If you ask Jesse what his favorite crop is, he will say potatoes. Our potato production is a year round job for us. The cycle starts in March with potatoes from the previous growing season and seed stock bought in from the University of Wisconsin Seed Potato Program. These potatoes are cut into 2 oz pieces and planted. Once the potatoes are in the ground, Jesse spends many hours hilling, cultivating and irrigating the potato fields throughout the spring and summer. Earlier this week, Jesse came back from irrigating the potatoes in our field in Arena, near the Wisconsin River, with pictures of the potatoes flowering! We grow 18 varieties of potatoes and they all put off slightly differently blooms, some don’t flower at all. The colors range from white to blue to pink.

We begin harvesting new potatoes in late July or early August. The main harvest takes place throughout September. This is when we will harvest over 200,000 lbs of potatoes, the yield can vary greatly depending on many factors. The harvested potatoes will be distributed to our CSA members both in this harvest year and into 2017. We store our potatoes in a temperature and humidity controlled cooler for over 8 months.

In addition to our CSA, we also produce potatoes for seed. We sell our seed to other farmers to plant for their own production. Most of our customers are in the Midwest but we have growers from New England, the Northwest, the Southeast and Southwest. Our potatoes are certified organic and certified disease free.

Once the growing season is over, Jesse and I begin the seed potato marketing season. We exhibit at farming conferences and Jesse’s phone doesn’t stop ringing for two months straight. We manage to fit a few vacations in between the frenzy, then we begin the process all over again in the spring. Despite all of the potato-related business, our potatoes remain one of Jesse’s favorite vegetables to eat and he still gets excited about the flowers.

Jonnah

Jonnah and Jesse selling seed at the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service conference (MOSES). This is the largest organic conference in the country and it is held in LaCrosse WI.

Jonnah and Jesse selling seed at the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service conference (MOSES). This is the largest organic conference in the country and it is held in LaCrosse WI.

Tonny, Rancy, and Phearo cutting potatoes into pieces to be planted.

Tonny, Rancy, and Phearo cutting potatoes into pieces to be planted.

Planting potato seed pieces in our Arena field.

Planting potato seed pieces in our Arena field.

Beautifully cultivated rows of potatoes - Jesse drives an implement through the rows that irradiates weeds.

Beautiful rows of potatoes.

A field of flowering potatoes in our valley - this is where we will harvest the new potatoes in about a month.

A field of flowering potatoes in our valley.