The warehouses and airplane hangars of Loring Air Force Base have acquired new tenants; millions of freshly harvested Aroostook County potatoes. The base has been largely vacant since the military shut it down in the mid-1990s. It and it was reinvented as Loring Development Authority.
Aroostook 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. 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.
Although the size of the yield is largely good news, the sheer volume 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.