September 03, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Shipping Harvest Help Offer - Limited Time!
Harvest Slowly Getting Underway.
Our potato harvest is just around the corner and set to begin the week
of September 15 when the local schools close for Potato Harvest Break.
Above, son Caleb and Jim discussing how to keep harvesting on muddy
This morning, as Jim was headed to Presque Isle for repair parts, he
saw one neighbor with a bulk body truck parked in the door yard,
half-full of round-white potatoes - no doubt the town’s first potatoes
dug this year with a potato harvester. North another few
across from Whited Bible Camp - a gaggle of pickup trucks were parked
by the side of US Route 1, their recent occupants forming a cluster of
interested observers, likely down from the local French Fry
plant. They were watching the beginnings of one farmer’s
at large-scale harvesting of potatoes - with the potato tops still
green and growing - by two big green four-row Lockwood
windrowers. No doubt hopes were high these potatoes would be
ready and able to provide anxious plant workers with the ability to
turn fresh Bridgewater spuds into seasoned curly fries.
Soil conditions here are dry, especially in and around
Bridgewater. We’d say “very dry” except out of hesitation that our
droughty friends in California who, should they read such an entry,
would conclude our complaining about two little months worth of sub-par
precipitation qualifies us as light weight softies.
August brought us just 1.9” of rain. When you
that 6” we received in one early July day from Tropical Storm Arthur on
July 5, that near record July rain total of 8.8” trickles down to
creating the beginnings of our current dusty ground. Fields
accessible to our ponds have been irrigated. All-in-all
here look pretty good. We finished combining Oats and Spring Wheat last
week and we can’t remember better (dry) harvest conditions for grain.
FREE Shipping Harvest Help Offer! is now here.
Each Fall at this time, you can help us when you place your orders NOW
to aid us with
our harvest expenses. To express our appreciation
for your timely order we have created our Harvest Help
FREE Shipping offer
. The FREE Shipping
limited-time offer so please
in order to save big.
We are taking orders now for our organic
Maine Certified Seed Potatoes
for your kitchen. We are able to ship potatoes to you as soon
each variety is dug and cleaned. If you want to place your
and have us store your potatoes here until you need them, yes we can ship later
- just let us know. FREE Shipping
Harvest Help Offer
(Coupon Code WPF 1185) applies to all
of our goods and includes seed potatoes shipped out in the Spring. Yes your savings can be
Please order online or call and let us know how we can help
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| World Leader
Vandana Shiva Attacked and Defended.
The Watergate scandal taught us all to
money.” Do keep this wise admonition in mind as you consider
the harsh attack in The New Yorker
aimed at legendary global leader and anti-genetic engineering (GE)
activist Dr. Vandana Shiva. As
Jim said in a Facebook posting and
during a recent New
York City Heritage Radio interview, this vicious
attack has all the markings of yet another in a long line of
Biotech-orchestrated character assassination campaigns against those
who speak the truth in opposition to GE crops.
Following publication of the attack piece, Dr.
Shiva quickly issued a
detailed and articulate written response to the article
effectively negated the assertions contained in the mean-spirited New
Yorker article written by Michael Specter. If you are not
familiar with her work you will want to watch
this excellent interview of Dr.
Shiva on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp).
So why in the world would The
New Yorker attack Vandana Shiva? It seems
the answer comes from following the money and reviewing the fact that
Yorker is part of the Conde’ Nast publishing
Conde’ Nast it turns out has financial relations with notorious biotech
bad actor, Monsanto.
Recently, in August, in a
MUST READ article, Mother Jones reporter Tom Philpott exposed
Conde’ Nast for having engaged in a secret and
alliance with Monsanto.
In a near comic hapless scheme, Conde’
Nast attempted to trick respected good food advocates – including
Michael Pollan - into becoming unwitting promoters. It was Monsanto
money that was behind this effort at trickery.
"...I've learned that Condé Nast's Strategic Partnerships division
dangled cash before several high-profile food politics writers, in an
unsuccessful attempt to convince them to participate."
Following the money is always a good
Jim & Megan
Here For Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.
Another Character Assasination. Biotech sticks to its playbook and enlists The New Yorker.
One of The
Best Potato Varieties.
Do find room in your garden for a
patch of Caribe'.
| Variety Corner:
Spotlight on Caribe'.
The One Variety That
For Over 25 Years We Have Said Deserves to Be in EVERY Garden.
We closely observed Caribe’
(pronounced (“Ka-REE-bay”) prior to its official naming and release in
1984 while it was being grown as an experimental numbered variety
(“F55066”) by organic farmer friends across the line in
Caribe’ – Spanish for “Caribbean” – was early on recognized as a truly
extraordinary potato variety.
Caribe’ had been bred by our friend, Dr. Hielke De Jong,
the Agriculture Canada potato breeder in neighboring Fredericton, New
Brunswick (and author, along with his Cornell potato breeder son,
of the excellent The
Complete Book of Potatoes).
