August Freedom

Published in the August 2012 Issue Published online: Aug 08, 2012 Tyler J. Baum
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For grower-shippers (in Idaho, at least) August is the month when the last of the previous year's crop is shipped. You're waiting patiently for the new crop-and in the meantime, taking advantage of the ever-allusive days in Idaho when the weather is pleasant.

As an adult, I always look forward to August. I didn't growing up, but that's because our local school district began a new school year in mid-August (anticipating two weeks of potato harvest in September, which it still practices). August was when summer freedom ended.

Before I left our family farm for good, I found I enjoyed grain and barley harvest in August. As tedious as it probably is to others, driving a 10-wheeler back and forth between the field and the granaries all day long didn't feel tedious to me. I was out and about, enjoying the August weather, but I wasn't doing manual labor like moving hand lines. And because our 10-wheelers didn't always have (working) radios, I'd have plenty of time to think. To this day, I miss driving one particular truck in the fleet, a white International identified as RB-3. It was easy to shift and it actually started the first time!

In the Upper Snake River Valley in eastern Idaho, August is also the best time to hike the Grand Teton range, as there's little to no snow left on the trail that leads to Table Mountain. Anyone besides hikers with a tiny bit of acrophobia tendencies would love how close Table Mountain takes you to the three Tetons without actually climbing them.

Since I've become the editor of Potato Grower magazine, I've found it's the one month of the year when things slow down enough in the office for me to really get out of the office and travel. As you've probably noticed, we publish every single month of the year, and then some. In August, I'm almost never in the office-I'm attending meetings, interviewing growers and taking photos. Much like with potato growers, September is when things in the office get crazy, resulting in early mornings and long nights.

Now I look forward to August because it's the month of the annual IGSA convention in Sun Valley. I love the surroundings, the peacefulness of the valley, the climate, chatting with grower-shippers, and, of course, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Ketchum. And I learn a lot with each year of meetings.

Now the only problem is, the conclusion of the IGSA convention signifies to me the end of summer freedom.