MONTICELLO, Maine — Although a Monticello potato grower isn’t going to Disney World, his seed potatoes are.
Daniel Corey, who operates Daniel Corey Farms in Monticello, has sent some of his seed potatoes to Epcot in the Walt Disney World Theme Park in Florida. Epcot plans to use the potatoes to develop a suitable hydroponic potato-growing method and to select the right varieties so potatoes could potentially be included in The Land pavilion, according to a press release from Maine News Direct.
The pavilion sits on the west side of “Future World,” one of two themed areas of Epcot. One of the key attractions of The Land, according to Disneydreams.net, is “Living With The Land.” The narrated 14-minute boat journey takes riders through four greenhouses with crops from around the world and an aquaculture facility, the Aquacell. The ride emphasizes sustainable agriculture for millions of guests every year. Major agricultural crops from around the world are showcased in the attraction, including rice, sugar cane, peanuts, cacao and bananas. One of the growing areas, The Creative House, shows imaginative ways to grow crops: without soil, hanging in the air, even on a space station.
Corey sent Lachipper, Atlantic, Yukon Gold and four other seed potatoes to Epcot. The varieties consist of reds, whites, yellows, purple, potato chip and table varieties.
Corey said he believes the venture will be successful.
“Our seed potatoes will grow there,” he said in the press release. “Florida is our biggest customer of seed potatoes, and we know what works.”
Maine ships tens of thousands of tons of its certified seed potatoes up and down the East Coast, and internationally, each year. More than 100 growers in the state ship more than 100 varieties to locations across the globe.
Corey said he is most excited about the venture because he believes it will help promote Maine’s potato industry and educate people everywhere about the crop.
“Many people don’t even realize potatoes start out in a test tube, using the eye of a potato,” he said. “Many potatoes, even those grown in other states, get their start right here in Maine.”
There are about 380 potato growers in Maine, the press release indicated. The total impact of the potato industry on the state’s economy is $540 million in sales, 6,100 jobs, more than $230 million in personal income and more than $32 million in state and local taxes.