Potato farmer digs up more than typical taters

Potato farmer digs up more than typical taters
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:09 AM EDT
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DE PEYSTER, New York (WWNY) - Catherine Bennett has been a produce farmer most of her life. But on her farm, you’ll find much more than your typical taters.

“Milkweed Tussock Tubers is a small-scale regenerative root crop operation for seed and eating,” Bennett said. “We currently grow 23 varieties of potatoes, many of them unique to the north country or unique in general.”

She’s bringing back varieties most people have never seen or tasted.

“Most of the time they got lost because they didn’t fit into a large-scale operation,” Bennet said. “They weren’t the right size to fit into a potato planter or potato harvester. The only reason they were lost is because industrialism said, ‘this doesn’t fit my idea of mechanization’.”

Bennett is not only restoring these endangered varieties, she’s restoring the traditional ways of growing them, too.

“We’re doing no till, we’re doing heavy mulching, we’re doing rainwater collection,” she said.

She says this helps make the plants more adaptable to climate change and could be the answer to climate change as a whole.

“If we were to farm regeneratively, if we switched all of our monocrops of corn, all our monocrops of soy, we would be sequestering more carbon than the entire globe is putting out, so this kind of farming, with enough people working together, not tilling the land, not releasing fossil fuels, this could stop climate change,” she said.

Plus, if you’re like Bennett, you might find a lot of joy in it.

“There’s so much fun to be had in doing something different,” she said.