Potato Grower

April 2017

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21 "Other farm wives are better than I am," says Wendi with a laugh. "They drive the trucks and machinery. But we learned pretty early on that it was probably best for our marriage for me not to force it." Their differences, however, have not stopped the Segers from forging a successful marriage and raising a happy family. They firmly believe that what they have in common is infinitely more important than any dissimilarities. And it's not as if Wendi hates the farm life; she's more than willing to help when and where she's needed. Matt grew up on a farm in southern Colorado's San Luis Valley, where his family grew alfalfa and small grains. But every fall when the neighbors dragged the massive potato harvesters out to their fields, Matt would gaze across the road in awe at the power and technology involved in growing potatoes. "I was always fascinated with potato harvest," Matt says now. "I mean, that machinery! Even now, I'm probably more passionate about the equipment than the agronomy." Upon his graduation from Colorado State University in 1994, Matt returned to the San Luis Valley and worked for a local potato grower for several years. In 2002, in the early parts of what has stretched a more-than-decade-long drought in the region, Matt and Wendi started their own farming operation. It hasn't been easy, but today Seger West Farm grows about 700 acres of malt barley, canola and low- generation seed potatoes each year. Only about 70 to 90 acres of the Segers' farm is dedicated to potato production, along with a greenhouse for growing nuclear seed. But that doesn't mean it's not an integral part of the operation. Throughout the life of the farm, russet varieties have made up the bulk of production, but Matt says he has started to "dabble in specialty varieties," most notably Purple Majesty. Seger seed stays close to home, finding its way to commercial farms in the San Luis Valley. "Potatoes are a pretty small part of the operation, but they're the most profitable by far," says Matt. Locavores patrons are able to see every step of the food preparation process. Wendi Seger says this provides a challenge, but it is key to the restaurant's goal of transparency. WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21

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