Too Wet To **** Potatoes

This past weekend John and the produce staff here at WVF started digging potatoes. Now, we are hoping we can dig the rest. Potatoes dig the best when the ground is dry. It is also harmful to the soil to work it when wet (causes compaction).


But, thinking about digging potatoes makes me chuckle a little bit. I'll get to that.


When you live and work around the Amish, you start to pick up on certain nuances of their dialect. English is their second language, and they tend to learn it as children when they start school at 5. Most Amish speak to each other and at home in what they call "Dutch," which is a blend of English and German.


For me, I've started to be able to pick up on which church someone is from based on their dialect. For example, the Old Order tend to use the past perfect tense a lot. "I have already not seen a bull that large." And more common, the addition of the word yet. I have not already yet seen a bull that large."


Then there are the sounds that don't translate well, or words that aren't as phonetic. "Chaos" requires one to listen to the context clues. "The beef got spooked and jumped the fence. It was total 'chee-aas' chasing them."


And another sect, the Swartzentrubers, that pronounces their J's like "ch." "I hoed my corn in 'chew-lie' (July) and the weeds were not a problem."


Oh, and I can't forget G. The letter "g" is pronounced like a "ck." "My kale is covered in 'bucks.'" If you've been following along, you know where I'm going with this. I understand this, but my office staff doesn't realize the dialect issues.

So, last year there was a similar situation. The rain was persistent, and I had potatoes on order. Jonas, a Swartzentruber Amish from the West Salem settlement, sent a letter in the mail. As typical, the office opens it, reads it, and scans it to send to me. This time business as usual went viral in the office.


"Dear Trevor -- It has been too wet to di_ _ potatoes but we will try our best to fill next week's order."


I simply replied, "I understand. We'll take the potatoes when the conditions are right."


Here's to hoping for dryer conditions for potato digging Thursday & Friday.

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