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Despite weather, FFA potatoes sell well


Ag science — NHS program expands to farmers market, exceeds sales expectations

Despite a spell of wet weather that delayed harvest, sales of homegrown potatoes for the Newberg High School FFA’s Food For All fundraiser were higher than last year’s.

Chapter president Daniel Womack said the group didn’t have a set sales goal except to beat last year’s total, which he described as modest.

“We did a lot better than I thought we would,” Womack said. “I thought we would sell maybe 3,000 lbs. and we ended up selling 5,000. I’m pretty happy with the turnout of the chapter and everything.”by: GARY ALLEN - Bounty - In 2012, FFA members delivered hundreds of pounds of potatoes to Newberg  F.I.S.H.

The crop of potatoes was planted in late May and a warm summer resulted in a shorter growing season.

“They went dormant a lot quicker than they did last year,” Womack said. “Last year when we picked them, the vines were still pretty green and this year they had been dead for a couple weeks before we could pick them.”

The problem this year, was wet weather during harvest, but the crop still yielded about 17,000 pounds.

“Last year come harvest, which was the beginning of September, we had pretty dry weather so they were pretty easy to pick,” Womack said. “This year, we had to wait because it kept on raining and they had to be dry before digging them.”

The wet weather also shortened the sales window, as the potatoes began to spoil quicker.

The FFA also branched out to sell its products at the Newberg Farmer’s Market in late September, helping to boost sales.

Because the Newberg F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service to Humanity) food bank was only able to accept about 500 pounds, more than 9,000 lbs. were donated to the Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) food bank, which was able to sort and store a large majority, according to executive director Lee Means.

“They were ecstatic to get those,” Womack said.

Any remaining or late-harvested potatoes were given away at the high school plant sale over the weekend.

Womack said students worked hard on the on the project, which will go a long way to feeding a lot of people and help fund the events that make FFA such a valuable and rewarding experience.

“All the hard work is worth it when you see the final product,” Womack said.