Guildhall farm family celebrates 85 years of potatoes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Guildhall farm family celebrates 85 years of potatoes

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In the tiny town of Guildhall there are stretches of flat, river bottom land; sandy soil without many rocks, which makes it a perfect place to grow potatoes.

It's a vegetable that's been a part of Janice Peaslee's life for years. Her late husband's father, Fred, started Peaslee's Vermont Potatoes 85 years ago, a time when potato farms were scattered across the state with up to 30. Now, the Peaslees' farm is part of a small handful.

"It was a family business then; it's a family business now and it should stay that way," Janice Peaslee said.

Bert, Janice's husband, died 14 years ago. They've planted every year since, except for last year when the family decided to regroup.

Reporter Gina Bullard: When your husband passed away, did you ever think to shut down the farm?

Janice Peaslee: No... That was part of his life and do I change that? No, that's his legacy. That's my children's legacy. It's something we just continue with.

Janice now runs the farm with her three children.

Gina Bullard: What's it like to work with your children?

Janice Peaslee: (Laughs) Oh, it's great.

"I grew up with it and I know how hard it is," said Karen Peaslee, Janice's daughter. "I don't have any romantic notions, but I believe in being good stewards of the land and producing a great quality product."

The farm has scaled back. It once planted 120 acres at a time; this year the family will plant 60 acres, with three varieties of Maine potatoes. That will produce more than 1 million pounds of product. But the Peaslees say spuds are duds when it comes to the bottom line.

"There's not a lot of profit to it, so you have to love what you do and it's a lifestyle choice," Karen said.

A hearty crop being grown by an even heartier family, continuing their family legacy.

You can find the Peaslees' potatoes in stores and restaurants in Vermont and New Hampshire.

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