The intention back in the 1970s was to fill the niche for a
purple-skinned, white-fleshed export variety for Cuba. Among
other appealing qualities, local Cuban lore credits such purple
potatoes with powers as an aphrodisiac. Sadly, the Caribe’s
susceptibility to the fungal pathogen fusarium
was a mismatch for the tropical climate of Cuba – as well as the
tropical southern half of Florida – so Caribe’ never came to flourish
extraordinary qualities – including earliness, very high yield, great
taste and stunning beauty – and excellent performance in northern
Florida and the other forty-nine States has made it a top performer
virtually everywhere away from the tropics.
Caribe’ is a striking potato in many ways. It is
attractive oblong potato with lustrous purple skin, fairly shallow
eyes, and a delicious snow-white flesh. Caribe’ is unexcelled as a new
potato fresh out of the garden. It’s incredible
earliness and very rapid tuber bulking allow high -yielding impressive harvests beginning in
as few as 60-65 days after planting
when seed potatoes have been fully green-sprouted. Caribe’ is
consistently high yielding variety. University of Rhode
researchers considered the early, high yielding nature of Caribe’ to be
so exceptional that URI came to recommend simply growing Caribe’ as a
effective strategy for combating economic loss due to potato
nemesis Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB).
of Caribe’ exhibit medium dormancy and should be considered a
preferential choice for Fall planting where winters are mild
where Fall planting is practiced. Yet with proper storage
(soil-like conditions: dark, moist and 38ºF) Caribe’ actually stores
very well and will keep all winter, though the purple color typically
begins to fade after about three months in storage. Cool and
soil conditions during the growing season result in the best coloration
for Caribe’; in hotter and drier conditions, the beautiful purple color
will be more muted.
in the Kitchen and Field.
In the kitchen, Caribe’
is a versatile, good tasting variety. It’s waxy, mid-dry
makes it suitable for boiling, baking or frying. The dry heat
baking will preserve best the purple skin color; boiling or steaming
will tend to wash out some color.
In the field,
Caribe has proved itself to be a reliable, easy-to-grow
Plants are medium-sized and spreading. Tops flop over as
reach maturity. Caribe’ is widely adapted and has only
nitrogen requirements. It is highly resistant to hollow heart
is somewhat resistant to potato scab.
in, year out, Caribe sets a good number of tubers per hill and is
reliably one of our highest yielding varieties.
For over twenty years it has been one of our best selling
has a fiercely loyal following and we witness a great number of farmers
and gardeners who unfailingly order it year after year after
year. We know from experience that they are onto
something. Yes, Caribe’ deserves to be in your garden, too.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Maine Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.
| Fascinating 'Social
History of Food in Logging Camps.'
Maine has a long and hard fought
with logging. Generations ago many local Northern Maine
would take to the woods after the close of the farming season in
November and spend the cold snowy winter as a wage earner ‘cutting
wood’ and living in isolated logging camps. Our Wood Prairie
Farm, located on the edge of Maine’s North Woods, at one time years
ago, housed thirty teams of horses who were used to twitch logs out of
the nearby forest.
So with logging a big part of our local lore, we
were grateful to have come across this gem. The
engaging 1979 article by Joseph Conlin, “Old Boy, Did You Get Enough of
Pie?” was printed in the Journal of Forest History.
It recounts - in fascinating detail - “A Social History of Food in
Logging Camps,” replete with historical photographs, direct logger
quotes, and even sample authentic “Logging Camp Menus.”
think you’ll be glad you took the time to read this snapshot about a
remarkable era in American history.
“In Maine, where American commercial logging was born, living
conditions were brutish. ‘Comforts for the drivers didn't mean much to
the employers,’ wrote Marsh Underwood. The men cowered by night in rude
shanties, the warming fire in the center of the hut doubling as and
oven. The first lumberjacks ate standing or off their laps from the
‘deacon seat’…Out of this tricky requirement emerged the curious and
universal loggers' custom of silence at meals or, more precisely, the
rule against talking at meals. It was one of the laws ‘everyone lived
by,’ Louie Blanchard remembered, ‘even if they had never been passed by
the state legislature.... When you was eating, no talking was allowed,
except to say 'Pass the meat' or 'Shoot the beans' when the things
didn't come around fast enough... If we'd ever had any stylish
visitors, they would of thought a logging camp crew the most polite
people who ever broke bread together. Seeing all this politeness, they
might of thought it was the Last Supper.’”
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Grains & Flours Section.
Loggers at Mealtime, Circa 1900.
Quietly attending to big apeitites.
| Notable Quotes:
Abbey on Patriots.
and Potato Gratin.
by Angela Wotton
Spiced Tomato and Potato Gratin
In a small bowl, mix together:
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
In a frying pan, heat 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter over medium heat.
6 c thinly sliced onions
(about 2 lbs)
over low heat, stirring frequently, until onions are deeply golden,
about 20 minutes. A minute before the onions are done, mix in the
spices. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, thinly slice into a bowl:
1 1/4 lbs Yukon
Gold potatoes, 1/8" thick
Toss potatoes with:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sea
Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices:
2 lbs ripe tomatoes
Cut into ribbons:
Handful of basil
oven to 350F. Smear half of the caramelized onions across the bottom of
a 10x10" baking dish. Take half of the potatoes and half of the
tomatoes and arrange on top of the onions. Drizzle with a couple
tablespoons of cream from the potatoes and a tablespoon on olive oil.
