After my 17th September rant about mechanised potato harvesting I was heartened this morning to see a farmer harvesting his potatoes in the old style. Well, he did use a tractor and a plough to turn over the earth, but thereafter he set out his hessian sacks and worked his way slowly along the furrows, using a fork to further loosen the earth and then picking the potatoes by hand. Needless to say, there were very few rejects. But it was, quite clearly, back-breaking work – all bending and kneeling and squatting and lifting – and it was also very time-consuming. I doubt whether the farmer’s additional work made economic sense, even if his potatoes were sold as ‘bio’ production. But it all seemed more in harmony with the surroundings than the industrial behometh we had seen at work on the 17th. My father used to grow potatoes in our London garden, and nothing tasted better than ‘new’ potatoes (as he called them), carried from the earth to the table in a matter of hours and served with butter and parsley….