West Corners Potato Crop to Be Harvested for Those in Need
Dozens of people soon will be busy in West Corners gathering potatoes to be donated to food pantries in the region.
Jim Baker of the Southern Tier Antique Tractor Club said volunteers are needed to help with the upcoming harvest. Members of the club have sponsored the project for more than a decade to help those in need.
Baker is encouraging people willing to pitch in to show up Saturday morning at the field on Route 26 just north of Phil's Chicken House. There'll be a sign announcing the potato harvest project.
Speaking on WNBF Radio, Baker said the planting for the potato crop occurs in May. Club members spray and cultivate the field during the summer. The potatoes now are ready to be harvested.
A digger will be used to get the potatoes out of the ground so volunteers will be able to pick them up and put them in pails and bags.
Large totes from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier are filled with potatoes. The crop then is trucked off so the potatoes can be distributed to several food pantries in six counties.
Baker is hoping plenty of people will show up on Saturday to help out. He said "the more we have, the faster we get it done."
Students from Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton have volunteered for past harvests and Baker is expecting they'll participate again this year. He said students from other area schools also are invited to assist.
The potato-growing initiative started in 2008 as part of an initiative by the Southern Tier Antique Tractor Club to "give back to the community."
Baker said since then, more than 200 tons of potatoes have been donated for use by the region's food pantries.
The harvest varies every year because of growing conditions. This year's potatoes are a bit smaller than usual due to the lack of rain during most of the summer.
The potato crops were lost in 2011 and 2018 due to flooding.
Baker said he's hoping there'll be enough volunteers this Saturday to harvest all of the potatoes in the town of Union field.
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