to Moose Tubers. Our selection of certified seed potatoes and Dutch
onion and shallot sets is in its 28th year. We’ve chosen our
favorites of the humble, ground-grubbing spuds primarily for vigor
in the field. If the description sounds like we’re excited,
it’s because these potatoes perform really well in our trials.
All-time-favorite crew picks for a few years running are Magic Molly
for beauty, Elba for sheer size and taste perfection, and Gold Rush
Russet for being reliably defect-free and large. Joe Fortin wrote
from East Calais, VT, to tell us about his yield of 39 pounds from
one pound of French Fingerling seed. “When you say ‘bulletproof
heavy yields’ in your catalog you just ain’t whistling
We still carry the old favorites
even though, in another note we received, Norman Blake attests that
Augusta “beats the stuffin out of Yukon Gold.”
As always, our onion and shallot
sets come from Netherland Bulb Company, a premier dealer of Dutch
allium sets. We are scouting local and organic growers for these
listings, so please inquire.
So much of the agricultural struggle
is dealing with loss. The consistent attempts to tamp down situational
fires keeps farming an engaging occupation, but certainly not devoid
of harsh consequences. First noticing a spore or two of blight in
your too-bushy cherry-tomato field can settle the wind right beneath
your sails. Potato beetles always need killing and, yes, heavy load
of winter squash this year, so we better get it out of the field,
The loving words of Russell Libby
persist in the present moment.
“If the world we know is
the world we create can only start where we are”
acknowledgement of the present as a solid foundation for a safe
and healthy future reassures me. Russell’s push for development
in small-time Maine agriculture, especially organic, moved a large
number of diverse and upstart farms into production growing. Russell’s
establishment of MOFGA’s Organic Farmer Loan Fund helped a
maturing generation of farmers to develop the framework they needed
to start growing infra-structurally and economically. With a chance
to develop viable farming enterprises, these entrepreneurs pounced
on the Maine economy with an incredible volume of produce, meat
and dairy, showing up at farmers markets and smaller grocery stores.
$5–20,000 loans, backed by MOFGA, orchestrated by Bangor Savings
Bank, and awarded to those with a cohesive business plan and local
credibility, allow new businesses with developing markets a chance
to succeed. And Russell found time to meet with applicants privately
to offer words of wisdom, strategic advice and kind encouragement.
These loans, one of Russell’s plans to end our dependency
on the “Road Runner Economy,” gave folks transitioning
into agriculture a bit of capital to build a walk-in cooler, buy
a box truck, get a grain bin, pour a slab for a packing shed, whatever
they could plan and execute.
The poem continues,
“My last breath will still
for the future,
and love for the present, and you,
though many dark days may yet pass.”
So let’s give thanks for
Russell Libby by offering up what we already have, our current assets
and liabilities, as the ground for solutions as we face the future.
May his grace and bravery persist.
Good luck growing.