Saturday June 08, 2013
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Spring. Remarkable Measures.
Adapting to the Wet Spring in
what has become the wettest Spring in memory - over 9" rain since May
19 - we have reverted to wet ground techniques to keep planting. In the
photo above, our son Caleb drives our Cat D-6 bulldozer which is
pulling our 19' Vibrashank harrow in order to 'break crust' and hasten
drying. Cleat-tracks are better on marginally wet soil and there is
risk of compaction than with rubber-tired tractors. Between the rains
we have progressed to where we are two-thirds done planting potatoes.
We got done
planting at 9pm last night as the first raindrops of Tropical Storm
Andrea began to fall. All late and mid-season varieties are in the
ground. It looks like
it will be a few days before we can get back to farming. But, the end
planting is now in sight.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
Right-to-Know-GMO Label Coalition in the Northeast. We
met in Hartford CT on Monday June 3 to witness passage of the nation's
first GMO Label law. The tide is changing.
Click on photo to enlarge.
| CT Legislature
Passes First GMO Label Law.
Biotech has been hit hard and is scrambling for cover as
momentum is shifting towards transparency and accountability of
genetically engineered crops.
Last week the Connecticut
House voted 134-3 in support of a strong GMO Label bill.
This followed a 34-0 vote two days earlier by the CT Senate.
Grassroots GMO Label organizers from other States in the Northeast
Coalition – including Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
– traveled to CT and were in attendance at the State Capitol in
Hartford for this historic House vote. The
grassroots organizers also participated in the press conference
which followed the vote. The press conference included
both chambers of the Legislature and CT Governor Molloy who has
endorsed the bill.
Here in Maine, after six
months of effective
and extensive grassroots effort,
we expect our Right to Know GMO Label bill, LD 718, to be up for debate
on the House floor this Monday, June 10. Hopes are high that
Maine will shortly become the second State in the nation to require the
labeling of GMO foods. LD 718 is co-sponsored by 123 of
186 Legislators and a scientific poll this Spring indicated that 91% of
Mainers support GMO labeling.
Meanwhile out in Oregon, the
discovery of illegal,
unapproved Monsanto GE Wheat found
mysteriously growing on a wheat farm is sending shock waves across
American agriculture and world markets. Ninety percent of
Oregon’s $400 million wheat crop is soft white wheat largely sold to
Asia for the production of noodles. Upon news of the Monsanto
Wheat contamination incident, Asian buyers, including Japan, wary of GE
orders for Oregon wheat.
This GE Wheat contamination episode is
reminiscent of the contamination
of rice supplies
by unapproved, illegal GE Rice a few years back. That
contamination by GE Rice led to over $1 billion in damages and
ultimately a compensation settlement of $750 million to injured
farmers. Wheat is a much
American crop than rice and already at least one Kansas wheat farmer
has filed suit against Monsanto charging gross negligence.
of GE Wheat contamination is unknown at this time. Here is an excellent
background interview on the GE Wheat situation on CBS News (7:45) with
Dr Michael Hansen of Consumers Union.
here for our Uncontaminated Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes.
| Special Address
Before 4th Annual Slow
Boulder, Colorado was the site of the recent Slow
Gathering, held April 29-30. Speakers and entrepreneurs from
over the United States presented to the audience of over 600 good food
community members and investors.
Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm,
President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, gave a Special
Address (16:19) on the morning of the first day entitled ‘OSGATA et al v. Monsanto
– Family Farmers Seeking Justice.’
The address covered not only the farmer lawsuit which challenges
Monsanto, but also a lesson on potato economics and report on the GMO
Label bill effort in Maine.
At the tail end of the address,
reference is made to Cecily Pingree’s outstanding Betting
the Farm, 'the gripping film about
organic dairy farmers in Maine who after losing
their market decide to start up their own milk company called ‘Maine’s
Own Organic (MOO) Milk'. Here’s
the Must Watch trailer (3:06) to Betting
the Farm. The film is now widely
available including on Amazon.
Here For Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed
Wood Prairie Farmer Jim
Colorado making the case for family farmer justice.
Rock Dust. Starting
with tote bags that have a blend of rock powders and
ending with a calibrated dust trickle of one ton/acre.
| Spreading Rock Dust
on Wood Prairie Farm.
YouTube video (1:25)
of Caleb and Justin this week spreading rock powder on this
potato ground. We take scheduled soil and foliar tests to
tweak our progress in mineralizing our soil. On our farm in
Northern Maine we typically find it wise to supply additional Calcium,
Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Boron, Zinc, and Manganese, among other
Fully mineralized soil not only produces greater yields and higher
nutritional quality but also the best tasting (for example, potatoes,
apples and wine) and best performing (for example, seed vigor
& production and storage quality) crops.
We buy our custom rock powder blends
from our friends at the Amish-owned
Lancaster Ag Products in Lancaster, PA.
Our soil testing – full of valuable results - is arranged through LAP
and performed by Midwest Soil Testing. We recommend them
Here’s another You
Tube video (1:18) of unloading 3000lbs tote bags of rock powder from
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Fertilizers.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who errs...[And] if he fails, at least fails while
President Teddy Roosevelt
Roosevelt. Critics beware.
