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Alaska: Warm summer brings near-record fall potato harvest

This time of year, farmer Ben VanderWeele spends nearly every morning the same way. He oversees hundreds of tons of potatoes as they’re cleaned, set on a conveyor belt and put into storage. “We’ve got spuds. We had a good crop,” VanderWeele said. On Tuesday morning, VanderWeele’s crews were only about halfway through this year’s harvest, but they had to wait before they could go back into the fields. Mornings have been too cold lately. VanderWeele says it has to be at least 40 degrees for them to harvest without damaging the crop. “I am four or five days behind,” said VanderWeele, who tracks high and low temperatures. While Tuesday morning was a chilly 26 degrees, he says the warm weather this past summer is responsible for an unusually high potato count. More

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