Black Rock Farms – Taber, Alberta
When you ask the native Idahoan how he ended up in Canada, Nate Cummins laughs. "My family has been growing potatoes in Alberta for 14 years. The growers here are a tight knit group, and I'm fortunate to be a part of that." Nate and brother Nick are third-generation farmers – their father and grandfather farmed in the Snake River Valley and expanded to Southern Alberta in 2001. Nick moved back to Idaho, but the brothers still collaborate. "We both really enjoy growing potatoes. We are constantly talking about how to do things differently and that's what fuels us."
Southern Alberta is relatively new to potato farms. The soil is dark, sandy and rich in nutrients – something Nate definitely appreciates. "Growers here have done a good job with crop rotation and keeping the soil healthy, which is great for the sustainability of our local farmers. Plus, we're so far north that our summer days are nice and long, but not too hot – perfect weather for growing good-quality potatoes."
Nate knows that farming is a lifestyle. "You have to love it to do it," he says. "We have employees that have been with us pretty much from our beginning in Alberta. They could obviously go and find a job doing something else, but they stay here because it's a way of life." For Nate, he's happiest when he can leave his phone in his truck, dig in his fields and leave everything behind. "Digging up a hill of potatoes, feeling the soil to see how they're growing – that's my happy place."
Brother Nick grows potatoes in Snake River Valley
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