Home / Contents / PICKING POTATOES

PICKING POTATOES

BY ALEX SWEETMAN MCDONALD

When we go to my Grandad’s house, way down in Taghmon, south County Wexford, sometimes we go out to the field and pick potatoes.

Grandad’s house is in the country, in a very open place where there’s lots of space between the houses. At the time of this story, I was only six. Or nearly seven. But I remember that the field was big and wide. When we got up that morning, we went down to the kitchen and had a good breakfast of sausages, rashers and toast. Then we went and got dressed into old clothes. They had to be old because the potato field was very brown and muddy. But I learned that the hard way…

It was the day after Christmas and I had got a new tracksuit from my Uncle. The tracksuit was black with a white stripe all down the side. It was shiny and comfortable and I wore it happily the next day. The weather was fine and sunny, with only a few clouds.

The potato field was easy to get to. All we did was go out the back door and walk through the skinny trees and then we were standing in the field. Picking them was easy. All you had to do was get hold of the stem at the top and pull the potatoes out of the ground. Mostly they came in ones or twos. But sometimes four potatoes came out in the one go.

Well I was running across the field, because my Grandad had said ‘I’ll start at one end and you start at the other. Then we’ll meet in the middle.’ Suddenly I slipped and fell. I got covered in sticky mud and dry dirt. I felt sad because my brand-new tracksuit was all muddy and dirty.

But I kept picking even more potatoes! And when we were done, we went inside and my Nanny put my tracksuit in the wash and it was clean and dry the next day.

Roosters was the kind of potato that Grandad grew. For dinner that night, my Nanny made steak and chips. She made the chips out of the potatoes we had only just picked. They tasted really good! And way better than the ones you would buy in the shops. They were big chunky chips and I ate a whole plateful!

Top