Posted: Aug 17, 2013 7:04 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
Updated: Aug 17, 2013 7:12 PM
The 27th annual Potato Festival celebrates Manhattan's deeply-rooted agricultural history-- which is alive even today. The festival, that draws nearly 5000 people to Manhattan every year, is also a representation of the rich food that farmer's produce here locally.
On such farmer, is Nick Schutter of Schutter Farms. His seed potato crops took a major hit from the hail storm two weeks ago.
"The crops look pretty tough right now. A lot of it was 100 percent damaged. The potato crop though, is a resilient plant and they are trying to grow back," he said.
Despite the damages, Schutter is proud of his work.
"This is the heart of the seed potato growing industry in the nation. We believe Montana has the best seed potatoes in the world," Schutter said.
Organizers of this festival believe it is really about all of the local farmers.
Paul Jones of the Manhattan area Chamber of Commerce said, "It is to support and talk about and bring light to the potato growers and people in this area."
These farmer's, in turn, are proud to be a part of this community.
"Everybody helps everybody else," Roger Nerlin of Headwaters Garden said. "With that hail storm that came through, I know a lot of farmers were helping other farmers."
Schutter shares this experience.
"They have offered their help, they've offered their equipment to help; all kinds of things. A lot of them have just stopped by and put their arm around us and said "keep going"," he said.
And that, is just what Schutter plans to do next year.
The event, which always falls on the third Saturday of August, is known for its ribbon fries and spud links which are its biggest sellers.