looking back

Spuds among us

By Annemarie Schuetz
Posted 4/14/20

If you’ve tried to dig a garden in Sullivan County, you’ve come across a few billion of  these Sullivan County potatoes.

In other words: rocks.

Rocks are just one feature of …

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looking back

Spuds among us

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If you’ve tried to dig a garden in Sullivan County, you’ve come across a few billion of  these Sullivan County potatoes.

In other words: rocks.

Rocks are just one feature of our soil. As county historian John Conway chronicles in his new book, “In Further Retrospect,” “farming in Sullivan County has never been easy.”

 He quotes a 1940 soil survey report: “A deficiency of available phosphorus is the primary cause of the poverty and low productivity of the pastureland.” It also notes our famously acidic soil, which requires large amounts of limestone to turn it into something you can grow food on. 

Although county farming history is sprinkled with apples, maples, cauliflower and animals, Conway says, “It took incredibly hard work and know-how to enable farmers to make a living here.” Which might explain why many landowners switched to raising hotels, the growth and failure of which he also describes.

A signed copy of John Conway’s book “In Further Retrospect” is available for a donation of $27 or more to The Delaware Company; send to P.O. Box 88, Barryville, NY 12719. Books are also available through Amazon for $24 plus tax and shipping. 



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