CARIBOU, Maine (AP) — Maine potato growers saw strong yields this season but a driver shortage is making it slower and more expensive to get the spuds to market.
Good weather during the growing season boosted yields by about 20%, and the Loring Development Authority offered former military buildings to help store the crop, the Bangor Daily News reported.
But supply chain delays, higher fuel costs and lack of transportation could cut into growers’ income.
“The real problem is no trucks to haul containers. That means prices go up for the transportation, prices go up to our consumers for the goods, and we end up selling for less,” said Brian Guerrette of Guerrette Farms in Caribou.
Nationwide, the trucking industry was short of drivers before the pandemic. “Trucks have been a challenge, but they’re even more of a challenge now,” said Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board.
Despite the transportation roadblocks, Guerrette said he believes things will even out eventually. “People love potatoes,” he said.
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