Where did the time go…

It seems like yesterday I posted about finishing up packing the last of the onions from last year and now it’s almost September.  As a farmer spring comes and the crops are planted and you start to pray for the perfect weather to grow the crops.  (I would say we almost wish the summer away to know that the crops have made it to the finish line)

Planting went well this year besides the rain that delayed some planting.


We had a visitor on the Muck this year.


The onions continued to grow and I am certain that we had extra help from above this year!


Jeff is the man behind the sprayer.


The Pump station pumped lots of water this year. It goes under the road and into Mud Lake.


After one of the many rain storms – a sign of hope.


and… pictures taken last night of the onions. We say prayers for a safe harvest and that the weather holds out!

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Thank you for any prayers sent our way!

Our Future Farmer!

Meet Abigail! She’s our future farmer! She loves the tractors and dirt about as much as her dad did! She’ll ride in the tractor with Mark for hours! Even with a Cast on her foot!



The Pump Station!



 The Pump Station was built in 1961 by the Army Corp of Engineers as part of the Five Mile Creek Watershed project. To preserve the Mucklands in Prattsburgh and Wheeler. It replaced a gravity fed system that was inadequate  to drain the 550 acres drained swamp. It was referred to in Prattsburgh Folklore as the Great Swamp! It is currently powered by 2 200hp diesel powered pumps. One primary pump pumps 18000 gallons per minute and the secondary pump pumps 28000 gallons per minute. That pump is used for flash flood situations. 

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The swamp is protected  by a manmade dike that is roughly 5 miles around the perimeter of the mucklands.  The 550 acres of land has 12 cisterns that connect underground drainage to cisterns  that pump to the dike.  A unique feature of the Prattsburgh Muck is that there is a ditch that divides the muck into three townships, Prattsburgh, Wheeler and Urbana.

Over the last 3 years all the drainage systems have been up dated. That’s another story to be told.

Without the pump station and all of the drainage the muck looks like these photos of flooding before the new drainage systems were installed.

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Guest writer today is Greg Squires.


Cold & Snowy as the Eagle keeps watch.

As the snow dances across the open fields, the Eagle sits in the tall trees around the muck waiting for any small creature to stir. With it’s wings wide open it glides along the fields in hopes of a meal.  It is a great reminder to me of the Freedoms we have and for the many servicemen and women who make that possible.

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Cheers to you- our employees.

I say Cheers to  all the employees that help our operation run. We have Brian, Justin and Jacob that work full time and in the fall we have several drivers that help keep the trucks moving. Thank you for all your help!  We are looking forward to 2014!

2013 Crop

2013 Crop

Where does the Sassy come from?

When we made the move to Prattsburgh we decided we needed a brand name for our onions. I believe it was my dad that remembered a photo he had taken of Cass when she was about 3? The photo was added to our bags and the brand of Sassy Onions was born!


P.S. That little girl has grown into a Savvy yet still Sassy business women!

Looking back at Elba.

J. Edwin & Teresa Squires started the onion farm in Elba, NY. They lived in Barre Center and raised all 5 children in the white house on Route 98. Their  love for farming has been passed down generations. Mom and Dad are both gone now and I am certain that they are sitting on a small white bench with Bern watching the rest of us.


I am not sure what year the next photo was taken but it a young passionate farmer trying to promote his business.


Some photos from the farm in Elba, where it all began.



The Harvestor was much small and very labor intense!


Planting is still the same but instead of a crawler a tractor is now used.


The Sprayer required several people and now one man does the job.


Planting 1972


Harvest in 1950 was all done by hand and put in crates.

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Harvesting in Elba 1986.  Mark learned young what the farm was all about.

 Mark’s son is named Ed after his great-grandfather and I think that some day he’ll will be the next onion farmer.

Be kind to the Truckers

10016_10200195210994559_293655951_nOnions and Bear 155Onions and Bear 155 Onions and Bear 157 Onions and Bear 156After 4 months of classes and driving time Greg got his CDL Class A license. That is the license to drive Tractor Trailers. We have always hired trucking companies to haul our onions to the city but this year we broke down and bought a truck and trailer. The grandchildren thought it was the biggest truck they’d even seen and I think they were right!

For the next 4-5 months the truck will be on the road delivery onions to Orange County in NY. So if you are on the road and see Greg behind the wheel give him a big wave! And if you are a kid and give the old “arm Pump” aka honk your horn I am sure he will lay on the horn for you but watch out cause it’s loud!

But mostly I would like you to say a prayer for all truck drivers… stay safe and come home to those who love you.


The Harvest is Done.

It seems like this might have been the longest harvest in history. (they all seem that way) but it is done. The onions are all put away in the buildings, the bin in full of soybeans, the tractors are washed (yes- washed!) and put away, the trucks are all tucked away in corners of the building. You would think that is time to sit back, enjoy the snowfall,  look forward to the holidays and relax. Wrong!

I always say that I like the onions when they are green and I can start putting them in my pocket! It’s that time of year when all the labor has paid off and you can start to sell! First load is on the way to Florida, NY. We pack the onions in 50 lb bags and send them to a broker who re-packs them into smaller bags and sells them to stores up and down the east coast! This is a partial load put up.


We will ship onions until spring. So no relaxing for these guys! Just different work on the farm. It never ends.

So on this Thanksgiving week I am thankful for a crop of onions, I am Thankful for the workers that help us on the farm, for three great guys, Greg, Jeff and Mark. I am Thankful that everyone is healthy and safe.   I am Thankful that we get to work the black dirt called Muck.


So close yet so far

When the harvest gets close to the end it is always the hardest. The weather gets colder and snow begins to be  part of the mix. The onions seem to bunker down in the dirt and when the sun comes out so do they. The last 20 acres always seem to take the longest.  With any luck they will finish this week.

They have started to put the rest of the onions inside the building and the cold, crisp days are great for that! The onions are loaded on the trucks and driven to the main storage where Greg starts the job of piling them away. All of the guys are great at driving the forklifts but to watch Greg whip around the storage and to pile them 5 and 6 high in perfect rows is still amazing to me.

The soybeans are all harvested and waiting in the bin to be sold. DSCN0248

I must admit that this fall harvest  has been very long. The end of harvest means the beginning of packing the onions to be shipped out. For anyone who thinks that the farming life is easy. It is not. Greg, Jeff and Mark are not just managers of the farm, they are part of the labor force. They don’t watch others do the work, they lead them. They are the first to be at the farm and the last to leave.  I am so very proud of them. Every season. Every crop.