It appears as though the end of the season is mirroring the beginning, with regards to wetness. The intense rainfall over this last weekend (over 9 inches fell here last weekend and more this weekend) have left the fields sodden. This situation presents some problems for the close of the season. At this point we are unable to walk on the fields, let alone drive a tractor on them. This has many implications, but the most important one with regards to you and this season concerns the potatoes that are still in the ground. Because the potatoes were planted late due to the wet spring, they have only now matured. During the month of October in a normal year, I am usually out with a tractor and mechanical harvester bringing in the bulk of the potato crop. A large part of this crop is stored away for winter markets (one source of income that I depend on during the off-season) and for next season’s seed. But a significant quantity– over 1200 lbs– is distributed to you during the final pick-up week.
At this point, it appears as though the potatoes will need to be forked out or the entire crop will be lost. It goes without saying that this can be a daunting task for one or two farmers, but twenty or thirty hardy souls shod in rubber boots could have all the taters up in a few hours.
By now, you have probably figured out the purpose of this note and have either clicked the “delete” button or used a hard copy to start a fire in your wood stove *OR* you are eagerly awaiting the next sentence which will tell you when we might do this deed.
The final potluck of the season is scheduled for 2:00pm on Sunday October 23rd and I am proposing a “potato-digging party” for that morning, beginning at 10am. With any luck, we will have a few days of dryness prior to, and on the 23rd. Of course, if the weather is wet, we will not attempt it and the potatoes will return to the soil from whence they came. If the weather is nice, it could be a fun “community-supported” project. Please bring your pitchforks!
So, until the 23rd, I’ve put in my order for a mid-October “Indian Summer” and I hope to see many of you on that day clad in in rubber boots and work gloves, pitch forks in hand, and backs bent digging up the pommes de terre (apples of the earth.)
One note of optimism— because of the wet spring, I planted only half as many potatoes as originally intended, so it should take us half as much time to harvest them.
Hoping to see you on the 23rd,
Your farmer, Tom