Rain delayed planting season in Aroostook County, where about 90 percent of Maine’s potatoes are grown, and now it’s jeopardizing the multimillion-dollar crop.
It’s been more than a decade since wet weather has plagued County farmers. Potatoes need healthy moisture to grow, but too much water can lead to rot. After a recent week of rain followed by deluges from a tropical storm, growers need drier days ahead to ensure a healthy crop, experts said this week.
“It’s so wet we can’t harvest. We have not been able to harvest any potatoes for storage,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody of Fitzpatrick/Peabody Farm in Houlton said Wednesday.
Potatoes are Maine’s top food crop, followed by milk and blueberries. Record and near-record potato harvests the past two years brought more than $258 million into the state, and some growers actually ran out of storage space. With such a large haul, Maine farmers shared the wealth and in 2021 and 2022 shipped potatoes to Western states where weather damaged crops.
Source: The County. Read the full story here
Photo: The crew at Daniel Corey Farms in Monticello takes advantage of a warm night in October 2022 to continue loading harvested potatoes into storage. Photo courtesy of Daniel Corey Farms via The County