The future of potato growing

A story by Dan Blackstone from 2017

Dan Blackstone, Caribou, 2017

I am the sixth generation in my family to farm potatoes in Aroostook County. I learned from my dad--I was always with him. My son Brendan used to ride on my lap in the tractor cab, now he’s 14, and we don’t both fit anymore, so he drives the tractor!

My family raises 420 acres of russet Burbank, blazer russet, shepody and Caribou russet potatoes. Changes in technology are enhancing the work of today's growers. New tractors, sprayers, and planters help with fatigue of older technology, but it’s still a hard 14-hour day.

I think about the future of potato growing for Brendan, and show him how to be a good steward of the land. I'm a member of the Maine Potato Board, and in 2018 they named me the Young Farmer of the Year. We growers strive to better the future for the next generation--and that next generation needs to also know and remember that as a farmer, you are what your land is.

Brendan Blackstone

Potato field