Adolph Pesch: Spudman

I remember when I was a teenager, my grandpa had me take a copy of the magazine “Spudman” from a shelf so he could proudly show me a picture of himself hosing down potatoes in some non-descript warehouse in East Grand Fords.  “You see, I’m famous…I made the big time…” he said, teasing.  My grandpa Adolph–a name that went out of style for good reason–worked 3-4 jobs in this prairie town to support a family of 11 kids, one as hired man working the potato fields which surrounded the town and another in the dank warehouses which were East Side’s defining feature (besides the 60+ bars back in the day).

You see, unlike other farmers who point back to long lineage of farm owners and operators, my own past is filled primarily with landless peasants and farm laborers.  In a similar way to my grandpa who traveled to EGF from Floodwood in the 30’s, my grandma Adele’s family brought themselves to the Red River Valley in the midst of the depression.  They came to work the fields because, no matter how tough hoeing potatoes sounds, it sure beat the poverty and shame of the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

Historic picture of East Grand Forks potato warehouse (Source:

I bring up my family’s  farming history because our past always follows us around – it’s part of who we are.  Today, as I gathered up the first of the big Pontiac potatoes with those deep-set eyes, I couldn’t help but think about my grandpa.  This red potato, together with the Norland variety we also grow, was a mainstay of the Red River Valley potato business.  I’m sure Adolph spent many an hour digging the same variety out of the ground, and, like myself, washing them.  It took three generations, but this younger Spudman can say these potatoes came out of his own ground.  The inspration to work hard and care for his family came from elder.

In the box:

  • Arugula: This was much prettier a few days ago before the monsoon and hail.  
  • Cilantro: Small bunch with red band
  • A Couple Peppers
  • A Couple Tomatoes
  • Bunch of Beets
  • Buttercup Squash: Seemingly everybody’s  favorite with a deep orange flesh inside 
  • Acorn Squash: Great for stuffing (think pork stuffing cooking inside in the oven…) with a yellow flesh
  • Red Onion
  • Daikon Radish: I always suggest using in a salad with vinegar and sugar…something like this
  • Pontiac Potatoes


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