Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter
FOR FREE and a New Year
SPECIAL OFFER - Three FREE
packets of Wood Prairie Farm Organic
Garden Seed ($9 value) - your choice of varieties - when you place an
order of $35 or more by Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006. Choose from among
Flashy Trout Back Lettuce, Latah Tomato, Delicata Zeppelin Squash and
much more. Please refer to Code XXXXX.
* * * * *
In northern Maine, January is a month to begin a seasonal hibernation,
getting outside to do chores before the darkness of mid-afternoon, get
caught up reading the many catalogs piled up, perusing seed magazines
and baking and cooking those winter dishes that satisfy and warm. We've
included a potato recipe this month to fill those requirements in our
'Megan's Kitchen' section. We hope you'll include this newsletter in
your catch-up reading as we have a wonderful interview with Melissa
Nelson, Executive Director of The Cultural Conservancy, a non-profit
organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of
indigenous cultures and their ancestral lands and, as always, eclectic
agricultural news from near and far in the 'Potato Bin' section.
The photo to the right is Sarah and Amy's way of "winter camping". Stay
warm and eat lots of taters. - Jim and Megan
CLICK HERE TO GO TO WOOD PRAIRIE FARM'S HOME PAGE
A Rose Finn Apple A Day...
Rose Finn Apple is an heirloom European fingerling thought to be over
100 years old. It is also known as Rosy Fir. It's somewhat moist,
yellow flesh and outstanding flavor make it perfect roasted alone or
with other root vegetables. This rare and extraordinary variety is
included in January's Potato Sampler of the Month.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WOOD PRAIRIE FARM'S SEED POTATOES, CLICK HERE
Q&A - Potato Growing in Hot Weather
Q: Can you recommend a good potato variety that likes hot weather? -
CV, Rancho Mirage, CA
A: Potatoes are a cool season crop that don't do well with steady
temperatures above 90-95 degrees F. Northern states like Maine have no
problem growing potatoes right through the summer. But in your hot
climate potatoes need to be grown in the cooler off-season.
To play it safe I'd select varieties from our list of short and
mid-season varieties and plant early (February) so that the potatoes
complete their growth cycle by the on-set of hot weather. Among the
varieties I'd recommend are Caribe, Reddale and Onaway, early, high
yielding and great as new potatoes. - Jim
FOR MORE SEED RELATED QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE
Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D. (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) is a writer,
educator, researcher, and indigenous rights activist. For the past
twelve years she has served as the executive director of The Cultural
Conservancy (TCC), a twenty-year old native non-profit organization
based in San Francisco (www.nativeland.org). Since 2002, Melissa has
been an assistant professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco
State University in San Francisco, California (www.sfsu.edu/~ais).
Melissa received her Ph.D. in cultural ecology with a designated
emphasis in Native American Studies from the University of California,
Wood Prairie Farm: How did the Storyscape Project begin?
Melissa Neslon: Through our effort to help protect Ward Valley, a
sacred area to the Colorado River Indian Tribes of Southern California.
In the process of supporting this coalition of tribes and
environmentalists, we supported the recovery of the Mojave Creation
Songs which sing about Ward Valley. Through the restoration of 30-year
old audio recordings of the Mojave Creation Songs, we started the
Storyscape Project in 1998.
WPF: How many different languages and tribes’ oral histories
documented through The Cultural Conservancy?
MN: Through our original audio recordings we have worked with and
protected the languages and songs of the Mojave, Southern Paiute,
Dakota, and Western Shoshone nations. Through our Indigenous Languages
Restoration and Repatriation Project we have restored and repatriated
over 500 historic audio recordings to over 35 tribes speaking fifteen
distinct indigenous languages.
WPF: Define ethnoecology. How does this term tie in with programs at
MN: Ethnoecology is the study of the natural world through specific
cultural lenses. It represents distinct ethnic worldviews that define
how humans relate to and interact with the native ecology of specific
places. Put another way, ethnoecology works to protect and restore both
biological diversity and cultural diversity and understands that these
two efforts are intimately related. The Cultural Conservancy's mission
and guiding principles specifically state the importance of indigenous
place-based cultural and ecological knowledge and understands that
ethnoecology is important and necessary for protecting the world's
bio-cultural diversity. The Cultural Conservancy also acknowledges that
this effort must be done at the invitation and direction of indigenous
communities themselves and that the protection of biocultural diversity
is integrated with efforts to protect native land rights and
intellectual and cultural property rights.
WPF: Have you seen a resurgence among youth of indigenous cultures in
preserving their oral literatures, songs and languages? How do you view
the effect of these oral traditions within the tribal community?
MN: Yes, Indigenous youth in the US, around the Americas, the Pacific,
and the world are increasingly interested in their cultural traditions.
The use of modern technology, particularly audio and video recording,
has ignited a new resurgence and interest by youth in recording the
rich oral literatures, languages, stories, and songs of indigenous
cultures. Youth are creating radio programs, magazines, web sites, CDs,
DVDs, and other modern media projects that preserve the oral traditions
of their native communities. Living native languages and oral
traditions are directly related to cultural identity, health, and
community well-being. Revitalizing oral traditions has a positive and
lasting impact on the overall health and cultural wellness of
WPF: The Cultural Conservancy not only records and archives tribal
history but goes a step further in repatriating the recordings back to
the tribes of which they are a part. What are some ways the elders have
used these recordings to their advantage and what steps are in place to
have the recordings continue?
MN: Elders, language teachers, tribal leaders, and other cultural
bearers are using our repatriated audio recordings for teaching youth
language, song, stories, ceremonies, and environmental knowledge and
practices. The audio recordings contain a wide range of information,
from word lists and grammar lessons, to oral histories and
environmental knowledge, to issues of governance and religious
practices. Different communities are using the recordings in different
ways and every one of them states that they are invaluable resources
for their tribe's cultural continuance and strength.
WPF: How do the oral histories tie in with sustainable land management
of tribal lands?
MN: Contained within native oral histories are stories and lessons of
how to manage the land. Living elders who share oral histories are
often sharing what many today call Traditional Environmental Knowledge.
Within their histories are place-based stories and descriptions of
management practices; from how to harvest and process acorns, hunt
deer, net salmon, to the best season for collecting clay for pottery or
ceremony and how to harvest a tree for a canoe or sacred object.
Integrated into these stories of land management are environmental
ethics and values for how to conserve and sustain the resource over
time so that future generations will continue to celebrate their
intimate relationship to place.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CULTURAL CONSERVANCY AND THE STORYSCAPE
PROJECT CLICK HERE
Chicken Thighs Roasted with Rosemary, Red Onions & Fingerling
Great roasted chicken and potatoes should be beautifully browned and
crisp outside yet moist and tender inside.
2 navel oranges
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 tsp dried chile flakes
8-10 Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings
2 medium yellow onions, sliced into 1/2 inch thick circles
2 5 inch sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 3/4 tsp minced
8 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin
Heat oven to 425 F. Finely grate 1 tsp orange zest. Stir together the
zest, oil, 1 tsp salt and the chile flakes in a small bowl. On one end
of a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 T of the oil mixture with the
potatoes, onions and 1 sprig rosemary; separate the onions into rings
and spread the onions and potatoes into a single layer as much as
possible. At other end of baking sheet, arrange the chicken skin side
up and brush the tops of the chicken thighs with the remaining oil
mixture. Tuck the remaining rosemary sprig between a couple of thighs
and sprinkle thighs and vegetables lightly with salt.
Roast for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken and stir the potatoes and
onions. Continue to roast, basting and stirring every 10 minutes, until
the chicken skin looks crisp and golden and the potatoes are lightly
browned in spots, about 30 minutes more.
Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, making sure you've removed the
pith and membrane. Slice crosswise into roughly 1/2 inch circles and
then chop into roughly 1/2 inch pieces, discarding any thick center
membranes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1/4 tsp of the minced
When the chicken is done, remove the rosemary sprigs from the pan and
discard. Stir the potatoes and onions, transfer with a slotted spoon to
a serving bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/2 tsp minced rosemary.
Baste the chicken and transfer to a serving platter, top with the
orange mixture and serve hot.
Source: Fine Cooking, March 2006
FOR MORE RECIPES, CLICK HERE
*SUCCESSFUL GATHERING OF SEEDY CHARACTERS
The Organic Seed Alliance's 4th Biennial Organic Seed Growers
Conference was held earlier this month at the McMenamins in Troutsdale,
Oregon. The site was the former Edgefield County Poor Farm which has
been remarkably retrofitted and refurbished into a unique and artful
conference center and microbrewery 15 minutes from Portland. Ballooning
attendance of more than 170 participants - double the number at the
last Conference held two years ago in Corvallis, challenged the
capacity of the facilities. Organic seed companies from the US, Canada,
and Europe mingled with organic seed growers, seed breeders and
research personnel for 2 days of symposiums, roundtables, and seed
equipment demonstrations. The Conference was preceded by a one day Seed
Biology course taught by Dr. Hiro Nonogaki of Oregon State University
and Joel Reiten of Holland's Bejo Seeds. To learn more about the
Organic Seed Alliance go to www.seedalliance.org.
* * * * *
*5TH ANNUAL SOIL QUALITY CONFERENCE
Once again we ask, "Who doesn't want to come to snowy Bangor, Maine in
February?" You will if you are interested in attending this year's Soil
Quality Conference Feb. 22 & 23. Featured speakers will be Tim
Livingstone, a certified Soil Foodweb Advisor and Mark Fulford,
well-respected organic farmer and independent soil consultant for farms
in New England and the Maritimes. For registration information, email
Heart of Maine Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) at
email@example.com or phone at 207-368-4433.
* * * * *
*BE A CO-PRODUCER WITH A LOUISIANA FARMER
The Slow Food's metaphorical Ark of Taste has recently "boarded"
several foods from one of our country's greatest culinary capitals, New
Orleans. These "Emergency Boardings" on New Orleans French bread,
Louisiana oyster, Wild Caught Gulf Coast shrimp and the recently
boarded Louisiana Satsuma are available on the Ark of Taste and are
just a few of the New Orleans foods in severe danger of becoming
extinct because of Hurricane Katrina and Rita's devastating effects.
For more information on these special Lousiana foods and to find out
how to order, visit the Slow Food USA homepage at
* * * * *
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has approved at least 124 air field tests
for Genetically Engineered (GE) trees. Partnerships between
biotechnology companies and the forest industry are being formed that
indicate a determination to increase the scale of transgenic tree use.
As with other GE crops, trees are being engineered to tolerate
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, for fast, uniform growth and for growth
in unfavorable soils. The effect on forest ecosystems is unclear but
worries include cross pollination with native trees, creation of
super-pests, and GE seed scattering, among others. There are many
groups working against the threat of GE trees and include the Stop GE
Trees Campaign, the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, the Global
Justice Ecology Project and GE Free Maine. Interestingly, the national
photocopy chain, Kinkos, has also pledged not to do business with
suppliers who use GE trees. Source - The Maine Organic Farmer &
Gardener Dec. '05 - Feb. '06
* * * * *
*USDA AND THE AURORA FACTORY DAIRY
Corporate entry into the organic industry is occurring at a rapid pace.
The "Aurora Organic Dairy", located in Colorado, has a herd of nearly
6,000 cows. The dairy packages milk under large chains' private labels.
Questions have been raised whether Aurora is providing sufficient
access to pasture as required by National Organic Program (NOP)
standards. Also, criticism is being levied that replacement "organic"
heifers are being secured from non-inspected, non-credentialed
operations. To read more information on this go to
* * * * *
*2/3 OF AMERICANS HAVE TRIED ORGANIC FOODS
A recent survey by the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic
Program has found that nearly 65% of Americans have tried organic foods
and beverages, up from 54% in both 2003 and 2004.
* * * * *
*WHAT MOTIVATES ORGANIC BUYERS
Here are reasons most cited by Americans as to why they buy organic
*Avoidance of pesticides (70.3%)
*Health and Nutrition (67.1%)
*Avoid genetically modified (GMO) food (55%)
*Better for my health (52.8%)
*Better for the environment (52.4%)
Source: Whole Foods Market Organic Trend Tracker
* * * * *
*PARTING WORDS: MAINE SPEAK
Our 'Maine Speak' section is to help unlock the quirks of the Maine
vernacular to those from away.
This month's phrase: "meet myself comin' back"
Definition: To act slow on a decision or plan
Howard: "If I don't get going to town now I'll meet myself comin' back!"
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(c) Jim and Megan Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Farm, 49 Kinney Road,
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
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