Posted: Oct 20, 2013 3:55 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
Updated: Oct 20, 2013 4:08 PM
MANHATTAN - It's harvest time for Manhattan potato farmers which could be a little bittersweet this year. After an August hail storm destroyed thousands of dollars worth of crops in the Gallatin Valley, potato farmers have been waiting to assess the damage.
Despite the losses, one farmer remains optimistic.
Nick Schutter of Schutter Farms grows seed potatoes in Manhattan. After a hail storm in August first destroyed his corn crops, he has been waiting to see how the potatoes turn out.
"It's probably the longest six weeks of our lives, because you just don't know until you harvest, you just don't know," Schutter said.
Thanks to ideal growing conditions after the storm, this year's harvest is looking pretty good.
Schutter says, "Once the plant is roughed up, to maintain the quality of the tuber and the shape is difficult, but we're pleasantly surprised with what we have."
"We were expecting we'd be happy if we had 50 percent of the crop and this is quite a bit better than 50 percent," he said.
In order to collect all of those spuds, one would need a potato harvester. The seed potatoes then get sorted and sent to processing plants across the country.
"It'll help pay the bills and again, it's not a bumper crop but its enough to keep us here for next year," Schutter said.
And just like the Schutter, clearly, the potato too is a survivor - which is good for Schutter because it's letting him learn more about the plant each year.
He says, "The potato is a fascinating plant and we're learning more and more about it each year, even though we've been in this for thirty years. It's just created in such a way that it's a survivor. The plant is a survivor and it fights back."
Schutter says that they will be able to determine total damage to the crops after a few more days of harvesting.