Probus Club starts fall sessions

2 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Probus Club has resumed its fall sessions and in September and October discussed the Mediterranean diet and a family business in the potato industry.

The speaker at the September meeting was Nancy Holmquist of Cary Medical Center. Holmquist taught in New Sweden for 31 years before joining the hospital in public relations and community wellness.

Holmquist spoke about food culture in Mediterranean countries which U.S. News has labeled the best science-based diet for healthy eating. To look better, feel better and for a better quality of life, choose good quality, locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats, exercise at least 150 minutes per week and engage with others, she said.

A lively and informative discussion period followed.

 Probus welcomed Jay McCrum and granddaughter Dana at the October meeting, introduced by program chairperson Linda Swett. 

They spoke of the development of their business in the Maine potato industry. Jay McCrum grew up on a family farm in Mars Hill. In the early 1960s, he and brother David, having just completed school at what is now Northern Maine Community College, planted their first 65-acre crop of potatoes. 

McCrum stressed that developing good relationships with neighboring farmers and others they did business with were instrumental in their success. They soon added a brother-in-law as a partner. Many children and grandchildren are now involved in the family business.

Other keys to the development of their business have been the ability to supply potato chip manufacturers in a timely way with the product they need, and the acquisition of a Belfast potato processing plant.

Rhw McCrums now raise potatoes in most Central Aroostook towns as well as in aouthwestern Maine, employ about 300 people and operate a new plant in Washburn producing french fries for the nation’s markets.

Following the meeting members visited the Washburn plant, see how potatoes go through the process from delivery to processing to product without being touched.  

The next Probus meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the community college in Presque Isle. The subject will be aerospace developments in the city.