Potato harvest has changed quite a bit since I was young. Way back then they had pickers. I remember all the very cold, early mornings, the long sections and the rotten potatoes that would get all over your gloves. EWW!
My father in law driving the tractor about 30 years ago.
While I am so glad those days are over, I can tell you that I am so grateful I got to experience it. The potato harvest is a great way for kids to learn what hard work really is, and it builds character. At least thats what my parents always told me. LOL! No really, where else can kids work really hard and earn a lot of money at such a young age? Kids as young as 8 were allowed to pick potatoes and earn money. This money was usually spent on new school clothes, boots, or a new winter jacket. If you were 16 or older you got the pleasure of working on a harvester, and that paid even more money, which back then might have meant a new leather jacket or skis. Whether in the field picking or on the harvester, the days were long and the nights were short, unless you were on the night shift ~ then the opposite was true.
Breakdowns were a time where you could take a much needed rest, a quick trip to the woods for a bathroom break, or if you had a long section, time to catch up. Hopefully they weren't an all day thing though, because time is money you know!
Breakdowns could also be a lot of fun, because you got to goof off a bit with your friends. I can remember some of us climbing inside an empty barrel and letting someone roll you around in the field. That's probably illegal today, though. LOL! We'd even have races to see who could run across the potato rows and be the first to reach the edge of the field. So much fun!
Today there aren't many small farmers around. The larger corperations have all taken over. The farmers don't require hand picking anymore and some have even gotten rid of harversters that use real people. They have been replaced by huge machines with minds of their own. Technology changes everything, doesn't it?
Many years have gone by since those potato picking days, and believe it or not, I grew up and married the son of a potato farmer. One of the best parts of having married into a farm family is that all three of our sons got to experience what it was like to pick potatoes. I am so glad they did! Our youngest son told us that it made him realize how important education is, because without it, it just means you have to do a lot of manual labor. Just that statement alone made it all worth it!
Do you have any potato harvest stories you would like to share? I'd love to hear them!
P.S. Thank you to Grass Farms for allowing me to take some really great photos!