Let's Get Dirty | All Blogs


Where my love of dirt began

By Carol Clark

Cool fall air always takes me back to the farm for sugar beet season. Back in the day, the local farmers grew sugar beets for Holly Sugar. Of course, sugar has always been my favorite food group, and it was also my favorite crop Dad grew.

Nothing could top beet harvest . It was always the most fun. We kids, even when very young, were finally allowed to help. It was important work, as important as anything, and we were part of it. We were grown-up enough to help dad provide for the family.

The freshly tilled earth was dark and moist and smelled so good. We walked behind the dump truck with hooks and found every beet that the harvester left behind and threw

 them into the truck. We are not talking about the beets we grow in our garden. 'These beets were huge tan beats with white flesh. 

Everyone in the family helped, and mom and grandma would always bring lunch right out into the field so we didn't have to stop for long.

All the farmers were always in good spirits. The year's hard work was finally paying off. It was a good crop that brought good money so they could finally payoff those farm debts.

The highlight of harvest for us kids was riding in the cab of the dump truck with our load to drop at the beet dump. That's what it was called, "the beet dump." Long lines of trucks waited in straight lines at the entry of the dump which provided for a great social gathering of lonely farmers, so talkative after long summer days alone in the fields.

Finally, it was our turn to drive onto the big scale to weigh the full truck. I thought this was why dad brought me along, (the extra 50 lbs.) I figured I brought a lot of money. I didn't realize until I was older why they weighed the empty trucks on the way out.

Watching the dump truck tilt up and unload the beets onto the conveyor belt was the highlight. The belt took the beets all the way up to the sky scraper-sized hill of beets.

Then it was back home to join the other trucks loading more beets.

It was a sad day when I heard we were no longer growing those huge beets. Apparently, Holly Sugar found another area where the beets had a higher concentration of sugar in the white flesh.

From time to time I hear a local farmer talk of bringing sugar beets back to the valley. I figure they must have had as much fun as I did helping their dads make a living.

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