The Great Judique Potato Lift

Pictured are John Gillies on the plow, driving the tractor was John MacInnis and picking the potatoes was Marie Brideau.

This spring Inverness County Cares (ICC) members gathered in Judique to plant a potato crop in support of their project helping a school for Albinos in Zambia.

The garden plot is situated beside a stream on the John and Theresa MacInnis property in Judique. The brook has probably flooded the area over the years, producing a beautiful fertile flood plain. This fall the ICC garden has produced a bumper crop of beautiful pesticide free potatoes which are being sold as a fundraiser for Inverness County Cares.

In May 2021, many varieties of potatoes were planted, blue (all the way through), Caribe (blue skin), Red Pontiacs, Fingerlings, Kenebec, Harvest Gold, Yukon gold, Highland Russets and Dakota Russets. Some were purchased as seed and some were saved from our harvest last year.

The garden plot measures 90 feet by 135 feet and 38 rows of potatoes were planted, each row being 90 feet long. Using two TroyBilt tillers, the ground was tilled many times to loosen the soil and break up the earth into finer particles. A plow attachment was used to mound the soil and create hills.

The potatoes were planted approximately 10 inches apart with our calculations showing that 20 pounds of potatoes will fill a 100-foot row.

After the potatoes were planted, the rich soil was easily mounded on top of the potatoes. The rows were spaced to allow for cultivation by tiller. The field was irrigated using the system provided by Marlanda Strawberry Farms (Joannie and Angus MacDonell).

It was a team effort with people rock picking, cutting potatoes, measuring and marking rows, hoeing the rows, raking to cover, providing refreshments and rototilling. The planting process took about three days, and six of the 38 rows will go to Holly’s Helping Hands Food Bank.

The crop grew well this summer and produced large healthy plants. Part of the field was dug Sept. 25. With John J MacDonald and Leon Livingstone doing the honours with the tractor and plow, as well as 12 pickers. The potatoes were bagged after they had an opportunity to dry out.

Friday the potato harvest was celebrated with “The Great Judique Potato Lift,” an outdoor picnic organized by Bill Murphy with funding from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. There was music, a BBQ, and of course, the Potato Lift.

The remaining rows were dug using Lauchie Rankin’s tractor and a hand guided single furrow plow provided by Leon Livingstone. This lifted and turned over the potatoes for easy picking by approximately 30 volunteers of all ages, who got down and dirty in that fine earth. Additional pounds of potatoes were uncovered (Friday) from the seven (90 foot) rows. These potatoes, mainly Russets, were very large (up to eight inches long) and oblong shaped, making peeling very easy.

Many thanks to the numerous people who came to buy potatoes on Friday and those who bought potatoes the following days. Your support will help provide life essentials and an education for the blind and albino children at the schools in Zambia. Thank you to everyone who worked countless hours to make sure the crop was successful.

Our two Inverness County Cares refundable can and bottle collection trailers in Mabou and Port Hood are all sporting new signs designed by Camille Chapman and created by Maple Signs of Port Hawkesbury. We want to express out thanks to Ted Van Zutphen, Stanley Beaton and Raymond DeBont for looking after the collection trailers and to our supporters who donate their cans and bottles to support our project in Zambia and the Port Hood food bank.

Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate can use the donate button on our website: https://invernesscountycares.com. When using E-transfer, please include a mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you. The e-transfer address is: invernesscountycares@gmail.com, or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares Box 99, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts will be provided for the USA and Canada.