Thursday June 26, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Planting of Seed Peppers and Seed Squash on Wood Prairie
As the rain began falling Tuesday evening
this week, we were finishing up the plowing, discing and planting of
our last crop. Knowing the rain was imminent we pushed and
finished planting that plow-down-crop of Buckwheat green manure on the
five home farm fields which will grow next year’s ten acres of
certified organic seed potatoes. And rain it did: 0.70” came
Tuesday night and then another 0.65” over the following 30 hours,
concluding at noon today. Now the sky is clear and we are enjoying
nice, dry ‘Canadian air.’
Since conditions of unusually dry soil
on June 4, we’ve now had more than 6.3” of rain in the last
one-day-beyond-three-weeks. The rain has arrived in persistently
frequent yet moderate amounts. What’s not surprising is that
with all the rain we’ve slipped behind in our workload from where we’d
like to be. But the crops look good and so far the moderate
rains have soaked in and been good for everything growing in the ground.
So things this year are wet but looking up. For
perspective, in each of the past three May/Junes we’ve been swamped
with eleven to fifteen inches of rain. June 2011 saw 9” of
rain in the single week following the completion of our potato
planting. That next year, we received over 10” in just three
days at the very end of June. It is a fact that four of the
wettest five years on record – since 1939 when weather records first
began to be collected at the Caribou, Maine weather station – have
occurred in the last five years. When Mr. Gore writes of
positive news on the climate change front, we here in Northern Maine
are all ears. Please don’t miss our article on Vice-President
Gore's good news.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| The Deeper
Dimension of Being Certified Organic.
One of the up and comer blogs for the
of young organic farmers is out of California
and is called FarmsReach. The writing is good, the
content valuable and
the atmosphere constructive and obliging.
A recent FarmsReach post
sought advice on the value of going through the process of becoming a certified organic farmer.
Last Winter at the Agrarian
Elders Gathering in Big Sur, a similar topic
generated a very
spirited dialogue by the experienced - and not
bashful - elder organic farmer participants.
Below are the comments Jim contributed
yesterday to this FarmsReach
thread about whether or not an organic farmer
should become certified.
We have been MOFGA certified organic farmers for
32 years: 12 years
under USDA NOP and 20 years before certification became
agree with the comments suggesting that certification has definite
value in marketing venues beyond wholesaling
like to touch on a deeper dimension to the value of certification:
organic farmers who are not certified are politically invisible and
that seriously hinders the progress of our movement.
believe we all have a responsibility to help build the permanence of
organic farming. In the 1970s and 1980s organic certification
as the mechanism by which we teased out what was appropriate organic
practice. Over time a decentralized grassroots consensus
organic developed and refined itself. Certification became
publicly acknowledged adherence to accepted organic production
principles. Certification largely created the market for organic food.
There remains a perpetual need on the part of members of the organic
community to protect the system called organic farming.
is increasing pressure by outside corporate pressure (Industrial Food
conglomerates who bought their way into organic) to water down the
organic standards. This pressure is unacceptable to those seeking
authentic organic food and to organic family farmers faithful to
organic principles. It must be fought.
there are critical reforms needed in ag and food policy. We
strong candidates, supportive of organic, to office. For
certified organic farmer there are two or three organic farmers who
have not certified. Organic farmers who stand up and become
deploy the strongest leverage for good and therefore offer the greatest
service to our organic community.
There are many times when
the most important considerations have little to do with cost or
affordability. Instead, what really matters centers around
and a commitment and willingness to throw ones’ weight into a cause
which supports the much greater common good.
We’ve always felt this deeper
dimension is what organic farm certification is really all about.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our
Certified Organic Wood Prairie Farm Certified Seed Potatoes.
Organic Farmer. More than one
reason every organic farmer should become certified organic.
Must Read Article.
We hope the Vice-President is correct.
| Al Gore: Market
Realities Bring New Hope For the Climate.
Former Vice-President Al Gore believes
there are unmistakable signs that we have reached a positive turning
point in the battle to mitigate the effects of climate
change. Writing a powerful
article in a recent edition of Rolling
Stone, the new optimism interestingly involves
an unexpected market response and the recently significantly lower
costs for both solar and wind power.
Writes Gore, “In the struggle to solve the
climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place.
