Farm storiesStories by Wilson J. Gaidry, III

7. The 1962 Ford truck

The 1962 Ford truck

In 1962 I had planted three hundred pounds of seed potatoes on the newly cleared property on the Coteau Road near the Introcoastal Canal.

When potatoes are planted the success of the crop is measured in a ratio of how many pounds were planted and how many pounds were harvested. That year we made 22 to 1 which means that for every pound of seed potatoes we planted we harvested 22 pounds of beautiful big potatoes. For some reason the local farmers didn’t plant much potatoes and the demand for fresh potatoes was good; we sold potatoes for $5.00 a 50 pound sack and made a good profit. I told my father that next year I was going to plant 500 pounds of seed potatoes and he said “You and everyone else in Louisiana”.

In 1963 I planted 500 pounds of seed potatoes, and we had a drought. When I dug the potatoes I only made 11 to 1 small potatoes but all the local farmers had planted a lot of potatoes; the price dropped and I couldn’t sell any locally. We hauled the potatoes in the Ford truck pictured above to the French market in New Orleans; we were bareley able to sell our potatoes, but at a very cheap price. It was a lot of hard work planting, digging, sacking and marketing potatoes and I think I might have broken even money-wise that year. I still raise a garden for home consumption and that was the last time I tried to raise vegetables for sale but I still think that the experience of raising vegetables and selling them at the New Orleans French market like my father and grandfather was something that added to my life.