If our tractors could talk…what a tale their thoughts could tell (to borrow a line from a famous Canadian songwriter.) Fortunately there’s someone driving the tractor that has eyes and opposable thumbs to take pictures to show us what sights are out there! It’s not easy to grab a phone to snap a quick picture while towing an implement down a bumpy farm lane while you’re in a hurry to get to the fields. This slideshow is a compilation of snapshots RJ took while he was out and about over the last few months. From unexpected encounters with wildlife to beautiful pictures of the potato fields, it’s easy to see how much he appreciates the scenery around him. And I think you will agree that the artistic side of the farmer shines through with his stunning sunset and trillium photos. If you would like to see more pictures of some of the animals that live here at the farm with us you can visit “Pond Life Part II.”
So what’s REALLY like to work on a farm during the harvest? Here’s a 10 second video of our crew unloading a bulk truck full of potatoes. They are hard at working making sure that any rocks and weeds picked up by the harvester are not put into our storage. If you watch this video 100 times you will see how long it takes to unload one truck. Multiply that by 10 trucks per day and then multiply that by 7 days a week for 6 weeks and you will have a good idea of what we have been up to! (Give or take a few rain days and this year even extreme heat days.) To learn more about the function of the bin filler is you can visit “Journey From The Underground Part III” or watch a video at “The Potato Bin Filler.”
Happy Thanksgiving Canada! We hope you have a special day as you celebrate the bounty of the harvest this Thanksgiving weekend. While we are not quite finished the harvest this year, we took a well-deserved afternoon off to host our annual family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. The weather was spectacular, the food was delicious and the company was outstanding. As for the wild turkey that was wandering up our driveway, he certainly seems confident that pork will be on most menus this year! You can visit our “Gallery” for more photos of the wildlife that lives here on the farm with us.
They say it takes an entire village to raise a child. In our case, it takes an entire dedicated team to raise potatoes. Here is a closer look at some of the people who have been working hard at #harvest17 (although we are missing a few key players who were busy at other jobs off the farm when I took the pictures yesterday.) After his morning job of delivering potatoes to our customers, Curtis keeps the bulk trucks rotating so there is always one truck getting unloaded and one truck getting loaded in the field. John and RJ have logged hundreds of hours operating the windrower and the harvester (with a little help yesterday from our office assistant Shelby!) Alfonso works beside the harvester all fall driving the bulk truck. The crew back at the storage run the bin filler which keeps the potatoes moving out of the trucks into the storage. Every once in a while I escape the office and the accounting to travel around on a photo shoot. And as for Murray, he keeps a watchful eye over the whole process! With a little luck and some decent weather we hope to finish the harvest by the end of next week. If you would like to learn more about the potato harvest process you can visit “Journey From The Underground Part I” “Journey From The Underground Part II” and “Journey From The Underground Part III.”
Last weekend’s Farm To Fork Tour was quite a success here at our farm. Many people came out to enjoy the beautiful fall day and collect food for their upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The mini potato dig and nature Q&A board were big hits with the kids. My education board about potato farming sparked many intelligent questions from interested people. If you missed the tour feel free to drop into the farm anytime to view the education board, pick up your free recipes and your fall décor. We are still offering fresh produce from local farms such as squash, turnips, carrots, onions, cabbages and of course potatoes. You can visit “What We Offer – At The Door” for more information and directions to the farm.
We are thrilled to be participating in the second annual East Gwillimbury Farm to Fork Thanksgiving Tour taking place this weekend on Saturday, September 30th. This self-guided tour features stops at local farms where you can learn about farming as well as purchase everything you need for your Thanksgiving dinner. Our kid friendly stop features a mini potato dig, mini colouring pages for our Spud Wall of Fame, interactive display boards about nature on a farm and giant colouring posters to take home. For the adults we offer complimentary recipes, recipe booklets, fall decorative items and farm fresh local produce. I will be staffing an educational section explaining how we plant, grow and store potatoes over the winter. Hope to see you there! To find out more about the tour or to purchase wristband tickets you can visit www.experienceEG.ca
Our battle with Mother Nature continues here at the farm. If I were to review the weather this year, I guess I could say “it could have been better…but it could have been worse.” An overly wet spring left us with flooded sections and drowned out seed potatoes. The summer saw severe thunderstorms rolling in one after another. Dramatic fluctuations in temperatures created foggy conditions continually for the early morning starts. Now this unseasonal heat has halted the harvest until temperatures return to somewhat normal. And the tough reality is that despite this surprise mid-summer weather, winter is coming and we must get the crop harvested before the snow flies. Yet there is always hope with a rainbow (or two!) To hear more about potato farming in York Region, you can click on “BJ’s Radio Interview.”
It’s funny how things can change so much yet remain completely same. These photos were taken approximately 30 years ago in the mid 1980’s. To my untrained eye I am surprised to see how similar some of this equipment looks when compared to what we are using today. In fact, the bulk truck still resides at our farm as far as I can tell. (Of course, I could be wrong since distinguishing between different makes and models of vehicles has never been one of my strong points as RJ and my sons could tell you!) While today’s equipment is more sophisticated, the basic work flow is still the same. In these photos of the potato harvest of yesteryears, RJ is using the windrower to dig up potatoes. Don follows with the harvester to pick them up along with a few extra rows. The potatoes get loaded into a bulk truck and taken to the farm for storage over the winter. To have a closer look at some of the equipment we use today you can visit our "Photo Gallery.”
The cavalry has arrived! Let the fall harvest begin! Over the next 5 to 6 weeks everyone at the farm will be working together to bring in the potato crop. I wanted to post this funny little video before everyone gets too tired to appreciate the humour in it. I debated for quite some time whether to call it “The Cavalry Arrives” or “The Almost Crash.” I leave it up to you to decide since I still cannot make up my mind. Stay tuned for harvest updates broadcast directly from my back porch! To see a video of the potato harvester operating at actual speed you can visit “The Potato Harvester.”
Many people have mixed feelings about the Labour Day long weekend. It signifies both the end of summer and a new start for so many people who head back to school and work. It is the busiest time of the year for us here at the farm as we continue to supply fresh sweet corn and potatoes for our produce stand while we prepare to start the harvest. To celebrate the start of fall, I present a new recipe for sweet corn salad. This recipe combines leftover corn on the cob with fresh produce, bacon and cheese. How could it be anything but delicious?! Click on the PDF file above to download or print the recipe. For a second very interesting and unusual recipe you can try my “Mexicana Sweet Corn Salad.” Happy Labour Day to you all!
Thompson Potato Farm
Farming is fascinating!