“PICKING ROCKS” – AN AGE-OLD PRACTICE IN AROOSTOOK COUNTY, MAINE. As reliable an Aroostook institution as Saturday night Baked Beans, ‘picking rocks’ is a task performed with a hand crew and Rock Cart immediately after potato planting is complete.
Here, Amy is driving the Farmall tractor pulling our rugged, red rock-filled homemade hydraulic-powered dump cart. We bought it at a local farm auction 25 years ago for $600. It has been worth every penny.
Rocks bruise potatoes and bust-up equipment. After all is said and done, once potato planting is completed there will always be some maverick rocks laying atop potato rows dastardly committed to creating mayhem for farmers.
After many decades of rock removal efforts the number of rocks left to pick in Aroostook County is now only a small fraction of what the glaciers left behind.
However, despite the mega-mechanized world of modern potato farming, post-planting rock picking is still one job that no one has invented a way to avoid hand labor. So, the need to ‘pick rocks’ remains to this day a universal affliction, impacting all from the smallest of fry – like us – to the most megalithic of potato farming operations. Caleb, Megan & Jim