News : This spud's for you: Maine-grown organic potatoes a huge hit at Robert's

Sep 26, 2011

It's not often that a Valentine's Day gift ends up being one that keeps on giving. But that's exactly how Robert's Maine Grill General Manager Chef Craig Spinney sees his restaurant's new crop of organic, Maine-grown potatoes. The local love story began last winter, when Spinney began eagerly looking for a way to incorporate a better, greener potato into his restaurant's popular Valentine's Day menu. Through one of the restaurant's distributors, Spinney was put in touch with Misty Meadows Farm, located on the Canadian border in the St. John's Valley, in Grand Isle, Maine.

"The farm is beautiful," said Spinney, formerly the Head Chef at Robert's. "It looks right over the St. John's River, right into Canada, and it was just a beautiful farm." When Spinney purchased his first sample of the organic German Butterball potatoes, he paid a little over a dollar a pound -- pretty pricey, even for high quality organic spuds. And then he ate one. "They were absolutely delicious," Spinney recalls, his voice beaming. "They were literally to die for. The best part is, we could roast them, mash them, steam them -- they were very versatile."

In fact, the potatoes are so rich that, according to Spinney, adding the regular amount of butter and cream would often cause them to break: "We've never had potatoes this good and this full of flavor," he exclaims. "Customers have been absolutely raving over them." Spinney eventually contacted Misty Meadows, inquiring whether the farm could meet Roberts' 400-500 pound a week quota. As it turned out, the farm had a sizable stock ready to go, and even committed to setting a plot aside specifically for Robert's.

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