Today is Canada’s Agriculture Day. A day we can come together to celebrate Canadian agriculture and the food we all love. Through every month of the year we take great pride in providing a quality product to feed Canadians. Each potato dish pictured on the slideshow was developed in our kitchen. You can find all the recipes at “Spud Smarts – About Cooking Potatoes” and in previous installments of “The Common-Tater” in the recipes categories. Bon Appétit!
Everyone always wants to know what farmers do in the winter. I have decided a more interesting post could be generated by the question: “What does a farm dog do during the winter?” From preparing for Santa Paws to helping clear driveways to romping in the snow, Murray toughs it out like the rest of us here in Canada during the long winter while he dreams of spring. For more photos of animals here at the farm you can visit “Pond Life Part II.”
A steaming bowl of homemade soup can go a long way towards warming us up on this cold and snowy first day of February. This soup recipe uses every day ingredients and is super easy to assemble. Sautéed leeks, grated carrots and mashed potatoes are simmered in a vegetable broth gently seasoned with thyme leaves. A tasty garnish of croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese and chives adds a finishing touch that is guaranteed to have everyone coming back for seconds. Click on the PDF file above to download or print the recipe. Other inspiring potato recipes are available at “Spud Smarts – About Cooking Potatoes.” Bon Appétit!
So let’s talk about grading potatoes. If I had to summarize what this means in one sentence I would say…”Grading potatoes separates the good from the bad and the ugly.”
All our potatoes are run over our grading line before they are packaged and sold. There is a sizing belt where mini potatoes are removed. We pick out any potatoes that have green marks caused by inadvertent exposure to sunlight, potatoes with machine damage and extra-large potatoes. Heart shaped, U shaped, and extra bumps on potatoes are a few examples of potato shapes that are also pulled out during the grading process. These oddly shaped potatoes lead to fun photo opportunities.
Once these potatoes are removed, we are left with “No 1” grade. Have a closer look at the next bag of potatoes you come across from our farm and you will see it has a line that states it contains “No 1” potatoes. As for what happens to the “No 2” potatoes that have been removed, that’s another story for a different day. To see more about our potatoes you can visit “What We Offer – Potatoes.”
The first week of 2018 was a freezing one. Frigid temperatures combined with strong winds prompted Extreme Cold Warnings for most of the week. Not only do we have to keep ourselves warm, we battle with keeping buildings warm, equipment running and delivery trucks started. I wonder if the arctic temperatures had anything to do with this gorgeous sunbow that appeared last Friday. Or the moon that stubbornly refused to go below the horizon as it’s supposed to. (The picture of the moon looks sort of bland until you realize it was taken at about 9:30 am long after the moon should have disappeared.) To see more interesting weather photos you can visit my previous post “Tater Tales Sept 25th: Wacky Weather of 2017.”
As we prepare for our annual New Year’s Eve gathering under bitterly cold winter conditions, I wanted to take a minute to wish you the very best for 2018. “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.” (Irish proverb) Happy New Year to you from all of us here at Thompson Potato Farm!
All is quiet on the potato farm front. The last of the field work and the fall chores have been completed. And anything that wasn’t finished will have to wait for the spring since Old Man Winter has visited us with minor snowfall and wild, blustery winds. Hopefully this selection of photos will warm you up! These pictures of natural circles were taken during my travels this past year as I was collecting footage for The Common-Tater. From a brilliant moonrise to a perfect circle bored into a felled tree to a gentle circle of moss, the photos highlight some of the simple beauty we can enjoy if we can find the time to slow down and look as we race along in our busy lives. You can visit “Picturesque Patterns” to see a collection of photos highlighting patterns found in nature on the farm.
There are always a few farming jobs to wrap up in the late fall. One of them is the harvest of the grain corn that we grow as a rotation crop. RJ and my brother-in-law can (and often do) talk at great length about whether the corn is ready to be harvested. I have to admit that most of the time I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Most of their conversations seem to revolve around the moisture content of the corn. All I can tell you is that they wait until the corn is as dry as possible before they truck it to the elevator. Since I have never travelled to the grain elevator, I believe I have more questions than answers for you today. Perhaps I will delve deeper into the grain corn mysteries over the winter! In the meantime, you can visit “Farewell Winter Wheat” to see photos of the very impressive combine at work.
This video is a very common sight when we are working the land in the fall. I have no idea where these seagulls come from but it’s a little bit eerie. There is virtually no sign of seagulls here all summer, but as soon as the tractors fire up in the fall they swoop in by the hundreds. Where do they come from? Where do they live all summer? And how do they know it’s time to feast? One of life’s little mysteries to ponder by the fire over the winter….You can visit the “Animals” category in The Common-Tater for more pictures and videos of some of the animals that live with us here at the farm.
It’s always a pleasant surprise to get a text from a friend informing you that your farm has been highlighted in a local newspaper. “From Their Farms To Your Fork” was written by Blair Matthews and is published in the November edition of the East Gwillimbury Bulletin. Blair’s article highlights his experience at three of the seven farms on the Farm To Fork Tour: King Cole Ducks, the Sharon Mushroom Farm and Thompson Potato Farm. Luckily he arrived at our farm as the tour was winding down so he was privy to an extended behind the scenes tour that included climbing up on the bin filler to have a closer look at how our potato storage equipment operates. It was a pleasure speaking with Blair and I hope he comes back again one day! To read the entire article click on the PDF file above. For more information about the tour you can visit “Tater Tales Sept 29th: Farm To Fork Thanksgiving Tour.”
Thompson Potato Farm
Farming is fascinating!