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Families gear up for potato picking - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Families gear up for potato picking

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Vt. -

Barb Chapelle has been putting up signs reading, "potatoes," for more than thirty years now.

"It's incredible how people found us and it just grew from that"

Her husband, Bob Chapelle, started out potato farming as a hobby.

"We didn't have a huge crop," Barb Chapelle said. "We just had a little bit more than we needed."

And that is where the Chapelle's "pick your own potato" day started. Today, they have 50 acres of potatoes planted on this land in Williamstown. The Chapelles dig up more than a million pounds of potatoes and only about a half an acre is sold on "pick your own" day. The rest gets sold through Hannaford Supermarkets and big distributors.

"We tell customers that they can pick up whatever they want and they take us extremely literally," Barb Chapelle said. "They go for the biggest potatoes usually."

Big potatoes that even the littlest of guys can have fun picking. William is the third generation in his family to come to the Chappelle's on "pick your own potato" day.

Julie Kelley: Who do you pick potatoes with?

William Kimberely-Stridsberg: Mama.

Julie Kelley: And your grandma?

William: Uh-huh.

Julie Kelley: Is it fun?

William: Uh-huh.

Julie Kelley: You're funny!

William: Uh-huh.

Julie Kelley: You're cute too! 

"It's what we do," said Lora  Stridsberg. "It's what I've grown up doing and I'm just really glad to be able to pass that down to my son.

Lora Stridsberg has been coming out here since she was younger than William. She comes by her love of this day quite naturally.

Julie Kelley: Your mom is counting down to this day.

Lora Stridsberg: She is. She is. She says it's one of her favorite days of the year.

Julie Kelley: What does it mean to you that you've created a tradition that some families compare to Christmas?

Bob Chapelle: Actually, it's like Christmas! There's something very special about digging potatoes.

All you have to do is watch Will out in the field to know just how true that is!

They were supposed to have pick your own potatoes today, but Bob Chappelle checked the rain gage and forecast and it is postponed until next Sunday.

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