St. John Valley Senior College to explore historic doughnut business

FORT KENT, Maine — A popular doughnut business founded in the St. John Valley more than half a century ago will be the topic of an upcoming St. John Valley Senior College class. 

The group will explore the history of Plourde Donuts, which Christy Plourde of Fort Kent founded in 1965.

Plourde, 85, still has the receipt from the fryer and buckets she purchased in October 1965 from her own aunt, Isabel Bouchard, who used to make the doughnuts from her home on Market Street in Fort Kent before moving to Massachusetts.

The operation cost Plourde and her late husband, Clarence, $400 in total.

Bouchard also passed along her doughnut recipe to Plourde before moving away. 

Christy Plourde, seen here in 2019, had been making the locally famous Plourde’s Donuts for 54 years. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

Plourde’s granddaughter, Jessica Libby, 38, took over the family business, now named Lil J’s Donuts, when Plourde retired early last year.

The Tuesday, March 23, class will include a history of the business and a virtual tour of Libby’s home kitchen in Mapleton where she now cooks up the doughnuts. 

The family doughnut recipe continues to find success under Libby’s management.

She expanded sale locations and sells Lil J’s Donuts throughout Aroostook County at John’s Shurfine and Gas ‘n Go in fort Kent, Bald Eagle in Eagle Lake, Lake Road Grocery in Soldier Pond, Coffin’s General Store in Portage, Ashland 1 Stop in Ashland, Bradley’s Citgo and Convenience Store, Star City IGA and Save-A-Lot in Presque Isle, Save-A-Lot in Caribou and at Country Farms Market in Washburn.

Libby said she is happy to participate in the senior college class because she wants her grandmother’s legacy to continue in the community.

St. John Valley Senior College is offering all spring/summer 2021 classes virtually and free of charge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The classes will be presented on Zoom and will also be recorded and aired on WFKTV Channel 4, Madawaska’s student-supported local access television station WOWL Channel 16 and YouTube. 

To participate in any of the St. John Valley Senior College classes via Zoom video conference, registration is required seven days prior to the individual classes to allow administrators to provide participants with a Zoom link.

Registration is available online at, or via email at

For information or to register by telephone, call St. John Valley Senior College at 207-834-3536.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.