Climate mapping helps these Aroostook seed potatoes travel thousands of miles

BRIDGEWATER, Maine – Winter Mondays begin with weather maps at a farm in Aroostook County.

The ritual begins just after dawn at the Wood Prairie Family Farm in Bridgewater, which sells certified organic seed potatoes. Before shipping products to buyers in places like California, Kansas, Alaska and New York, employees must decide if shipping is safe and in which direction.

It is common for farmers to study climatological patterns for planting and harvesting. But as one of the few mail order shippers of seed potatoes in the country, shipping 10 months of the year, the farm needs to determine the weather to stay in business. You can’t afford to ship when there’s a chance the order will freeze en route, said farm founder Jim Gerritsen.

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