The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and
dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The
only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the
transition to a low-carbon civilization. There will be many times in
the decades ahead when we will have to take care to guard against
despair, lest it become another form of denial, paralyzing action. It
is true that we have waited too long to avoid some serious damage to
the planetary ecosystem – some of it, unfortunately, irreversible. Yet
the truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending
civilization as we know it can still – almost certainly – be avoided.
Moreover, the pace of the changes already set in motion can still be
Those corporations which benefit from
the status quo and high-carbon-polluting fuels – notably the desperado
Koch Brothers and their ilk – will fight tooth and nail to maintain
their stranglehold position. However, market forces are very
powerful. The need is for government to develop backbone to
resist industry’s self-serving power plays which attempt to disable
operation of the market. As well, the people must do their
homework and see past the endless industry propaganda and lies.
Rarely do we receive this sort of
unanticipated surprise and good news. You will be glad you
took the time to read this important and in-depth article.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Certified Organic Cover Crop Seed.
| Notable Quotes:
Lincoln on Democracy.
Quinoa Skillet Bread.
by Angela Wotton
Cornmeal and Quinoa Skillet Bread.
c whole wheat
flour (I used spelt in this
3/4 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c cooked
quinoa, room temperature (quinoa is cooked just as you would oatmeal)
3 T unsalted butter, barely melted
3 T natural cane or brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea
2 c milk
1 1/2 T white or white wine vinegar
1 c heavy cream
the oven to 350F. Roughly ten minutes before you are
ready to bake the skillet bread, while you are mixing the batter, place
skillet in the hot oven.
a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking
powder, baking soda, and dried herbs.
a separate bowl, beat the eggs, quinoa, and melted butter
until well-blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and stir
add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the
comes together. It will be quite thin.
the batter into the heated skillet. Pour the heavy
cream into the center of the batter - do not stir. Carefully place in
check after 45 minutes. The skillet bread is done when the top becomes
browned and the center just set.
served warm from the oven.
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Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Tools and Supplies Section.
Smart Bag. Enjoy this chance to give
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Our Mailbox: Butte
Blossoms, Possession and the Law, The Desired Solution.
This morning these potato
blossoms interrupted by intended plan of action by calling me to them
via their scent. I had no idea the humble potato plant had such an
assertive and beautiful fragrance.
Some potato varieties show abundant blossoms (like
the 'Butte' in the photo), others almost none (like 'Yukon Gold').
Because potatoes are vegetatively propagated, the blossoming (or lack
of same) has no impact on yield. However, the old timers observed that
with plenty of early moisture there will be a relative excess of
blossoms plus a high tuber set (number of tubers per hill) and that
lays the foundation for the highest possible yield. An entire potato
field in blossom is both beautiful and very fragrant. It is something
for the senses to behold.
In time, some pollinated blossoms will
form into green 'seed balls' which are small (3/4" diameter)
tomato-like-spheres. Inside one seed ball you will find perhaps 80-100
tiny 'true' seeds which will be a cross between the mother plant
(sporting the seed balls) and another variety which supplied the pollen
(father). A potato breeder would take those seeds and grow them out. If
the breeder is fortunate, after selecting from 100,000-200,000 plants
in this manner, a new cultivar superior to the parents may be
identified and developed into a new potato variety.
Possession and the
Did you see this Jim? Santo
Yes I did. And no, it is not correct. A farmer who
via ultimatums in effect admits to unlicensed "possession" of patented
material is opening himself to a patent infringement lawsuit. Our three
year lawsuit against Monsanto, 'OSGATA et al v. Monsanto' resulted
in partial protection for farmers who through no fault of their own
become contaminated and come to "possess" trace amounts (defined as 1%
or less) of Monsanto's patented material. We do know farmers who have
gone up against Monsanto solo and it is an experience not for the faint
Even if proper studies had been done on certain
GMO safety, the method they use of dropping thousands of pounds of
poison into the earth for every crop is not acceptable. The emphasis
should be on trying to use less. I know that farming is tricky, and I
know you have to do something to alleviate the pests, but let's see
methods tried out that aren't deadly to people. The world is finite,
and the only one we have so far. Stewardship is key.
One may trace back the practice of organic farming to Sir
Albert Howard and the Rudolph Steiner lectures in the 1920s. So -
despite the dismissive propaganda of industrial agriculture - we have a
documented nearly hundred-year history of sound farming in tune with
nature, producing healthy food in an environmentally sound manner. This
stellar system of organic production includes controlling pests without
persistent synthetic chemicals. So, yes, we have the desired solution
and it is in operation. It is called organic farming.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm