There's not much better than getting to see an entire year's worth of planning and labor come to fruition before your very eyes, and that is what our farmers get every year as thousands upon thousands of potatoes are moved from the dirt of the fields to our storage cellars. The process of potato harvest takes a lot of work but it's rewarding, fun to watch, and fun to share with others!
Here's how it works...
As a truck gets to the potato field being harvested, the driver lowers the left wall of the truck so the potatoes can go into the truck without being dropped from too high.
The tractor driver is always ready for the next truck to be filled. The equipment behind the tractor is called a bulker. Bulkers are extremely versatile - they dig potatoes, separate a lot of the vines and weeds out from the potatoes, and move the potatoes through a series of conveyor belts to what we call the boom, which lowers into the truck to load it with potatoes.
From behind, you can see the vines and weeds blowing out from the bulker as well as the truck getting loaded with freshly dug potatoes!
The truck driver follows signals from the tractor driver to make sure the truck is filled as evenly as possible (which means more potatoes fit).
This truck's driver is about to put the side back up to continue filling up until it is completely full.
As the truck gets near to being full, another truck drives up to get ready to keep the cycle of digging potatoes going! The full truck makes the drive back to the storage cellar.
Back at the cellar, a hatch in the back of the truck is raised. A conveyor belt at the bottom of the truck bed propels the potatoes out onto another conveyor belt. Workers like this gentleman carefully watch the harvested potatoes to make sure any damaged potatoes or vines are removed from the line.
Potatoes continue moving through the conveyor system to a protected sorting area. The pile of dirt and potatoes going off to the right is some of what is separated from the harvested potatoes so the crop is only our highest quality potatoes.
The potatoes continue on down the line...
... and finally make it up this piece of equipment called an elevator into our storage cellars. The potatoes will rest in this perfectly controlled environment until they are ready to be packaged at Cal-Ore Produce and can eventually make it to your table!
Leave a comment below if you want to learn more about potato harvest - we would love to answer your questions!