THE potato harvest is over, and the time for winding down has begun.
The potato-growing community around Newlyn, Dean, Clark’s Hill and the surrounding district will mark the end of months of hard work with the annual Big Spud Dinner at the Dean Hall and Mechanics Institute on Saturday night.
The night will again centre around the annual weigh-in to decide on the district’s biggest potato. However the overriding theme is to pay tribute to the spud growers and workers.
“It still has the original idea of being a celebration for the area and the completion of the spud harvest,” organiser Liz Kelly said.
“The farmers work very hard for long hours, so they deserve the chance to wind down after the harvest.
“It has evolved a bit. At the start, about 10 years ago, there might have been about 70 people, mostly from the district. Last year we had about 110 come along and there was a broad range of people, including families from Ballarat, families from Daylesford, traditional farmers and backpackers who worked on the harvest.”
For the growers, the weigh-in is serious business. The potatoes are weighed with old-fashioned scales that measure in pounds and ounces. Joe Maher won it last year with a monster weighing six pounds 14 ounces (3.1kg).
The event includes music and a three-course feed starring the potato itself.
“It is one of the major social events on our calendar,” Ms Kelly said.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Big Spud Dinner
WHERE: Dean Hall and Mechanics Institute, Dean
WHEN: Saturday, from 7pm
HOW MUCH: $25 per single or $50 per family, including three course meal