Bangor, ME — U.S. Senator Susan Collins attended the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor today, where she congratulated the Maine Potato Board and University of Maine researchers on the release of the highly anticipated Caribou Russet potato. The Caribou Russet was first announced last spring. Since then, commercial seed has been developed, planted, and harvested, with the first crop being made widely available to consumers this weekend.
“Maine’s potato industry is essential to our economy and is responsible for the creation or support of approximately 5,000 jobs, with an annual economic impact of more than $540 million. As a native of Aroostook County, I was fortunate to have grown up amid the values of hard work, determination, innovation, and common sense that mark the potato industry and those who work in it,” said Senator Collins. “Today’s release of the Caribou Russet is the result of the productive partnership between the Maine Potato Board and the University of Maine. I commend Dr. Greg Porter, his UMaine research team, and the Board on their successful collaboration.”
The Caribou Russet, which was developed by the University of Maine, is a dual-purpose, russet-skinned variety potato with high yields, mid-season maturity, and moderate common scab resistance. In addition to fresh-market consumption, the new variety is expected to be useful for processing markets. Following the Maine Harvest Festival, the Caribou Russet will be available in select stores in Maine. As the supply is increased, the potato will be made available in more locations.
“It’s always exciting when we can introduce something new to the market,” said Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board. “This is particularly exciting because it is a really unique russet. We’re calling it the potato lover’s potato because it has a nice, rich flavor and is perfect for baking, mashing, or grilling. We think that people will really enjoy what they taste, and we’re looking forward to putting them in consumers’ hands this weekend in Bangor…Sen. Collins is very supportive of our industry, and shares in our excitement about the Caribou Russet.”
The 6th annual Maine Harvest Festival is presented by the Maine Potato Board. More than 150 venders and approximately 6,000 people are expected to attend the event over the course of the weekend. For more information on the Maine Potato Board, visit www.mainepotatoes.com.