Large sweet potatoes grow underground, right, are first ploughed up, left, then migrant workers have to delicately lift them to the top of the soil mound, center, so they can be picked and sorted according to size, at Kirby Farms, a third-generation family farm, have for more than a century, worked their land in Mechanicsville, VA, just outside Richmond, in a year-around operation, that covers 500 acres, and generates produce and grains, on Friday, Sept 20, 2013. The potatoes, center, are still attached to the plants, showing how close together they grow. Fresh from the ground the red skin is easily rubbed off. They need to be cured in a heated warehouse to toughen the skin and bring its sweetness to the level commonly expected in markets. 200 acres of the farm are devoted to eggplant, spinach, beets, tomato, Jalapeno peppers, melons and a variety of greens. Soybeans and small grain are grown on the remaining 300 acres. The fertile Virginia soil and their management practices, allows Kirby Farms to double and triple crop fields with rotational crop selection. Wholesalers along the Mid-Atlantic from North Carolina to Maryland supply their produce to major supermarkets. Restaurateurs in the local area prepare and serve their harvest to patrons in the Richmond metropolitan area. U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo by Lance Cheung.

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