So I'm way behind on my posting. I don't really know where the time goes!
The Farm Bureau Young Farmer Tour continued on Saturday, and Brad couldn't go, so my new neighbor tagged along with me and our new friends! Brad's sister and dad were also there, so that was fun too!
We started the day at Owen & Williams Fisheries in Pulaski County. It was really neat. Brad has been asking about stocking a new pond of ours, and this seems to be the place to go!
They had tons of catfish, big and small!
They harvest the eggs and keep them in small aerated aquariums (is that what they're called?).
Here there are two different ages of catfish eggs. The clear-yellow ones are new, a day or so old. The pinkish ones are a few days old, and you can actually see the catfish moving around in them!
We also saw some newly hatched catfish -- tiny little jokers!
I was happy to see one of my former Spanish students who works at the hatchery during the summer.
Some of the tanks have some type of medication or something for the fish.
Me and Brad's sister, Kim. I hate the picture is blurry -- sometimes that's what happens when I don't take it myself!
Next we went to Black Gold. That place really needs a post by itself, but I'll just keep it all together! Black Gold is the main supplier of potatoes to Lay's potato chips. The potato that Black Gold grows is a potato chip potato, and it is only good for about 2 days after harvesting. This Black Gold operation is the only potato farm in Georgia. I took notes for Brad, so bear with me, this is a lot of information, but it's quite interesting!
Black Gold has been in Pulaski County since 2007. They rent land from various area farmers on a three year rotation -- meaning they only put potatoes in a particular field once every three years. They only lease land for 6 months, so farmers are free to use the land (along with the left over fertilizer) after harvest ends around late June. The potato harvest season is about 5 weeks in Georgia because of the heat.
Because the potatoes are so fragile, they work really hard to get them where they're going really fast. If the Pulaski County Black Gold potatoes are supplying the local Lays plant, the potato goes from ground to potato chip bag in 4 hours -- yes, FOUR hours! However, when Florida is harvesting, their potatoes usually come to Lay's in Georgia and the Georgia potatoes to further north -- just to keep the potatoes in good shape.
The trucks drive along side the harvester/digger to keep the potatoes from being bruised.
Trucks take the potatoes to the warehouse for cleaning.
LOTS of dirt!
There are several places for the dirt to come off the potatoes.
This poor guy is trying to control the mud.
They go up after being washed.
Then they are hand-graded.
By this time, they've lost most of their skin.
By the time they get done, they don't have much skin on them at all. They go to the fryer soon after arrival at Lay's.
They have a little kitchen to test the potatoes in each load.
Last belt before the truck.
Bulk load on a semi.
Next stop, your potato chip bag!
The next visit on our tour was Calhoun Produce. Blair and I have visited there last fall to see their animals and to get a pumpkin (she was so little!). They have several seasonal things that happen various times during the year -- corn maze, strawberries, egg hunt, vintage tractor show, pumpkin patch, and farmer's market.
Inside the store they have some produce and ice cream.
They have huge blackberry bushes with huge blackberries!
Big and beautiful blackberries!
They grow and shell their own peas to sell.
Butterbeans going into the sheller.
All the peas are hand graded.
Hulls headed out to the dump truck.
Bagging butter beans by the bushel.
Outside, they've got stuff for the kids! Like chickens...
and an enormous pig!
They just built a bee house. I have to say that it was pretty neat, but I was a bit disappointed. I had expectations of something quite large.
They had different signs displayed on the walls.
And a bee suit.
Their entrance and exit. We thought it was neat how they were hanging off of the tube outside.
I love this picture of my and Brad's dad. I'm laughing because he's talking in all of the pictures I have of him (for years!). Here at least he's smiling and talking!
That's a good one!
My new neighbor and friend Nicole.
TWO more stops to go. Next stop is a Crisp County watermelon operation -- not ours though!
We don't have these cool scales that knock the melons off the belt when they are in a specific weight range.
To the box he goes....
These guys pick them up after electronic weight sorting.
Jessica, me and Nicole
Our Young Farmer Committee members on the tour
On to the pecans in Dooly County. Have you ever seen this on I-75? That's the Ellis Brothers store's logo and slogan.
Pecans already growing.
Our group getting a little history lesson.
And we just had to see the food!
The end of a really hot day -- and the longest post in the history of Across the Branch!
Child of God, wife of a farmer, mom to a miracle, RN; picture taker, animal lover, Spanish speaker, world traveler, former high school teacher. I love food, knitting, blogging, and living in a small town. I write about a little of all of the above!
Brad is my husband of 6 years and the reason I live across the branch. From a very young age he knew he'd be a farmer. God gave him the love and the talent -- and he's the best looking and the best dressed farmer I know! He's funny, creative, and he's the most wonderful husband and father. He's the one that can make Blair light up like no other.
Blair is four! We are so blessed to have her. She was born very sick, but God gave her strength and brought her through it. She has hearing loss called Auditory Neuropathy and wears hearing aids. She also has chronic lung disease, but you wouldn't know by seeing her! She is the busiest, funniest little thing who keeps us laughing and on our toes. I thank God for her every day.
Leighton is the happy roly poly who joined our family this summer. He has been a joy and is as sweet as his big sister! He's such a blessing, and we're so thankful for him!