Sweet corn anyone?! This weekend we will be opening our sweet corn stand with Norfolk County corn while we wait for our own crop to be ready. We are also pleased to offer a selection of new potatoes hand dug by Johnny & Curtis to complement the first Ontario field tomatoes of the season. Come and enjoy the bounty of fresh, local food! To have a peek at one of my most popular recipes featuring sweet corn you can visit “Mexicana Sweet Corn Salad Recipe.”
“Farmers are professional gamblers.” True words spoken by a wise man I happen to know personally –RJ Thompson, my husband and owner of this farm. Every year we roll the dice and spend the same amount of money and time growing our crops. Will we spend the summer running very laborious irrigation or will we get just the right amount of rain for our potatoes? Will the sweet corn and winter wheat flourish under perfect conditions or will we battle excessive rains and flooding? Will there be destructive storms or will we see the rainbow at the end of the rain? Mother Nature doesn’t always give the best odds, but we persevere every year to harvest our crops. To see some previous weather challenges we have had here you can visit “Tater Tales Stormy Father’s Day” and “Tater Tales Wacky Weather.”
The past month found us struggling with intense Internet and Wi-Fi issues here at the farm (which is something most of you can probably relate to!) Many frustrating issues have been completely resolved and I am back on track to keep you interested and informed about what’s going on here at the farm. This blog is simply called “What’s Growing.” This past weekend we had beautiful weather and all our crops benefited from it. The potatoes are just coming into flower which means tiny spuds are forming underground. The sweet corn seems to be recovering from a rather rocky start with the cold, wet spring we had. The pumpkins and squash have been planted and are forming some really nice looking seedlings. And the winter wheat is tall and beautiful. To have a look at what was growing at our farm two years ago you can visit “Tater Tales July 18th What’s Growing.”
They have emerged! Last Thursday I took the first picture in this post of a tiny potato plant just beginning to poke out from the soil. It’s only ½“ high. On Sunday I took the second picture in this post and I think you can easily see what a big difference there is. All we needed was a little bit of warmth and sunshine to encourage a growth spurt. To learn a little more about how we grow potatoes you can visit “Spud Smarts – About Growing Potatoes.” We have moved onto planting other crops now that all the potatoes have been planted. This past weekend RJ managed to get another swath of sweet corn planted. Johnny and Curtis were very busy planting their pumpkins, squash and decorative corn. Busy times here indeed!
Today’s headline story coming to you Fresh From Our Farm is called “And It’s A Wrap!” We are pleased to let you know that #plant19 is now complete. All the seed potatoes are safely underground where they belong despite an extraordinary cold and wet spring here at the farm. The photos above show some of our seed potatoes in storage before we started planting. Each wooden box holds approximately 3,600 seed potatoes and each white tote bag is holding about 5,000 seed potatoes. So how many seed potatoes are you looking at in each of the photos? I would tell you but that wouldn’t be any fun at all. Feel free to do the math and see what you come up with. To watch a video of our potato planter in action you can visit “Tater Tales May 17th.”
Welcome to the second post in my brand new blog series called “Fresh From Our Farm.” This long weekend the men will be busy planting potatoes since the weather looks like it will finally cooperate a little bit. This video clip shows our seed cutting line in action. This is where we cut the larger seed potatoes into smaller pieces. They are loaded into bulk trucks and driven to the field to get loaded into the planter. To understand more about our seed potato cutting line and why we cut our seed potatoes in the first place you can visit “Journey to the Underground Part I.”
And so continues our very cold and wet #plant19. Have a great long weekend everyone! And no matter what your plans are be sure to make great memories, have some fun, stay safe and look out for slow moving tractors when you’re out and about!
Welcome to the first post in my brand new blog series called “Fresh From Our Farm.” Over the next year all my blogs will have fresh content with new photos, fresh new recipes, fresh off the press updates about life on the farm, and of course information about how we grow and sell our fresh produce. So let’s get started!
