products. The first one is your dice which you would have on your breakfast menu primarily, three quarter or one inch dice, both white and red skin. Then we produce a food service mash which is in a five or six-pound bag. And then we produce a retail mash for the Bob Evans group which you find at your Hannaford or your Star City IGA.”

To produce that number of products, Pineland Farms operates three lines, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-three days a year, only closing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“The plant has three processing lines. One line is a cuts line, one line is a food service mash line which would take products to stores like Applebees or Chili’s, and then the third line is your retail line that produces products for the Bob Evan’s label. All those three lines are processing at the same time, and we typically produce about half a million pounds a day.”

And where do all those Aroostook County potatoes go?

“These products are distributed across the country, into eastern Canada, and then we also ship some mash products down to the Chili’s restaurants in Puerto Rico.”

Brian Bouchard, NEWSSOURCE 8.