Cooperative Harvesting

So with the shoulder blown for a month or more and literally thousands of pounds of spuds in the soil I need to both rest my wound and harvest my potatoes.  Employees are not really an option as the paperwork headache of insurance, tax withholdings, etc is not worth it at this scale.  Perhaps I can “get by with alittle help from my friends…”

Here are my 2 favorite solutions I and others have come up with:

Potato Aid Parties

We like to throw parties, and are aspiring foodies.  Most people that we know love our potatoes and love to visit the farm, and many have offered help.  Put these together and we’ve come up with this idea:

  • Invite several families to the farm
  • They bring their favorite potato recipe and ingredients (sans potatoes!) to make it, and I supply the beer, harvest forks, and bushel baskets
  • We all take a farm tour and then harvest potatoes for a hour or two (3-500#’s)
  • We crank up the grills, gasifiers, and fire pits and roast, boil, and skillet up a storm
  • After eating our fill, everyone leaves with as many potatoes as they want and we keep the rest to take to our clients that are counting on some spuds.

Modified “U Pick”

A U Pick farm will not solve my issue of getting spuds to my very crucial restaurant clients, but what if I tweaked the business model slightly?  Instead of charging $’s per pound, I charged “pounds” per pound?  To put it another way – for every pound a customer takes, they harvest me 1 or 2#’s.  This gets people out to the farm to eat my harvest, but more importantly gets me some harvest to sell to my clients.

As I planted more than double what I needed this year in a fit of hubris,  either of these plans accomplishes my goals of getting 1400#’s of potatoes to my restaurant clients while simultaneously doing so without me re-injuring my separated shoulder.  It is healing nicely, so I may only need to have help for 2-3 more weeks.  Ideas are welcome!

Gotta love the hurdles life throws at you, but on the flip side I have apparently fallen in love with playing soccer which may very well inspire me to lose that 20#’s I’ve put on since high school and gets my legs back to the point where I can run a 5k in under 21 minutes again.  Judging by today’s run, I’ve got 10 minutes to go on that, but I am both stubborn and driven.  

A man can dream, and fitness is intrinsically good.



3 Responses

  1. I like idea #1, because #2 has “liability suit” written all over it. And besides – it builds community and “all hands on deck” and all that.And what about #3 – giving your commercial clients a break if they send you a couple employees to help dig? After all, they won’t get ANY potatoes if they don’t come out of the ground…

  2. Great minds: #3 is already is some form of effect – the sandwich shop is coming up on Monday’s now. #2 would like not be open to the public – just my “network” to bide me over until August. Brought 20 bales of straw home today (*FREE* on Craigslist!) and we’ll see how that does for pain in the morning.

    Crazy thing is I am *losing* weight doing nothing. Crazy male psyche – when I am working hard I tend to “over fuel”…

  3. I think idea #2 could work, but it’d work better if you just give a 50% discount to anyone who picked a pound for you as well, pound for pound- some people will pick extra for the discount, others won’t, but won’t be turned off by being “forced” to pick extra, if that makes sense- and I know I am not hte only one who goes into overdrive for discounts. My husbands CRINGE when they hear me say that something was on sale, and in our very small apartment we currently have about 50 bottles of shampoo…

    Poor menfolk. 🙂

    So that might increase the # of pounds people dig up, anyway.

    I’ve been reading your blog all day, dreaming of my own suburban yard to farm in. I’ve got a solution for peak oil that I’m going to be working on getting buy-in for- check out SkyTran. This crazy awesome brilliant guy has come up with a monorail system that can be put up on utility poles and gets about 200 miles to the gallon, can’t get gridlocked, and has a peak speed of 200mph. It costs about as much as paving a road. Very neat, I think it could seriously save the cities when the oil goes away.

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