Montrose primary four children brave elements to learn about potatoes

PUPILS of the two primary four classes from Borrowfield Primary School, Montrose braved the rain to have a morning learning about potatoes.

The pupils are taking part in the Angus Potato Project being run by the Royal Highland Education Trust Angus Countryside Initiative (RHET ACI), so to add to the experience of growing their own potatoes in the classroom the pupils visited McCain Potatoes at Pugeston and then went on to Ardoch of Gallery farm at Logie Pert.

McCain Potatoes have been very involved in the ACI project, not only providing financial sponsorship along with RGS Forfar, but also supplying all the seed potatoes for the 41 classes taking part in Angus and Dundee.

McCain staff have also joined the ranks of the RHET ACI volunteers, delivering some of the classroom talks at the start of the project, when the schools were planting their potatoes.

The pupils were shown how seed potatoes are propagated and multiplied up to produce enough seed for English farmers to produce enough tatties for the numerous McCain potato products.

They then experienced the chill of the cold stores, before seeing the potatoes being graded and bagged ready for distribution to growers in England.

Borrowfield’s RHET ACI volunteer was local farmer Willie Officer, so having visited the McCain site the buses then headed to Willie’s farm, Ardoch of Gallery.

On the farm the pupils got a close look at machinery used on the farm by Willie, his father and their farm staff, who would normally have been out busy planting potatoes at this time of year, but instead were all on hand as they are unable to make any progress due to the wet weather.

As well as getting a detailed look at the stone separator, grain drill and sprayer, all the pupils got the chance to sit in the cab of the combine harvester while Mr Officer snr explained how it worked.

The pupils are now looking forward to harvesting their potatoes in June, to see if they can win the prize on offer for the heaviest crop grown.