Standing on the red-cinder road that runs the edges of the fields of the Running Y Ranch, you can feel the ground moving under your feet as though you’re standing on a hollow drum that someone has began slowly beating. The only grumble is from a passing potato truck, loaded down with chipping potatoes. It’s not a storm or an earthquake, but the rumble of harvest.
If you talk to one of our lead hay-guys, Toby Turner, he’ll tell you harvest began for him back in June with the first cutting of alfalfa. While the people in the swathers and bailers and hay trucks feel harvest is a summer-long endeavor, outside of the hay operations fall harvest has arrived in the Klamath Basin. The roads and highways are full of bulk beds hauling grain, potatoes, onions, garlic and many of the other crops grown here. Hay sheds, grain bins and potato cellars are getting fuller around Gold Dust while the fields are getting barer. While we worried what the drought would do to our part of the world, the long days of digging potatoes are proof that we’ve made it through another hard summer filled with stress over whether or not we’d have enough water to farm.
Gold Dust and Walker Brothers’ potato harvest kicked off on August 31st this year, making it one of the earliest times we’ve ever been in the fields. And by the time the first day of fall finally rolled around (September 23rd), we were cutting out last grain field, an organic rye field just outside of Malin. The rainy spring helped us make it through the summer, and the beautiful, sunny days of September have made grain and potato harvest nice. As long as we can keep our equipment running, our trucks on the road and everyone safe, there’s a good chance we’ll have potato harvest wrapped up the first full week of October, making it one of the earliest ends to potato harvest we’ve ever had.
Before we get to more photos of harvest, please keep an eye out for all trucks on the road. Remember, these vehicles are loaded down with tons of crops, making it hard for them to stop quickly for cars that pull out in front of them. We try to make sure our drivers are safe, but they can only be as safe as the car in front or behind them.
Here’s to a great harvest!