When does Potato Harvesting Start?
Each year, October tends to be when our farm team will begin lifting potatoes from the fields to be stored in our large are dead. If so, harvesting begins!
How do we Harvest Potatoes?
A haulm topper is a commonly used agricultural machine that will cut potato stems before the potatoes are harvested. Our farm team attach the haulm topper to the front of our tractors whilst towing a potato harvester behind the tractor.
A potato harvester uses a share, a share will lift the potatoes from the beds, then transfer the lifted potatoes and soil onto webs. The webs act as a sieve, getting rid of any loose soil - returning it to the ground, keeping it separated from the lifted potatoes.
FUN FACT: Our farm team will harvest and load 500 tonnes of potatoes a day!
What do we use the potatoes for?
Prior to the emergence of Arbikie Distillery, Arbikie farm solely produced potatoes for major UK supermarkets. However, producing potatoes for supermarkets comes with some specifications, for instance, the shape and size of potatoes must meet certain criteria. If the potatoes do not meet these requirements, they are classed as 'wonky veg* and are, therefore, rejected - often going to waste.
Being one of the UK's largest potato farms, Arbikie realised that a lot of the potatoes being produced were going to waste, and so, a more efficient solution needed to be considered. The Stirling brothers took on this challenge and decided to put the wonky veg to good use. From 2014, potatoes that didn't make the cut were turned into delectable gin and vodka!
Nearly seven years on from 2014, we now have a full range of sustainable field-to-bottle spirits made from several different crops including potatoes, wheat, rye, and even peas!
Three of our spirits are potato-based: Tattie Bogle Vodka (Arbikie's first spirit produced), Kirsty's Gin (named after our master distiller, Kirsty Black), and Chilli Vodka (made with fresh chipotle chillies grown in our on-site polytunnel).
FUN FACT: Did you know that 4kg of our harvested potatoes are used to make ONE bottle of Tattie Bogle Vodka?
Check out inspired Scotland's new BLOG 'Always Tattie Holidays!': https://www.ginspiredscotland.com/always-tattie-holidays/