From mid-September to the first week of October, the Good family farm in Monticello, Maine, bustles with activity in preparation for the annual potato harvest. More than nine million pounds, consisting mostly of russet varieties, are harvested at the farm each year, helping to make Maine one of the nation's top potato-producing states.
The process begins in May when small pieces of the previous year's crop, each one containing an eye (bud) that will sprout into a new plant, are sown. After a growing season of four months, the plants are ready to be carefully picked, sorted, and stored before the first hard frost. Both descendants of farmers, Tom and Rachel Good started out nearly forty years ago with a single tractor and a potato digger, a machine that resembles a large scoop, but thanks to mechanized harvesters, they can now complete the monumental task of harvesting their crop within a few weeks. After their three-hundred-and-fifty-acre crop is processed and prepared for market, the family holds a traditional bonfire to celebrate its success.