News October 2021, North America, Storage

Maine’s bountiful potato crop: Farmers need airplane hangars to store it

After nearly three decades of vacancy, the warehouses and airplane hangars of the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine have acquired new tenants — millions of freshly harvested Aroostook County potatoes.

As Hannah Catlin reports for the Bangor Daily News, the potatoes are as out of place as they look at Loring — which has been largely vacant since the military shut the base down in the mid-1990s and it was reinvented as Loring Development Authority. The County’s potato farmers storing their crops there have never had to do so in the past, but the yield from this year’s harvest is so large that many farmers have had to get creative with stashing their spuds.

After 2020 — when drought shrank the harvest and pandemic supply chain breakdown shrank the revenues — some farmers are reporting crop yields as much as 20 percent larger than anticipated this year.

While the yield is largely good news, the sheer size of the 2021 harvest is creating new problems for some farmers, who now need to find and then adapt to makeshift storage facilities that aren’t built to preserve the quality of the potatoes.

Source: Bangor Daily News. Read the full story here
Photo: Workers from Butler Farms watch a bin piler unload thousands of potatoes into a former military storage facility at Loring Development Center. Credit: Hannah Catlin / Aroostook Republican

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