SPRING CITY—More than a dozen members of the Spring City Volunteer Fire Department, along with their family members and friends descended on the Sorensen Farm in Spring City the weekend of Oct. 16. It was potato harvest time.
For the fifth year in a row, Neil Sorensen, along with his brother Mark, his son, assorted family members, and friend Nolan Boyce, has grown potatoes at the Sorensen Farm. Boyce grew up on a potato farm and puts his experience to good use at the Sorensen Farm.
This year the Sorensens, with the help of Boyce, planted six acres of potato seed in late April. The yield — somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 pounds of potatoes consisted of Peruvian Blue, Yukon Gold, and Pontiac Red potatoes grown without pesticides.
The six acres of potatoes took a week to harvest, and Neil Sorensen, who is a life-long member of the Spring City Volunteer Fire Department, relies on the volunteer army of Firefighters, family and friends for their help. They sort, process and bag the potatoes. They get paid in potatoes. Blue ones, red ones and gold ones.
The potatoes harvested by the volunteer firefighters and friends are theirs for the asking, but most are donated to fundraisers or to the Food Pantry in Mt. Pleasant. The fire department sold 900 25-pound bags of potatoes in the fundraiser initiative and delivered six palettes of potatoes to the Food Pantry in Mt. Pleasant this year. Five hundred bags of potatoes are earmarked for a fundraiser in Cedar City.
In addition to lots of manpower, lots of farm machinery is used in potato farming. Planting, digging, tilling, sorting and hauling all require specialized farm equipment. Sorensen and fellow farmers Dave Potter and Jack Monet have more than just sweat-equity in this endeavor.
They purchased farm equipment “worth a small fortune” to get the job done. To keep the potato crop disease free, the location of the field that is planted with potato seed is rotated every year. Sorensen and Boyce are also quick to point out that since there are no other potato framers in the immediate area, diseases and blight that could affect the crop are almost non-existent in Spring City.
This year was the first year the farm planted other vegetables in addition to potatoes. Six acres of onions, beets, carrots, radishes, and four kinds of squash were this year’s “experiment”. Next year’s plan includes doubling or tripling the size of the potato plot as well as opening a farm-to-table produce stand in Spring City or Mt Pleasant, in an effort of shorten the food chain and offer fresh produce to residents in the area and visitors alike.