Here is an excellent guest blog on potato forks. Straight from the factory, Bulldog Tools in Wigan, England:
June is the month when early cropping potatoes become ready for lifting. The season runs from June until October and in the UK we produced over 6 million tonnes of potatoes in 2011.
Potatoes are an important staple in the UK diet with their original popularity likely to be due to the high yields of carbohydrate and protein that they provide, for a relatively modest financial outlay. The first potatoes arrived in Britain in 1600 and initially were used not only for human consumption, but also for fattening pigs and remain popular in the UK until today.
Lifting and moving potatoes is not an easy job; the crop is often heavy, bulky and liable to be damaged if not done accurately as potatoes can be ‘spiked’ by a misplaced fork tine! Bulldog Tools therefore make two types of potato forks to address both the task of digging up potatoes and the problems associated with moving or loading the crop.
Bulldog’s Potato Digging Fork has broad, flat tines which are reinforced to ensure that they do not bend when lifting heavy loads. These tines are not sharp and are designed to minimise crop damage when digging up any root vegetables. Like many of our tools, this fork is available fitted with an FSC certified ‘T’ or ‘YD’ ash handle. This fork is particularly useful in heavy soils for digging and turning the soil. It is also used by fishermen for digging up Lug and Rag Worms from beaches at low tide. The wide prongs reduce the ‘suction effect’ that occurs when using a spade, but still allow the worms to be collected.
The Bulldog Strapped Potato Fork is a wider fork with 9 thin ball point prongs. Used widely by commercial potato growers, this fork is slightly ‘shovel’ shaped to allow large loads to be lifted and moved with the ball points ensuring there is no damage to the crop. The solid forged straps form an integral part of the tool head and are the strongest method of attaching the head to a wooden shaft, making sure that the tines do not bend or buckle even when carrying heavy loads. As before, this fork is available fitted with an FSC certified ‘T’ or ‘YD’ ash handle.
Both these forks are manufactured in the UK at the Bulldog factory here in Wigan and are solid forged from a single steel blank. This forging process gives the fork maximum strength ensuring that it can handle heavy duty tasks without breaking. Equally, the FSC certified ash hardwood handles are selected for straightness of grain and each shaft is varnished to protect against the elements.