Ponies Powerfully Pulling Potatoes

Farmer Friend Micah leads Polly and Sadie at Plowshare Produce in central PA

Our farm is quite small. Our property is less than 2.5 acres and we only farm on about 1 acre of it. Our small size makes it possible to do almost everything by hand. In fact, on our farm I am a practicing Luddite. We plant by hand, we weed by hand, we turn compost by hand (by shovel, actually), and we harvest by hand. I’m so anti-technology that my toothbrush doesn’t even vibrate and my cell phone lacks the ability to take even the most rudimentary HD video. In some of these things I shun technology or mechanization because of philosophical reasons, other times using our hands is more efficient than using a machine due to our small scale. For example, by the time I got an implement on the tractor and moved the irrigation tape, I could have weeded the row by hand. We just finished our sweet potato harvest this week, and when we started I never considered using anything more complex than a rake as assistance because it is such a joy to feel around in the cool soil and discover the buried orange tubers. However we planted over 500 feet of sweet potatoes (3x more than last year), which does not seem like a huge amount until you consider that the vines stretch and put down tubers as far as 8 feet on either side of the bed. This adds up to over 8000 square feet that we must comb through to find the taters. Ironically, it was a trip to our friend’s farm in central PA that showed us how technology could help us. I say ironically because they do their “tractor” work the beautifully old-fashioned way, with two handsome ponies, Polly and Sadie. We got there not long after their sweet potato harvest, and our farmer friend Micah showed us how he used a simple implement pulled by the ponies to dig up the sweet potatoes. Hmmm. When we returned from our travels we had about 80 feet left of our harvest, and I realized that a rusty and rarely used implement that was included when we bought the tractor might bring the potatoes to surface just like Micah’s ponies. After 420 feet of sand getting so far up my fingernails I could taste it, I was open to technological intervention. It worked remarkably well. It took probably 1/4 the time and you still get to dig around in the soil and find potatoes, they’re just swimming closer to the surface. I wonder how well those vibrating toothbrushes work, anyways?

Market this Week

We will be at the Riverside Arts Market this week from 10 until 1. Unfortunately we will not be at the Beaches Green Market this week.

Besides our own sweet potatoes we will have a number of KYV Farm offerings, including daikon radishes, baby bok choi, bunches of chinese broccoli (broccoli-like florets great for sautees), yukina spinach, cubanelle peppers and seedless cucumbers.

We’ll see you at the market!

In peace,

Brian, Kristin, Katie, Olivia and Abigail

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