PEI

The most P.E.I. gift: Giant heart-shaped potato thrills kids

Before this challenging harvest for P.E.I. potato farmers comes to a close there was one heartwarming moment left to be had.

'I was going to cut it up and make some fries but, well, there was no way I was doing that'

Danie van Schalkwyk's family was over the moon to see the huge, heart-shaped potato. (Submitted by Lorraine Hennessey)

Before this challenging harvest for P.E.I. potato farmers comes to a close there was one heartwarming moment left to be had.

Danie van Schalkwyk, with Allan Equipment, was visiting the Arthur Mooney and Sons farm in eastern P.E.I. to check up on a new potato harvester they'd purchased.

As he was standing on the back of the machine looking around, his eye was drawn to a "great big potato" up ahead in the dirt.

This potato may have been huge, but it was also bizarrely shaped.

"It looks like a heart, and I thought 'I got to grab that and show my girls,'" he said.

"When I grabbed it I thought of them and I said, 'They will get a kick out of this, especially because it's a perfect heart shape. You don't see that everyday.'"

'It just made their day'

He took the potato home, washed it up a bit and called his two girls to come see the treasure.

"Come look what I got for you," he called through the house. He showed them the big, heart-shaped potato and they just "burst out" in joy, Schalkwyk said.

Danie van Schalkwyk thought of making french fries with the potato, but that didn't sit well with the girls. (Submitted by Lorraine Hennessey)

"They were really happy about it. They were holding it up to their hearts, taking turns to hold it. They were quite happy with it.

"It just made their day."

This little moment of glee brought a lot of smiles in what's been a "far from ideal" harvest for farmers this year, he said.

Heavy rain, cold temperatures and very few dry days this fall have created what one farmer called an almost "helpless feeling." Recently, Island farmers have been banding together to help harvest each other's crops.

It's going to go with the rest of the toys. I think it's still there.— Danie van Schalkwyk

During this time of year, Schalkwyk doesn't get a chance to see his children much, he said, so bringing something home for them to cherish, like the heart-shaped potato, was special.

Except, maybe too special.

"It's still in the house, I was going to cut it up and make some fries but, well, there was no way I was doing that," he laughed.

"It's going to go with the rest of the toys. I think it's still there."

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