The smell of sugar beets is in the air. Yesterday my co-worker commented that she could smell the sugar beets. That sparked a discussion on sugar beets that piqued my interest. I’m from Ohio and had never heard of a sugar beet before coming to Montana. Once I started my poker game in Worden, Montana I got educated on them quickly. The beet farmers out there rely on those beets to support their families.

I thought it would be fun to look further into why sugar beets are important. I asked my friend, Sandy, who has worked at the sugar beet factory for several years; to share some interesting sugar beets facts with me. She told me that looks can be deceiving when it comes to sugar beets. It is not always the biggest beet that has the highest sugar content. It is her job to test the beets as they come in and the biggest are not always the best. Sandy also said that the smell of raw beet sugar is very bad.

I also did a little research on the internet and found out that beet sugar are the second most important source of sugar after sugar cane.  I also found it interesting that they use lime stone to remove the impurities from the beet juice. When they are done processing the beets a pulp is left over which they dry and use as cattle feed. This pulp actually helps stimulate milk production in cows.

Big Pile of Sugar Beets inHUntelyMT Picture taken by Sarah Shadel in HuntleyMT

Who knew that sugar beets were so important? I’m glad that I took the time to take a closer look at sugar beets. Now I understand why the beet harvest is so important and appreciate a little more all of the hard work those farmers put in.