By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
Joe Seis, owner of Sterling Farms, LLC in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, holds yellow potatoes harvested on his land in August. “We started with Yukon Gold potatoes, but continue to experiment with new yellow varieties. We do the same with russets,” he says.
It’s a great story, but an unusual one when it comes to potato and vegetable growers. Joe Seis of Sterling Farms, LLC is not a second- or third-generation farmer. He didn’t grow up on a farm. He worked on farms, and then started farming on his own. But it gets better than that.
Where Seis grew up, in Antigo, Wisconsin, potato farming, particularly seed potato farming, makes up one of the largest industries. “I had family members who grew potatoes, and I worked at Schroeder Brothers Farms and Gary Bula Farms until I started on my own,” he notes.
“Working for Schroeder’s is probably where I got the potato bug,” Seis adds. “We’re happy.”
The “we” is Joe along with his wife, Dana, and their three children, Calvin, who’s 8 years old, Gabe, 6, and little Jessie, 3.
When you watch the Seis family harvesting potatoes, which I had the distinct pleasure of doing on Friday, August 11, it’s easy to see they are happy with their decisions. It’s not that they’re bouncing around laughing and singing while they toil. The family just seems content.