Saturday was another drizzly, foggy and miserable day. All the routine maintenance and inspections were done on the tractors and the planting equipment. Every order of seed potatoes had arrived. Everyone was fired up and ready to start planting. But we waited yet another day hoping the weather would dry up and warm up.
What a huge difference 24 hours can make! By Sunday afternoon all the equipment was moved to the field and we were finally able to start. And so begins #plant19. To see some amazing pictures of our seed potatoes being unloaded you can visit “Millions of Seed Potatoes.”
Honestly where does the time go? It’s already been three years since we launched our website and the response has just continued to increase! In 2018 we had just over 32,000 unique visitors than generated an astonishing 87,000 page views. One of the most exciting social media events to happen to us this year was my blog about road safety and tractors that went mini-viral reaching almost 40,000 people. This very important topic is so close to my heart as it involves the safety of my husband and my children as they set off to work every day.
My traditional top ten slideshow above features the blogs that got the most reaction on social media over the last year. It was an interesting exercise to analyze the feedback and reactions to the 30 blogs I wrote this year to see if I could discover a pattern in the topics that engage you. The results show that you are completely unpredictable! From a simple photo of sweet corn to a winter sunrise to an April Fool’s Day joke you have shown me for the third year in a row that you enjoy a wide variety of topics. So I will continue to generate many different blogs this year in the hopes of tickling your fancies! To view the top ten blogs of 2018 in their entirety you can visit the “Best of 2018” category in The Common-Tater as well as the best of 2017 and 2016 in case you missed those.
2018 brought both changes and challenges to our farm. We were relieved to be able to harvest our entire crop last fall under some of the most frustrating and difficult weather conditions we have seen in many years. The harvest conditions last fall created a potato shortage that will be felt nationally as the potato storages begin to empty out earlier than usual. Our son’s new venture growing pumpkins and squash was very well received and they are deep into planning the new crops for this upcoming year (including the giant pumpkin seedlings that are now growing in my kitchen!)
And what do we have planned for 2019? Our most important job is to continue to grow a quality potato that meets the needs of our ever growing base of customers. The seed potatoes have begun to arrive and we are getting ready to plant our potatoes as soon as the weather cooperates. The sweet corn seed is here and there are only 92 days until it will be ready to eat! I am very excited to be working with a close friend of mine as we develop a new recipe that promises to be one of the best ones I have released yet. Stay tuned for our “Baked Potato Bar” that will be sure to enhance your upcoming summer BBQs.
It’s been a great pleasure preparing all our social media events for you over the past three years. I encourage you to send me your feedback and suggestions at any time. Thank you for three incredible years and here’s to 2019!
It seems jalapeno peppers are all the rage these days so I thought I would hop on the band wagon and offer this recipe for a zippy appetizer. Jalapeno peppers are stuffed with spicy ground turkey covered with mashed potatoes and swiss cheese. The flavours in the ground turkey are subtle so they do not distract from the perfect heat of the peppers. Click on the PDF file above to download or print the recipe. If you would like to try another fun recipe that involves jalapeno peppers you can visit “Nacho Delight Potato Skins.” Bon Appétit!
Today I would like to address a little known topic about farming. We are often asked how we get the potatoes out of the ground in the winter. For centuries winter harvesting has been a tried and true method for keeping a fresh market supply of produce here in Canada. Working with snow and ice is never easy, and don’t even get me started on the wind chill in open fields! These pictures show our windrower and harvester set up to take on the winter weather conditions. Our tractors have full heating systems so the men who work in the fields are comfortable until they have to get out of the tractor to fix something.
Once you have thought a little bit about this information, I’m sure you’ll agree with me how ludicrous this all sounds. Potatoes are about 80% water so they would freeze solid if they were left in the ground over the winter. Implements would seize up in the cold and there is no way we could break the ground to dig up potatoes. All our potatoes are safely put into temperature and humidity controlled storages well before the ground freezes for the winter.
Thank you for reading along with me and Happy April Fool’s Day to you! To learn more about our actual harvesting process you can go to “Journey From The Underground Part II”
Thompson Potato Farm
Farming is fascinating!