There are dozens of acres of blossoming potato plants on Route 2 just east of Bethel. The bright green plants are covered in white blossoms with bright yellow stamens. Potato blossoms, which range in color from white to blue and lavender, indicate the plants are beginning to produce potatoes. They’ll be ready to dig in late summer. Not only are potatoes Maine’s number one crop, but they are the leading vegetable crop in the United States. More than one million acres are planted each year with a yield of more than 40 billion pounds. Last year Americans ate an average of 117 pounds of potatoes per person. Only about 50 percent of the potatoes we ate were fresh, the rest were processed as frozen, dehydrated, and canned potatoes or chips.
We’re lucky to live in an area where we can see where and how our food is produced. Some of it we can pick ourselves, which is a reminder that blueberries are almost ready. This past week the local farmers’ markets had fresh herbs, garlic, greens, rhubarb, beets and carrots.
We had a bit of a heat wave last week with temperatures hitting the high 80s and 90s. If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, there are some great places in Bethel to go to escape the heat. If you want to be outdoors, try Angevine Park on the North Road. The park has shade trees, a swimming hole, and picnic tables. The park is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The water slide is open at Big Adventure on Route 2, and across the street at Bethel Outdoor Adventure, you can rent canoes or kayaks. Almost all of our restaurants and stores are air-conditioned; a hot day can be a good excuse for a meal out or a shopping trip. The Bethel Library is also a cool place to go. The library not only has magazines, books, and movies to use there or to borrow, but also has free public access computers and Wi-Fi.
If you have news to share, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 824-2483.