Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Year supply in 30 minutes

 Last weekend we took the kids to a giant field of dead weeds.

But there is gold in them thar weeds...

Idaho gold.

Gleaning potatoes is like a giant Easter egg hunt where there is no end to the eggs.
When potatoes are harvested, (check out this two minute video) the spuds are first dug up by a big harvester and then a big tractor with a conveyor belt-like attachment drives along behind the harvester and picks up the spuds and dumps them into a big truck.  Back in the 'old' days farmers had to hire people to walk along with buckets and hand pick the potatoes.  When my parents were kids in Eastern Idaho it took an entire community to harvest potatoes--'spud harvest.'  Everyone was let out of school  for a couple of weeks.  Most of the communities in Eastern Idaho still get out of school around this time of year to help with the harvest.
Today the potatoes are mostly harvested by tractor but the tractor leaves a lot of potatoes behind.  If you know the right people you can go to a field after the harvesters have gone through and glean the extra potatoes.  

We are extremely grateful to have farmer friends who let us have a bit of their excess.  Thirty minutes and we were loaded up.  We packed potatoes in boxes and a bunch of  huge Costco bags and hauled them to the root cellar where they will live in  until they are needed.

Baked, mashed, fried, boiled and added to doughnuts--we now have potatoes on the menu for the rest of the year!


zombie_kitty5 said...

Being from Colorado, the idea of a root cellar confuses me. The potatoes keep all year long? They don't weird, soggy, or turn into crazy spud creatures?

How does it work?!

Kimberly said...

Yes potatoes will keep for up to a year in a cool, dry but slightly damp, dark place like a root cellar. Farmers around here have huge earth covered root cellars (or big specially air conditioned cellars) where they store thousands of pounds of potatoes for a year at a time. If they get light or warm they will grow roots and get mushy. All Idaho potatoes are harvested in Sept. so if you eat a potato in April it has been in storage. Awesome huh!

Juli said...

OK. I'm officially jealous. The only kind of potatoes we get here are small and well. . . not Idaho. Baked potatoes are one of our favorite meals.