This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
The rows are made twenty-six inches apart and the seed is dropped eighteen inches apart in the row.
The seed is then covered by a horse-drawn "coverer" consisting of two disks, one working on either side of the row.
This system of planting - 18 x 26 inches - gives the greatest amount of room for roots possible with close planting. Planting 10 x 27 makes the roots of one plant encroach on those of its neighbors.
The entire crop goes to the starch factory, so there is no waste - all cut, green or rough tubers go in. The tubers are harvested by hand and handled in bulk.
A narrow gauge railroad track is run to the potato field to be used in handling the crop. These tracks are in sections and can be moved to any part of the farm. The cars are pushed by hand.
The seed for next season's planting is saved from the main crop.
Whole seed is always planted, but small seed is used so that only about 1,000 pounds per acre are required.
That part of the crop used for table consumption is largely grown on small holdings, while the starch and other factories are supplied from the large estates.
Travelers in Europe complain of the potatoes served at the hotels lacking in flavor and quality. They are mostly served boiled or pared and are often very small - about the size of a walnut with the hull on.
The potato is a favorite ingredient for soups and salads, a special soggy potato that does not cook ' mealy" being grown for salad making. The Pabst Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wis., imports some of these every year for their customers. These have been grown at Mt. Sopris Farm. The potato is thin-skinned, yellow, and often seven or eight inches long, tapering at both ends. It is about an inch in diameter, very waxy and holds its form well.
A great may Russians are imported into Germany during potato harvest. They work for low wages, but are required to return to Russia after the harvest season. The German laws rigidly protect local farm labor.
The following about the manufacture of potato flour in Europe is from the reports of the following 4 representatives of the Government of the United States - Consul-General A. M. Thackara, Berlin, Germany, and Vice-Consul D. P. De Young, Amsterdam, Netherlands:
The great bulk of the so-called potato flour (kartoffelmehl) that is sold at retail in the groceries of Germany for cooking purposes is simply fine ground and sifted potato starch. There is, however, a flour obtained by grinding and bolting dried potatoes that is a comparatively new product.
In 1901, when the potato crop of the country reached the enormous total of 53,682,010 short tons, efforts were made to discover practical and economical methods of preserving the potatoes, so that the surplus could be stored and utilized in supplying future demands. Prizes were offered and a number of processes were submitted, in the more important of which the potatoes are dried by steam, forming what are called "kartof-felflocken," or potato flakes, which can be used for feeding stock, for distilling alcohol, for making starch, and for other purposes for which potatoes are used, or they can be ground and bolted for human consumption.
In the Tatosin process for the production of flakes, the raw potatoes are washed in a washing machine commonly used in distilleries or starch factories, and then conveyed by an elevator to a steamer erected over the drying apparatus, where they are cooked by means of low-pressure steam, as if the potatoes were to be used for feeding stock. The drying apparatus proper consists of two smooth, hollow, cast-iron revolving drums about four feet long and two feet in diameter, each with a clearance of about 0.039 inch. The drums are supported upon a cast-iron framework, on the top of which there is an iron hopper fitted at the bottom with emasculators, or crushers. The drums are heated by steam of 5.5 to 6 atmospheres led through a pipe passing through their axes. The interiors of the drums are ridged longitudinally. Condensed water is taken from the drums by two small pipes and returned to the boilers.
The potatoes after being steamed are allowed to fall by gravity into the hoppers and through the emasculators, where they are reduced to pulp, and in this shape are forced on to the drying drum. The drums turn in opposite directions at five revolutions a minute. The heat drives off the moisture of the potato pulp, leaving a firm mass that is scraped off by means of knives set parallel to the main axes of the drums. The dried mass falls into a spiral transporter fitted with revolving arms, where it is broken into flakes and conveyed to the packing room.
In other processes of preserving potatoes used in Germany the tubers are cut into disks or small pieces and dried by hot air. The method described, however, is that most in use. At present there are 436 plants established in Germany for drying potatoes, with an estimated production annually of 110,230 to 165,345 short tons, or 3,674,000 to 5,511,500 bushels. Of the above plants, 350 are for the production of potato flakes, and in 86 plants the potatoes are dried by the hot-air processes.
The prices of potato flakes vary from 14 to 16 pfennigs (3.3 to 3.8 cents) per kilo (2.2 pounds). The estimated cost of the production of the flakes is 6.30 marks ($1.50) per 50 kilos (110.2 pounds).
In the production of ground potato flour the potato flakes are ground and bolted. There are but few concerns that manufacture the flour, each having its own process. The flour is a yellowish white product, rich in carbohydrates. According to experiments made by the ' Institut fur Garungs-Gewerbe' (Institute for the Fermentation Industry) in Berlin, the principal constituents of the flour are: Water, 10.69 per cent.; protein, 6.59 per cent.; fatty substances, 0.23 per cent.; non-nitrogenous substances, 78.73 per cent.; raw fibre, 1.1 per cent. and ashes, 2.58 per cent.