As a lifelong Maine resident, I have learned that standing up for Maine people can prompt change in our remote corner of the Great Republic. My problem concerns Five Guys Hamburgers.

Six months ago, my wife and I stopped for supper at Five Guys in Brunswick; it was a pleasant experience, except for a prominent white board identifying the origin of their fresh potatoes, soon to become french fries. Bushel sacks of Idaho spuds lined restaurant passageways.

Puzzled why their potatoes were not sourced locally, I called Five Guys’ corporate offices and was told that it was a quality issue. After deflating Five Guys’ argument, I called corporate again, and was informed of another factor: Five Guys enjoyed a strong, historic relationship with Idaho potato farmers. I reiterated the advantages of Maine potatoes and theorized that cost savings in shipping potatoes from say, Aroostook farms – instead of a lengthy transit from western Idaho – might increase corporate profits and lower prices to the New England consumer. I was assured that my concerns would be communicated to the Five Guys.

Last week I returned to the Brunswick Five Guys. The white board advertised the spuds were procured and shipped from “Crapo Farms in Saint Anthony, Idaho.” We have little control over frozen fries served in fast-food places, but we should protest in-our-face flaunting of fresh potatoes trucked from the far side of America.

Maine potatoes spring from hardy soil, honed from a stout work ethic, enriched by staunch character. In the 1500s, John Lyly wrote: “Many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks.” I believe that good Maine citizens can open floodgates bursting with hardscrabble spirit, and rally to the aid of Maine farmers.

Barry Lohnes

Topsham