I have often wondered why winter is personified as a cranky old man. Today we definitely found out why. Blustery, crusty, cranky weather descended upon us with a vengeance! Just yesterday John was working as fast as he could to wrap up as many fall chores as possible before the snow fell hard. This picture shows him using a soil saver cultivator in light snow. As you can probably surmise from its name, the cultivator plays an essential role in improving our soil. It loosens the ground that has been compacted by heavy equipment, improves water drainage, works up the organic manure and is invaluable in preventing wind erosion over the winter. To find out a little more about our fall field work you can visit “Fall Field Chores.”
And just like that it’s a wrap on #Harvest19. Five weeks of long and hard days came to an end last week when we put the last load of potatoes in the storage for the winter. The weather cooperated for the most part, the machine and equipment breakdowns were minimal and as usual everyone here at the farm put a huge effort into the harvest. The potato windrower and potato harvester shown in the photo have been dubbed “The Iron” by RJ. And now we thank The Iron for a job well done, clean them up and set them to rest until next fall. To see a video of these machines in action you can visit “The Potato Windrower” and “The Potato Harvester.”
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.”
#AgProud #CndAgDay Today is Canada’s Agriculture Day. A day to share with you what we do all year here at the farm. A day to celebrate the business of Canadian agriculture. A day to post a pic of our favourite Canadian food. Simple right? That’s what I thought… until I started sorting through the thousands of photos I have taken and shared with you over the past few years. It turned into a rather daunting task! So instead of just one photo, I have generated a slideshow that highlights a few special moments at our farm. From a surprise helper in the office to maintaining the potato crop to creating new recipes, I can safely say that celebrating the business of Canadian agriculture is something we do every single day. Not only does this post highlight our love for agriculture, it shares a little bit of who we are. Have a wonderful day! If you are looking for inspiring potato dishes, I recommend you visit “Spud Smarts – About Cooking Potatoes” to get started cooking our favourite Canadian food.
The weather this fall has been less than cooperative for the potato harvest. Every day has had its challenges and last week was no exception. A gorgeous fall day turned winter-like overnight, leaving us to wonder if we will ever finish this harvest. But we keep moving forward and get a little more accomplished every day. The end is in sight and then we will all be able to relax and decompress a tiny bit. There are many videos of our harvest equipment on this website that you can view in the “Video” Category of The Common-Tater. To get you started, here is a link to “The Potato Harvester.”
This video clip is of the tail end of our grading line. Today we are packing new white potatoes that have already been washed and graded. They are now sorted into two different packing lines. The line closest to the front holds our medium white potatoes that are mainly packed in 10lb bags for grocery stores and for sale at the farm door. The line at the far back shows our large white potatoes packed in 50lb bags for restaurant delivery and wholesale at the Ontario Food Terminal. To learn more about grading potatoes you can visit “What’s A #1 Potato Anyway?”
This year John & Curtis are expanding the crops we grow here at the farm with a side venture growing some festive fall vegetables. The boys have planted a plot with white and orange pumpkins, butternut squash, pepper squash as well as decorative corn. Their first challenge was figuring out how to plant the seeds using equipment we already owned. So they modified the corn planter by cutting some of the fingers out of the finger assembly. (The finger assemblies are the silver circles John is holding in the slideshow above.) This enabled the new vegetables to be spaced out properly in the field rows. We are all eager to see how the new vegetables fare over the summer. You can look forward to seeing all their items for sale at the farm door in the fall. For a sneak peek of the bounty you can expect to see at the farm later this season you can visit “Tater Tales Aug 25th: #eatlocal”
When we plant potatoes it isn’t as simple as poking the seed potatoes in the ground and let them grow. Each field is prepared to create optimum growing conditions for the potatoes. The disc harrow is the first piece of equipment to work the land in the spring. It shatters compacted soil and rips out early weeds trying to take root. Next we apply fertilizer. The cultivator follows to work the fertilizer into the soil as well break up any smaller soil clumps left by the disc harrow. After all this work is done we can finally plant the seed potatoes. Sometimes the hardest part of this is making sure we have enough tractors to keep the preparation on schedule at every field! You can see a video of the potato planter by visiting “Tater Tales 05 May 17 Potato Planter.”
Last week we were finally able to get into the fields and commence #plant18. Although the week was cut short with the enormous wind storm that affected all of Southern Ontario, I am happy to report that all the early potatoes were successfully planted. This undeniably awesome selfie was taken by field reporter Curtis. This bird’s eye view shows the seed potatoes travelling from the bulk truck via conveyor belt into the hopper on the potato planter. To learn more about new potatoes and why they are so special you can visit “One Potato, New Potato!”
Thompson Potato Farm
Farming is fascinating!