During the last six months I have been busy documenting the process of growing potatoes. In my journey from field to field, naturally I found many other interesting items to photograph. Enjoy this compilation of artistic photos taken around the farm that I have entitled “Picturesque Patterns.”
Our potatoes are now at the end of their journey from the underground into storage for the winter. The fully loaded bulk trucks are driven back to the farm where our capable employees take over. The potatoes are run out of the bulk truck to the bin filler where they travel over a series of belts and rubber finger rollers until they reach the potato storage building.
The belts on the bin filler serve many different functions. The rubber finger rollers knock dirt and debris off the potatoes. Any small rocks, bits of dirt or tiny potatoes drop through the sizing screen onto the garbage conveyor. The bigger rocks and clumps of weeds are picked out by hand by our staff. Human eyes can differentiate many things the machines miss, which means our staff is essential at this point of the harvest.
By the time the potatoes have run through all the belts they have been sorted in two different grading areas by our staff and have run through two different machine grades on the bin filler. This means we are only using our storage buildings to store potatoes, not unwanted field residue.
The potatoes are deposited into separate sections of the building based on variety. They are separated by floor to ceiling walls. The building is temperature and humidity controlled to create optimum conditions for keeping our crop in premium condition over the winter.
Now we just sit back and relax all winter….but not really!
If you would like to see a video of the bin filler, you can visit the installment of The Common-Tater called “The Potato Bin Filler.”
Our potatoes travel out of the bulk trucks along the bin filler to be stored for the winter. To learn more about how the bin filler works, you can visit our installment of The Common-Tater entitled “Journey From The Underground Part III.”
BJ has a new job title: Media Spokesperson. This interview about potato farming in York Region originally aired on 105.9 The Region on Saturday, October 8th and Sunday, October 9th, 2016. Click on the audio link to hear the entire interview.
The potato harvester picks up where the windrower has finished. Since the windrower leaves the potatoes lying exposed to the sunlight, it is essential that the harvester picks up the potatoes quickly. The operators of the two machines need to be in constant communication with each other.
The harvester digs an additional two rows of potatoes as it collects the four rows of potatoes left piled up neatly by the windrower. Much like the windrower, many weeds and large clumps of soil are sorted by the series of belts on the harvester. The sorting is somewhat more dramatic. The foliage is shot out of the back of the harvester and can travel quite some distance. I discovered this much to my sorrow when I got a little too close to the back of the harvester and was rained on by the dust and dirt!
RJ Thompson drives the harvester at our farm. As you can see in the photos, it is a huge piece of equipment. Driving the harvester required concentration and coordination with both the windrower operator and the bulk truck driver, as well as the ability to drive forward in a straight line while looking backwards. Once the bulk truck is filled with potatoes it is driven back to the farm to be unloaded into our storage. Stay tuned to learn all about the bin filler!
If you would like to see a video of the harvester, you can visit the installment of The Common-Tater called “The Potato Harvester.”
Thompson Potato Farm
Farming is fascinating!