What do “Irish Cobblers”, “Canadian Goose” and “Yukon Gold” all have in common?
Abbey farming partner and Great Country Farms owner Mark Zurschmeide said that his 1,800 community supported agriculture (CSA) customers never seem to get their fill of potatoes and GCF’s 110 acre expansion at the Abbey now provides the room to meet those expanded potato dreams.
“We’re planting 12,000 pounds of potatoes,” Zurschmeide said while supervising sowing operations on a unusually warm March day. “That’s a lot of potatoes!” Zurschmeide also intends to plant spring onions later in the week.
In the near distance the Shenandoah River flowed peacefully by as farm hands filled white plastic buckets with seed potatoes. Each seed potato must have an “eye”, the tender shoot that is buried under a hill of dirt before leafing into the bushy green that will nourish the starchy below-ground tubers. The farmhands slowly and methodically walk between the soil furrows carefully dropping the potato seeds a few inches apart.
Large potato sacks bearing the name of the plant variety stand guard at the end of each planting field section. As the potato bags slowly empty and the fields begin to receive the new seeds, the age-old rite of spring and hopes for the coming harvest run strong and deep.
Zurschmeide says that this year’s warm soil temperatures combined with the rich soil at the Abbey should combine to produce the first potato crop in about two months.
View video of the spring potato planting here: