October 16, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Weather Holds and Harvest’s End is Near. This
harvest will go down as among the best in terms of weather for the last
fifteen or twenty years. Conditions were stubbornly dry and a
roller coaster of temperatures. We successfully dug a nice crop of organic
seed potatoes without suffering any frost
This week, Aroostook County students
headed back to the classroom with the close of the three-week Potato
Harvest Break. We
recently came across this article - In Maine, A Time to Reap is Running
Out – written some twenty-five years ago.
It offers a nice glimpse into the culture behind our Aroostook County
potato harvest. The piece reminds us that the oft-predicted
demise of the Harvest Break has been making the rounds for many
decades. We’re happy the tradition of Potato Harvest Break
We’re also among the many up here in
Northern Maine who firmly believe that students learn more from their
three weeks in a potato field than from any other three weeks of the
school year. These are priceless life lessons which teach the
value of hard work, the meaning of a dollar and sticking with a
job. We’re glad Aroostook County’s Potato Harvest Break
continues. We know our kids are the better for it.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| How We Harvest
Organic Seed Corn on Wood Prairie Farm.
Last week - after we were done digging
potatoes - we harvested our two varieties of organic seed corn. We made
a short You
Tube video (0:32) of our son, Caleb, running the
corn picker and with a crew harvesting our Organic
Dorinny Sweet Corn seed, our popular,
outstanding short-season open-pollinated (OP) Canadian variety from the
Caleb is driving one of our 63hp Oliver
1650 Diesel tractors. He is pulling a New Idea 323 one-row corn picker.
The machine picks the cob from the stalk and then de-husks that cob on
its way to the elevator and down the trailering gravity wagon. The corn
cobs - with the kernels still intact - then go inside for further
moderate-temperature drying. As you will see, Wood Prairie co-workers
follow behind and glean the occasional ear left by the machine. The final step in this seed process
is removing ("shelling") the dry corn kernels from the cob.
This traditional corn cob harvest
technique is the best way to grow the highest quality seed. Our isolation - on the edge of
Maine's North Woods - allows us to grow bona fide organic seed corn
which is free of detectable genetically engineered (GE) seed
contamination. This isolation has so far protected us from
Monsanto's transgenic (GE) pollution. By its nature, GE corn pollen is
mobile and can travel surprising distances via the wind and result in
contamination. The nearest plots of commercial GE corn are grown by
conventional GE dairy farmers on the Canadian side of the border
six-seven miles away from Wood Prairie Farm and to the east.
As an at-risk crop, and at great
expense and from our own pockets, we laboratory test every lot of our
organic seed corn. In the many years we have been growing corn for seed
- beginning well before Biotech in the mid-1990s invaded rural America
and created the ever-present high risk of unwanted GE trespass and seed
contamination - we have
never once detected GE contamination content in any of our organic seed
Among Mainers, we are particularly
grateful for Maine's expansive and isolating forests.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Vegetable Seed
Video of Caleb Gerritsen Picking
Seed Corn. In the era of GE crop
contamination isolation is essential for seed growing.
Surrounded by Wood Prairie Farm co-workers Frank & Mickelle.
| Eliot Coleman
Knocks Socks Off in Presque Isle.
are not many events which will draw us out of the potato field early on
a September or October day. The last such magnetic
circumstance to exhibit this power was two years ago with Cecily
Pingree’s hosting and premier showing of her award-winning film, about
struggling Maine organic dairy farmers, Betting
the Farm, at the Braden Theater in Presque Isle.
This year, it was renowned organic farmer Eliot Coleman
was responsible for our singular interruptive potato harvest
event. Eliot grows organic crops at Four Seasons Farm on the
coast of Maine, in the town of Harborside, about three-and-a-half-hours
south of Wood Prairie Farm. As many of you will know, this
most famous of organic farmers stands as an original thinker and is the
author of numerous iconic hands-on farming books, including the now
New Organic Grower. In his further
role as a visionary, Eliot was the organizer of last winter’s first
Elders Gathering held in Big Sur, California.
Upon invitation Eliot provided an overflowing
Aroostook County crowd of 140 people with a captivating lecture,
elaborating upon his theme, Nothing is
Impossible. His presentation was part of the
University of Maine Presque Isle’s Distinguished
Lecturer series. Thankfully, Eliot’s
lecture (1:19:15) was recorded professionally
and it is available free for online viewing at your leisure.
The expression, MUST WATCH applies
aptly to this evening with Eliot Coleman. We challenge you to
watch the first five minutes of Eliot’s talk and then NOT turn off the
video. We don’t believe it can be done. Prepare
yourself for a spell-binding hour.
To read an excellent, depthful explanation of
organic farming, see Eliot’s
2011 article, Organic
Agriculture: Deeply Rooted in Science and Ecology.
Jim & Megan
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Maine Certified Organic Seed Potatoes.
|The Proof is In: Organic Food is
Far Far Superior.
has proven conclusively that organic
food is the far superior choice over conventional chemical food.
In the largest study ever conducted - a
meta-analysis based on data from 343
peer-reviewed research papers - organic food comes out on top by a long
What is clear is that the quality of food is a function of
how it is produced
nutritionally dense organic food unquestionably excels. "A switch to
eating organic fruit, vegetables and cereals (and food made from them)
would lead to a 20–40% (and for some compounds up to a 60%) increase in
crop-based antioxidant (poly) phenolic consumption without any increase
in calories...Conventionally grown fruit had by far the highest
frequency of pesticide residues, about seven times higher than in
organic fruit. In
vegetables and crop-based processed foods the frequency of pesticide
residues was three to four times higher than in organic.
All organic crop types were found to have similarly low contamination
Dark corporate forces will not be pleased with
this new documentation of scientific clarity. The organic community should be
prepared for ramped up backlash from Industrial Ag
which - based on past reactionary behavior - can be expected to crank
its propaganda machinery into overdrive by concocting novel ways to
impugn the reputation and integrity of organic
recent venomous attack article by former USDA Secretary John Block
may well be part of the renewed orchestrated hit job on
Block’s embarrassing and irrational diatribe was properly handled by a swift
response from the Organic Trade Association.
Is it any wonder the organic community has a deep-seated skepticism of
receiving fair treatment from USDA?
The simple fact remains: organic farming is good for the
people and good
for the planet.
Castigating organic farming and defying the growing body of scientific
evidence of organic’s superiority will prove to be an embittering
experience for the industrial elites with their insatiable predilection
for selfishness, greed and power.
Importantly, we can and must
daily exercise the power of our wallets with the careful spending of
our food dollars.
Here for Our Certified Organic Specialty Potatoes for Your Kitchen.
Organic Food Best. Organic
is good for the land and good for the people.
| Notable Quotes: Ed
Koch on Political Reality.
Upside Down Cake.
by Angela Wotton
Upside Down Cake
1 c maple
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
2 c whole wheat
1 tsp baking
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 c buttermilk
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake
pan. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high
heat, then simmer over low heat until very thick and reduced to 3/4
cup, about 20 minutes. Pour the thickened syrup into the cake pan.
Arrange the apples in the pan in 2 concentric circles, overlapping them
In a bowl,
whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a glass
measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the
bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the
butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in
the dry and wet ingredients in 3 alternating batches until the batter
is smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl.
Scrape the batter over the apples and spread it in an even layer. Bake
the cake for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs, until golden on top and a toothpick
inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for
Place a plate
on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate; tap lightly to
release the cake. Remove the pan. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut
into wedges and serve alone or with creme fraiche.
| Special Offer: FREE Sack of Organic
French Chantenay Carrots.
We've been carefully awaiting the cold nights of
Fall. The reason is that freezing temperatures cause both our Organic
Frost Sweet Parsnips and Organic
French Chantenay Carrots to "sugar up" -
increasing their sweetness and creating that unbelievably great taste.
Now that we're getting brisk cold nights here in Northern Maine, the
time is right and we're commencing to dig these last two crops left to
harvest on Wood Prairie Farm.
In celebration of our carrot harvest we
have a Special Offer allowing you to earn yourself a FREE
2 lb. Sack of Organic French Chantenay Carrots (Value
$11.95) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $45 or more.
FREE 2 lb. Sack of Organic
French Chantenay Carrots offer ends Midnight Monday,
October 20, 2014.
Please use Promo Code WPF1195. Your
order and the FREE 2 lb. Sack of Organic
French Chantenay Carrots must ship by 4/3/15. This offer
may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!
Call Wood Prairie Farm (800) 829-9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fresh Vegetables Section.
Sourcing Potato Diggers, No GE Potatoes, Hold Onto Your Donut.
Where can I find a potato digger
for harvesting potatoes?
are two ideas for potato diggers:
1. New Potato
I recommend John Deere #30 Two-Row Diggers. Horse power requirements
are about 30 horsepower (hp). Try Swap & Sell publications in
historical potato country or try www.tractorhouse.com.
No GE Potatoes.
Thought you should know before problems
In North America, the most common blue potato is a genetically-altered
vegetable called "Adirondack Blue" which was developed by Cornell
University in 2003. The potato is large and oblong with deep purple
flesh and skin.
Read more: http://www.ehow.com/info_8642685_blue-potatoes.html
This information is NOT correct.
Adirondack Blue is absolutely NOT genetically engineered. Without
exception no potato variety ever developed by Cornell University is GE.
I believe this confusion is the child
of sloppy contrived definitions. This is yet another example of the
designed obfuscation brought upon the public by the Biotech industry.
Biotech likes to refer to their transgenic inventions as "genetically
modified" as though it were a natural part of a long and happy
agricultural tradition which goes back hundreds - if not thousands - of
As my friend has put it, if you put a
strawberry and a flounder in the same room for 10,000 years it will not
"genetically modify" without a gene gun that "modifies" a genome. The Biotech usage is disingenuine
and dishonest. Yes, traditional breeding and selection
obviously do have the effect of "modifying" genes. However, breeders
never applied the term "genetic modification" prior to their work. The
concocted usage of the phrase "genetically modified" has been a crass
concoction of Biotech with the express purpose of increasing confusion
among the public.
Hold Onto Your Donut.
Your Grass-Fed Beef Goodbye! GMO Grass About to Be Approved.
So will they be labeling GMO Grass Fed then?
You can bet your last donut they won't be bragging
up GE grass. Let this example serve as another lesson why when spending
our food dollars we must do our homework and get beyond superficial
In our family, we have four criteria we
apply to food purchases: Certified Organic, Family Scale, Local and
Transparent. Reviewing a potential food purchase against these four
principles will protect your family from the fakers.
Should farmers adopt this risky GE
Grass technology it would illustrate yet again they are not thinking
very far forward. Farmers have already served as enablers in their
participation in the transfer of public seed ownership over to
aggressive corporate bullies who display unbridled greed and have a
penchant for unconscionably aggressive behavior and jacking up seed
prices to now-captive farmers either through abusive patent control
and/or radical unfair contract law.
GE Crops are ALL about ownership and monopoly control.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm