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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Harvesting Potatoes in Prince Edward Island

Many in Canada are so far out of touch of where their food comes from.  They don't realize that the food in the grocery stores comes from the hard work of Canadian farmers and producers.  If you ate today give thanks to the farmers and producers that made it possible.  I thought it would be interesting to show you how potatoes are harvested in Albany, Prince Edward Island with a video courtesy of my favourite Canadian funny man, Rick Mercer.

Canadians eat a lot of potatoes.  In fact each Canadian eats 154 lb of potatoes annually.  Potatoes make up for 50% of our vegetable intake each year.  The video shows how Innovator potatoes (a Yukon russet variety) are harvested.  A digger pulls the potatoes to the surface depositing them in straight rows ready for the harvester.  The Spudnick harvester goes along the rows of freshly dug potatoes lifting the potatoes onto a conveyor belt where dirt and stalks are removed.  They are then are transported through the boom into a truck that slowly drives beside the harvester.  Each truck takes about 6 minutes to load.  The potatoes are transported from the field to a large building via conveyor belt where rocks are hand picked from the potatoes moving along into storage.  Potatoes in the storage building are then transported to the bagging building where potatoes are bagged ready for shipping to grocery stores.

Just a couple of comments:  During harvest season, barring death, the farmer along with any family members working on the farm and other workers are glued to the farm.  The primary consideration is to get the crop harvested as quickly as possible to prevent any spoilage in the field.  The method for harvesting the potatoes is fairly close to the method for harvesting wheat, corn, soybeans, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, beets and sugar beets.  There will are slight modifications to suit the vegetable or grain being harvested but the basics is the same.  Standing on the platform picking rocks from the potatoes can trigger motion sickness so it is not a job everyone can do.  The video shows one commercial potato farm operation but there are many more like this farm throughout Prince Edward Island and elsewhere in Canada.  I hope you enjoy the video as you learn a bit more about where your food comes from.

4 food lovers commented:

Anonymous said...

And what about butternut squash on sale in a grocery store in NS from a factory farm in ON? It's the grocery store problem. We are so divorced from our food by the time it gets to the grocery store and many do not have farmers' markets or smaller grocers as options. Eat local and know your farmers!

Garden Gnome said...

I think you missed the whole point of this post. If you have been following this blog you will know that I am a strong advocate for eating locally, within a 100 mile radius of home. The reality is we live in a global community. It is not the grocery store's problem. It is a direct correlation to supply and demand.

I would hazard a guess that squash is shipped in to NS because there isn't enough grown locally to support the demand. That is also the reason for NS potatoes being shipped across Canada. Believe it or not there are many areas in Canada where food cannot easily be grown so food is transported in. Just think of all the foods you likely enjoy that Canada cannot produce or can't produce enough of: bananas, citrus, off season greens, coconut, cane sugar, pineapples and the list goes on. Unless you do your own fishing then if you eat fish that is likely transported in as well.

Anonymous said...

GG, I loved the video! I've never seen potatoes harvested before. It's just amazing what machines can do to help farmers. My DH and I dug about 250 pounds by hand and I ached for days. Thank you so much for sharing all that you do. I agree that most people are so removed from how their food is grown and harvested... what a shame. There is such joy in growing, harvesting, and preserving your own food.
I LOVE your blog and read it every day.
Kathy in North Central Florida

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks so much Kathy :) I'm so glad you are enjoying my blog! It is a shame that people are so removed from how their food is grown and harvested. It's nice there are videos like this to share!