County Super Spuds
For decades, the state of Maine was the number-one potato-growing state in the country. When water was introduced in the West, other states started their own spud production, with Idaho now as number one.
But in Maine, Sue McCrum and her family grow about 4,000 acres of potatoes on a farm called “County Super Spuds.” It’s a 5th generation farming operation that has been producing potatoes on the same land since 1886. Sue says it’s all in the soil.
"There has been a University of Maine study, we have a wonderful soil called “Caribou loam”," she says. "It is rightful in nutrients, it causes a great flavor within our potatoes, and the study says that we have so many nutrients within that Caribou loam that potatoes grown in Maine use only 10% of the additives put on other potatoes grown throughout the United States. Which is something I think is a great selling point."
The food industry has taken note. Sue says for example, the restaurant chain TGI Fridays buys her potatoes to serve as potato skins, and many of the farm’s Russet Burbank spuds end up as McDonald’s French fries.
If you grow potatoes you know that digging and pulling the crop out of the ground takes a bit of work. Sue has helped harvest them for over 40-years and says over time, machinery has solved most of that burden. However, it still takes all hands on deck.
"In Aroostook County where I am from, many of the schools still recess in the fall to help with the potato harvest. We have a very low population, a little less than 1.4 million people in the state of Maine," says Sue. "So it’s a cultural thing, teaches a great work ethic, and has been done for years to recess and let the students and the teachers in the area have an opportunity to help bring in the harvest of potatoes."
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