Black Rock Farms – Murtaugh, ID
"I was at Utah State University when my dad and I talked about heading to Alberta," says Nick Cummins of his farming origins. "I grew up helping him on the farm here in Idaho so I felt I knew a lot – but once I got up there I realized I had a lot to learn. I guess I was baptized into the potato industry right then and there." A third-generation farmer – his grandfather began farming the Snake River Valley in 1954 – Nick got his start in 2001 with his brother Nate, and eventually moved back to Idaho to continue farming there. "Nate and I each run our side of the farm – we bring different things to the operation and it works really well."
Though they're far apart, they still like to collaborate. "We both really enjoy growing potatoes. We are constantly talking about how to improve and do things better, that's what fuels us." Their farm is definitely a family affair – brother Logan works with Nick in the Snake River Valley, and even though their dad is "semi-retired," he's always around if his boys need advice. "Farming isn't something you ever really retire from," says Nick. "Our dad has been growing potatoes for over 30 years, and his passion hasn't faded."
Get Nick talking about his farms and you'll learn a lot about the quality of the soil – rich, volcanic ash – and how important the Snake River is to the farms. "We're in a high elevation desert plain, so our water sources are the lifeblood of this valley," says Nick. He's happiest out in the fields, digging up the earth and getting his hands dirty. "Once you start farming, you learn it's more than a job, it's a way of life – it'd take quite a lot of money to get you out of it."
Brother Nate grows potatoes in Southern Alberta
Curly – but really, I like them all