Dateline: 17 September 2015
Thanks to my Aunt Carolyn in Kennebunkport for sending me the above documentary movie. It's about harvesting potatoes in 1955 (three years before I was born) in the St. John Valley of New Brunswick, Canada.
New Brunswick is a few short miles east of Fort Fairfield, Maine, where my maternal grandfather, Percy O. Philbrick was a potato farmer. There was no difference between harvesting potatoes in Canada and Maine back then. The potatoes were all picked by hand. I've written about this before, but to watch a 60 year old movie telling the story is something special.
Back in those days, in those rural areas, there were a great many small farms and agriculture (mostly potatoes) supported the local communities. What's more, people in the local communities supported agriculture by helping to bring the potatoes in. The schools shut down for two weeks because the children were needed for the harvest.
Even my grandfather, at 71 years of age, and retired from farming, worked at helping on a neighboring farm to pick potatoes. This was in 1967. I know he picked potatoes because I have his journal for that year and he mentions it. I suspect my grandfather had helped with the potato harvest every year from the time he could walk and pick up a potato (three years old?).
I remember my grandfather had a flat bed truck just like shown in the movie (except his was red). And seeing the wooden potato barrels brings back some very early memories. I wrote about helping my grandfather repair potato barrels in the July 2010 Deliberate Agrarian Blogazine.
My other writings on this subject are....