|The Potato Crop|
|Tuesday, August 19, 2008|
Potatoes here, potatoes there, potatoes everywhere. This is what happens when you plant 1300 pounds of seed potatoes into a well-composted field. With a lot of help from our friends, 300 bushels are out of the field and ready for their next stage sorting.
The baskets in the cave have been there for over a week. That means any bad potato will have started to stink. We pour them into another basket and pull out the bad ones. We’ll do this process several times 50 baskets had about 10 baskets of potatoes that needed to be dealt with directly.
In the shed we are sorting slowly. These were dug in the last day or two and we are culling about half of them. These seconds will keep for a while, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them. The number ones get tucked away on the cave shelves and will supply spuds throughout the winter.
I can’t sell potatoes, 200 families own them already. The seconds won’t be worth much soon. But how many potatoes will 200 families need? With about 20 weeks of deliveries ahead of us, at six bushels per week, we’ll need 12-150 bushels of the number ones for the food club members to get three pounds per week. They can have more if they want.
Since they paid for them, I guess they should get the number ones. But these others are fine potatoes, they just have a nick or hole in them that I don’t trust to store away inside a basket where they might rot and contaminate others. I bet I send a whole tuck-load of seconds first, and send the number ones later.
What to do with the rest? Macon County produces bumper crops, especially potatoes. I guess we’ll give ½ bushels away to neighbors. No one needs t o go hungry, and Macon County loves to eat them as much as grow them.
The monthly fees I collect from Nashville support the farm and will keep us going until we produce next year’s crop. A lot of folks donate labor here, and we love to give potatoes away. The club members don’t need all the excess, so we are fee to do this.
300 bushels is 15,000 pounds. We pick the potatoes up once in the field and put them in a basket, then load the truck. We unload, move them around, lift and sort several times, finally load the van, and then unload in Nashville. 15,000 pounds becomes 150,000 pounds by the time we’re done. You can see why I am so thankful for all the help we get.
It’s a community farm in a great community. Giving away a few potatoes is a small way of saying thank you. There are a lot of people in Nashville who want to support farms like ours. If you need spuds, bring a box. We need to empty some baskets to get ready for the winter squash harvest.