Recipe: Rose Petal Granola
1/2 c walnut halves
tsp freshly ground pepper
c dried currants
petals from a dozen or so small roses
c unsalted butter
egg white (optional)
oven to 300 F degrees with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the
oven. Set out two rimmed baking sheets.
the oats, walnuts, salt, pepper, currants and half of the rose petals
in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low
heat and stir in the honey. When thoroughly combined, pour the honey
mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.
If you like clumpier granola, stir in the egg white. Divide the mixture
equally between the two baking sheets and spread into a thin layer.
stirring a couple time along the way, for about 20 - 30 minutes, or
until the granola is toasty and deeply golden. Remove from
the oven and press down on the granola with a metal spatula - you'll
get more clumps this way. Let cool and sprinkle with remaining dried
rose petals. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
about 7 cups.
| Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat
As soon as it dries out we’ll get back to planting and plowing down
next year’s potato ground which is now in clover-grass sod.
Soon after we will plant that field to a plow-down
crop of Buckwheat as an unbeatable way to improve the soil.
So these days we have Buckwheat on our mind. And today we have on our
hands a chilly and rainy day in the low 50s.
So we’re also thinking Buckwheat
Pancakes. In our on-farm certified organic flour mill we turn
organic Buckwheat grain into our delicious Organic
Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix.
Buckwheat pancakes make a simple and great-anytime-meal –
most especially on such a dreary day as we have had today in Northern
Here's your chance to earn a FREE 1 ½ lbs. sack of our fresh
Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix (Value $7.95) when
your next order totals $40 or more. FREE Organic Acadian Buckwheat Pancake
Mix - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, Jun 10, 2013, so
Please use Promo Code WPF1147.
Your order and FREE
Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix must ship by 6/12/13. Offer
may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Fresh Organic Baking Mixes Section.
Buckwheat Pancakes. And
real organic Maple Syrup.
Awareness Growing, OP v. Hybrids v. GE, Now & Then Photos,
Establishing Roots, Good Times in Texas.
Thank you again for the latest "Seed Piece" - as
am saddened, angered, outraged, and more when I read about what the GMO
people are doing. Yet I also feel the awareness is growing and I just
wanted to say that people are listening!
We are hopeful that our remarkable left/right, Tea
Party/Dem, urban/rural Maine coalition will give us a law in Maine in
short order. Our bill calls for a Trigger of 4 other NE states so we
will need states like CT, VT, MA and NY to come on board. We
think after the first states enact, the others will follow more easily.
We are developing momentum. Appreciate your support.
OP v. Hybrid v. GE.
I'm wondering if you can offer a quick and easy
about how GMO in food is different than hybridized veggies and flowers.
I've had a few people ask me to share distinctions and I sort of can
but would love your perspective especially if it can be in a few
Here's our attempt. It's a broad topic and what
follows are mostly apt generalizations.
Jim & Megan
OP variety is a stable variety whose off-spring are the same as the
parents. Open-pollination is accomplished by natural means such as
wind, insects or birds. Genetic diversity is relatively high, however
saved seed will be true to the parents. Natural selective pressure by
enviornmental factors can be supplemented by human selection for
specific qualities (for example, earliness, growth habit) accelerating
enhancement known as 'regional adaptation.' Seed control and ownership
resides with the farmer or gardener.
varieties are the result of crossing two specific parent varieties from
different strains or closely related species. Hybrids are the result of
human design. Uniformity and stability is relatively high, genetic
diversity is restricted. Saved seed will not grow true. Seed must be
purchased annually so seed control has shifted to the seed supplier.
genera gene-splicing (e.g., a gene from a Flounder spliced into a
strawberry in order to increase frost resistance) which is unnatural in
that it would never occur in nature. Genetic diversity is narrow. GE
seed is patented so farmers are merely licensed 'users of technology'
and legally restricted in their use. Farmers make royalty payments for
their use of the patented technology. Farmers are not permitted to save
or re-plant seed. Instead, they are legally obliged to purchase and use
new seed each year under rigid terms established by the licensing
Now & Then
We enjoyed the "now and then" photos. They
brightened up the day during this rainy spell. I enjoy reading your
Seed Piece newsletter, particularly when there is news/photos of the
Thanks for your note. We're trying to remember to
camera with us when we go out to the field to work. I smile when I
think of my old neighbors who would be mystified why anyone
would want to take a picture of a
process involved in growing potatoes. To them, growing potatoes was
just work, nothing special, and certainly not noteworthy.
Your keynote at
the 2010 Common Ground Fair
inspired me and my family to pursue the land-transfer of my family's
homestead in central Maine. We were successful, and now my wife and I
are the proud owners of 125 acres, only about 2 are still fields. We
are in process of opening the land and clearing, while fixing up the
farm house. Thanks again for your leadership; I'm sure a lot of people
were inspired by you..
Thanks for the nice story. Here is a link to the YouTube
(1:10:53) of that talk as well as it's
transcription. There's nothing better than being connected to
the land. Now the fun begins.
Good Times in Texas.
Many thanks for the seed potatoes.
This year has been the best ever and I have been farming for over 60
years. There are still hundreds of potatoes in the ground so we have
our work cut out for us.
Very glad to hear things are going well for you.
You folks in Texas deserve a good year.
Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm