PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Maine’s classic Russet potato was a big hit at this year’s Eastern States Exposition, with more than 65,600 sold to visitors there.
Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said Wednesday that it was a great year for potatoes at the Big E after several years of declining sales.
Baked potato sales were up approximately 4,211 potatoes from last year, with a total of 65,672 potatoes sold, according to figures supplied by the Big E.
The Big E, held Sept. 13-29 in Springfield, Massachusetts, is organized as an educational institution under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A volunteer board of trustees consisting of representatives from each of the six New England States governs the expo. This year’s exposition saw 1.6 million visitors.
The Maine potato industry is represented each year in the State of Maine building on the Avenue of States, where baked potatoes with all of the toppings are sold.
Every dollar made in net income from selling Maine baked potatoes at the Big E goes directly back into the potato industry, supporting education, research and grower activities.
“It was nice because sales have not been good the past two or three years,” Flannery said. “The last few years the weather hasn’t been good. When you get a couple of bad days of weather it is just so hard to make [it] up. But attendance was actually really good this year.”
Flannery said that nothing has changed about the way the Maine contingent serves their potatoes.
“It is the same variety of potatoes and the same toppings,” he said of the Russets that are served. “Nothing has really changed at all.”