A love of the land
by Anne-Marie R. Seltzer
By age 10, Torey McPherson '02 was driving a full-size tractor and harvesting potatoes on his family's farm in Mapleton, Maine. An "outdoor guy," he has channeled his love of the land into a satisfying career. Since 2006, Torey has been marketing the potato crop for Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg, Maine. "My heart and soul are in farming," says Torey, a fourth-generation farmer from Aroostook County. "This is where I was meant to be."
Torey McPherson '02
Torey majored in physical education and originally planned to teach. But income was a concern, so he returned to his summer employer after graduation. "In 2006, Donnie Thibodeau changed my life with a phone call," explains Torey. "He owned Green Thumb Farms and asked if I wanted to get back into agriculture. I was hired the day after my interview." (Thibodeau was also from Aroostook County and knew the McPherson family.)
Green Thumb grows conventional and organic potatoes, turf, grain corn and dry beans in the beautiful Saco River valley of southwestern Maine. (Torey developed the dry bean program last year.) "My job is finding the best home for our product, and that puts me in contact with people around the country," he says. "We've had our best success in New England retail stores - Hannaford and Shaw's Supermarkets and Whole Foods. Our sister company, Maine Distilleries, uses Green Thumb potatoes exclusively for its ultra-premium Cold River Vodka line."
The farm also provides most of the potatoes for Saint Joseph's College. "That connection is very special," he says. Torey describes the college as a great steppingstone. "The leadership and communication skills I learned there have prepared me to be a success," he says.