November/December 2020
How COVID paved the way for Spudman’s new podcast, ‘The Potato Field’ By Zeke Jennings

Eight months ago, I was not a podcast guy. 

I didn’t see the allure. To be honest, I didn’t really want to either. It felt like everyone had one. They seemed almost as common as a Facebook page. Not only is every other yahoo flooding cyberspace with memes and pictures of their cat, they want me to listen to them talk for an hour, too? Nah.

Then two things happened. The first was the National Potato Council starting its “Eye on Potatoes” podcast. That was the initial exposure for me, and I found it a convenient way to absorb information. You listened when you wanted and while you were doing other things.

The other thing that happened was a little bigger, all due respect to the NPC, and that was COVID. My job was not interrupted and I can adequately work from home, which makes me very lucky.

However, after a couple of weeks of this, my work space/dining room got a little too quiet. I began missing the camaraderie of the work environment. To fill the void with a little chatter and background noise, I turned to podcasts. I was quickly hooked.

As I was listening to one or another, I thought, “I wish I had some of the past interviews I’ve had with farmers still recorded. Other growers would enjoy hearing them.” They were casual and informal talks, kind of the way people chat over coffee or a beer. 

That’s the long form of what has led to Spudman’s latest project: Our new podcast called “The Potato Field with Spudman.” 

The goal is to get to better know the American farms and people that are in the business of growing potatoes. We’ll talk about various topics — farm history, rotations, varieties, precision ag, labor, irrigation, storage, challenges, successes, etc. 

As of writing this column, I had taped the first three episodes, which are now available. Our early guests included RJ Andrus, Ben and Alison Sklarczyk and — the focus of the November/December issue’s cover story — Amanda and Braydon Wakasugi of San Acacio Seed in Colorado. 

So, please check out “The Potato Field with Spudman” on Google, Spotify, Apple or wherever you get podcasts. 

I hope you enjoy hearing from your fellow farmers as much as I enjoy talking to them.

Top photo: Spudman editor Zeke Jennings, upper right, talks with Cully Easterday of Easterday Farms in Washington, bottom right, through a Zoom session for an upcoming episode of “The Potato Field with Spudman” podcast. 

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