We pulled the kids from school for the better part of the week in September to take them up to Amy’s uncle’s farm in Aroostook County Maine so they could learn about the potato harvest. This beast is the harvester. It was bought used several decades ago and subsequently customized to the hilt and meticulously maintained. That rusted disk in the foreground is a transfer plate that failed and put the machine out of commission for a couple days while the new part was shipped. That’s only reason we were allowed to climb around on it during our visit.
The harvester in profile.
The old way. Those are the potato barrels that were used to manually harvest the potatoes before the machines came.
The potato fields are rotated with Barley. There’s May sitting in the wheel well of the combine.
The potato harvester back in business, we strolled behind to watch it work and collect some of the potatoes it missed.
Notice the muddy ruts. The harvester worked slowly that day because the ground was very wet from a recent deluge. They used tractors to pull the full trucks through the mud.
The automated potato bagger, high tech stuff.
This robot palletizes the bagged potatoes. The robot was repurposed to do this work, the farmer thinks it originally worked on cars or perhaps sorted postal packages.
Potatoes are stored in temperature and moisture controlled bins.
The girls prepared the potatoes that they collected for dinner. The recipe was from the book Penny for a Hundred” by Ethel Pochocki. It’s a fictionalized account of the real life practice of using German POWs on Aroostook potato farms during WWII. Reading the book was one of the many activities the girls did for a project they put together about the potato harvest, that they brought back to Portland and presented to their classmates.