Thankful for family, thankful for potatoes | News
NEW LIMERICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's a brisk November day in New Limerick, but there are potatoes that need to be picked.
Wind gusts are making the day a chilly one - conditions these harvesters are used to.
"It's unique, it's different," Brian Doescher said. "It requires long hours this time of year. Don't expect to get a day off even if it rains, because then we have to put orders out."
And don't expect to be bored, Doescher says. He's the manager at Nature's Circle Farm and has been for the past couple of years. It's a business he never imagined getting into.
"I enjoy Maine potatoes, actually. I think they have a better flavor, especially if you can get them fresh. Different varieties have a little bit of a different flavor."
Once the potatoes are harvested, they're taken off the trucks, picked through, sorted, cleaned, and divided into 5-pound bags. Every single potato must go through this rigorous process.
Meg Scott co-owns the farm with her father, Dick York, who started the farm in 1996. She's a social worker turned potato farmer and loving every minute of it.
"We just kind of walked into it with not really knowing what we were doing, but as I continue with it, I just grow to love it more and more," Scott said.
What started out as a 2-acre farm is now a farm with over 300 acres of tillable land, 80 of it devoted to potatoes. Between too little rainfall in the summer and too much this past fall, it's not going to be that great of a potato harvest season. But Nature's Circle Farm will still turn out over a million pounds of vegetables like carrots, rutabaga, and squash.
"I love growing things, I love to be a part of this. I love having my kids be a part of this, and we're going to pick potatoes this afternoon, so it's quite and experience," Scott said.
This family owned and operated farm is proud to be organic and MOFGA certified. To them, it means building up the soil to make it more sustainable for future generations.
Brian's Mashed Potato Casserole - Serves 4-6
4-5 large baking potatoes (Russets, Yukons, Kennebecs, etc.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Butter, bacon bits, paprika (for garnish, optional)
Boil potatoes until tender when prodded with a fork, then drain. Add cheese, butter, milk, and seasonings while mixing and mashing. For a lumpier consistency, add more milk and/or butter. Place mixture in 9x9 or 2-quart casserole dish. Top with dots of butter, bacon bits, and paprika (optional). Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.
Use the same ingredients as above.
Place 4-5 large baking potatoes in a pre-heated oven 400 F. Bake for one hour, or until tender when poked with fork. Cut potatoes length-wise in half and scoop out pulp, leaving skins intact. Mix pulp with cheese, butter, milk, and seasonings. Place mixture back into potatoes skins. Top with dotted butter, bacon bits, and paprika (optional). Place back in the oven at 350 F for about 15-20 minutes. Serve piping hot.