Season the layer a pinch of salt and half the basil.
remaining onions across the potatoes and tomatoes already in the pan.
Arrange another layer of tomatoes and potatoes on top. Pour the
remaining cream, and tablespoon of olive oil across the top. Season
with another pinch of salt and the remaining basil. Gently press down
on the vegetables so the cream comes up through the layers of
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for
2 hours, or until potatoes are completely tender throughout. Increase
the oven temperature to 450F, carefully uncover the gratin, and cook
another 30 minutes, or until top takes on a nice golden color.
Makes 10 sides.
| Special Offer: Harvest Help FREE Shipping!
On All Orders. Hurry! Limited Time!
Farmers need help during harvest and that’s a fact
everyone understands. If you will help us by placing your
order NOW we’ll return the favor by offering you FREE Shipping on
your next order!
Special Harvest Help
FREE Shipping! Offer is our way of thanking you for your
business and encouraging you to order right now.
Your FREE Shipping
savings can be huge! We need the extra cash flow
for the expense of Fall Potato Harvest and if you act now you can save hundreds of dollars
with FREE Shipping!
Place your order now for any item in our Catalog or on our
Webstore and get FREE Shipping
regardless of whether you want your order to ship now, later this
Fall, or in the Winter or Spring.
So, yes, this
Special Harvest Help
FREE Shipping! Offer
does apply to our Organic Certified Seed Potatoes and includes seed for
both home gardeners and
Market Farmers. But don’t worry: FREE Shipping
also applies to our Organic
Kitchen Potatoes, Organic
Grain Goods, Organic
Vegetables and Cover
Crop Seed and more!.
In short, get FREE Shipping on
everything we offer!
Please use Promo Code
Harvest Help FREE Shipping! Offer order will
be processed now and order must ship by 5/8/15. Order may not
be combined with other offers or deals. Special Harvest Help
FREE Shipping! Offer is for retail orders only and is
limited to a maximum
$250 shipping credit so you can SAVE BIG if you order NOW!
Please Note: Subzero transit temperatures may delay mid-winter shipping
preferences. Questions? Call (800)829-9765! Special Harvest Help
FREE Shipping! Offer ends Monday September 8, 2014 at
Please call or click today!
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Specialty Potato Section
Act Now! FREE
shipping ends soon!
Our Mailbox: Making
Barrels, New Jersey Fall Potatoes, More Young Farmers.
son told me about the Photogrammar project at Yale that has archived
WPA photos from across the country. The ones from Aroostook County
include some great shots of potato farming in 1940. Thought you'd like
to see these.
for sending the link. We have used some of Jack Delano's WPA (Work
Progress Administration) photographs in our Wood Prairie Farm Seed
Piece newsletter in the past but many of those photos in
your link are
new to us. I particularly like the photo of the new cedar Potato
Barrels with the hand-split ash hoops.
the 1970s I worked winters as a cooper (barrel-maker) at Bridgewater
Barrel Company, the last stave potato barrel manufacturer in Aroostook
Each cooper would make 50 barrels a day and we were paid a piece rate
of $0.80/barrel. I'd get up at 3:30 AM, milk the cow and be into work
by 4:30 AM. If everything went right I'd be done by 2 PM and have an
hour or two of daylight to get work done at home.
When we arrived in the morning, the cooper house would be
freezing and there would be ice on water in the concrete vats into
the hand-shaved ash hoops. By midmorning the combination of one large
wood stove and four wood-fired down-draft barrel stoves (dry heat
"cooked' the curved bend in the staves permanent taking pressure off
hoops) would generate
so much heat that it became like a sauna and the coopers would work
shirtless as though it was haying season despite the below zero
New Jersey Fall
Can I plant potatoes NOW? (In NJ).
Yes. Do consider that a Fall crop most everywhere
is some sort of gamble -
because of unpredictable Fall weather - but it is worth a try . We have
customer in Southern Michigan who has for many years successfully
planted Fall potatoes (straw mulched over the winter)
for-in-her-case-an early Spring harvest. If you have golf ball-sized
tubers left from
your spring crop planted from our Certified Seed, keep them at room
temperature until they start to sprout and then plant them asap. In
this way your crop will only be one generation away form high quality
'disease free' Certified Seed and should do fine.
More Young Farmers.
Thought you'd like this story I just came across
on Yahoo News: New Go-To Career For New
England's Young: Farming.
Thanks for sharing the good article. New England
always been supportive of local farmers. This loyal support is very
because everywhere family farmers are paddling against the tide of
history which seems dedicated to increased concentration and the Earl
Butz mantra of "Get Big or Get Out." We can't stress enough how our
food dollars will to a large extent determine the kind of agriculture
which feed our families into the future. Spending those food dollars
with family farmers is a good investment.
Jim & Megan
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm