WOOD PRAIRIE POTATO HARVEST GOING WELL. Excellent digging conditions! This week we have shifted over from harvesting Fingerling Potatoes by hand, to using our Finnish “Super Midi” one-row Potato Harvester.
Here, the crew is working on the Juko (pronounced “Yuko”) right next door to a perimeter planting of Beneficial Flowers, this week dominated with Cosmos climaxing in riotous full-bloom (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/flower-seed-organic-seashells-cosmos/).
Those are “Dark Red Norland” Potatoes you can see coming up the “Primary Bed” of the Juko (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/organic-certified-dark-red-norland-seed-potatoes/).
Working on the Juko’s perpendicular “Secondary Bed” (L>R) are Justin, Rob and Kenyon. Out-of-sight working on the ground-level trailer grabbing tubers which dropped through the cracks is Cassidy. Caleb is back in the shop repairing equipment. Jim is driving the Oliver 1750 Diesel pulling the Juko and he snapped this shot. Megan is in the office keeping up with shipping orders and answering the phone. Amy is back at college studying and probably wishing she could be digging Potatoes!
In the distance on the right is our Oliver 1850 Diesel outfitted with a pair of forklift-forks mounted on the 3-point-hitch. That tractor is used to switch hardwood pallet boxes in the field when the box on the Juko gets full. Each pallet box holds a ton of Potatoes. Caleb, Megan & Jim
LABOR DAY POTATO HARVEST ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. The heavy rain that today has been quenching droughthy coastal Maine and eastern Massachusetts has just delivered some clouds here in Northern Maine and zero precipitation.
Earlier today we finished picking the last of our Organic Certified Seed Potato Fingerings, the variety Russian Banana (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/organic-certified-russian-banana-seed-potatoes/). ‘Banana’ is a Century Heirloom with diminutive tubers. We have been growing this popular variety as Organic Certified Seed for over 30 years.
Here, in a shot looking west and taken from beside the Oliver tractor which is pulling our old-timer 1950s John Deere 30 Potato Digger is our crew “hand picking” potatoes.
Caleb’s brother-in-law Rob is on the green wagon pouring full buckets of Russian Banana into awaiting hardwood pallet boxes. With today being a school holiday, two of Rob’s sons, RJay (in shorts) and Micah are helping us pick. At right, Justin is kneeling. To his left, Kenyon is stooping.
In the gaggle up front, Caleb (straw hat) and beside him, his sister, Amy (both kneeling) and Cassidy (bending over).
There are two thickets of annual Beneficial Flowers: one to the left of the wagon and another to the right of the ‘pickers.’ Now, late season, Bright Organic Sunflowers and colorful Organic Cosmos (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/flower-seed-organic-seashells-cosmos/) dominate the scene and are loaded up with buzzing Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and other less well-known but appreciated Beneficial Insects.
Next, it’s onto digging the rest of our non-Fingerling crop with our Finnish ‘Juko’ (pronounced “Yuko) Potato Harvester. Caleb, Megan & Jim
WOOD PRAIRIE CAMPFIRE BY THE POND. Taken moments ago after our picnic supper. Tomorrow it’s back to work digging Potatoes. Happy Labor Day! Caleb, Megan & Jim
BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. Yesterday, we began Potato Harvest by picking Fingerling Potatoes – by hand – after the rows had been dug up by a tractor-pulled John Deere 30 Potato Digger.
The youngest members of the crew were two boys who were attracted to one another. Seven-year-old Nolan (dark long-sleeved shirt) is son of long-time employee Kenyon and his wife, schoolteacher Jess. Beside Nolan in the red shirt is 15-month-old Jack, son of our new re-bound co-worker Justin (at left in the gaggle of hand pickers in white t-shirt) and nearby his wife. Chelsea (navy blue t-shirt).
Chelsea worked for us for over 10 years before and after high school. Then she met Justin when he began working here. After awhile they got married and about six years ago they moved to Southern Maine, buying a house in a rural spot not too far from Freeport. After having had enough of life Down South, they sold their house and have now moved back to quiet Aroostook County.
Also visible in the photo are Caleb (straw hat) and behind him his sister, Amy, (sitting up straight in light blue t-shirt) who came home from college to help us pick Fingerlings over this Labor Day weekend. Caleb, Megan & Jim
NEW MAINE TALES! ‘What’s the Matter with Nebraska? Circa 1911.’ About forty years ago we got into a tussle over Covered Bridges. Our friend had moved to Aroostook County to raise sheep. He was from Nebraska and after farming in the town next door to us he eventually went back to western Nebraska to run a large 2500-ewe sheep ranch… READ MORE
LATE SEASON IS HERE IN AROOSTOOK COUNTY! At the end of August we have our sure signs. Breathtaking Cosmos Flowers are now in bloom. And so are Sunflowers – including the one hiding behind this jungle of Cosmos.
These two Flowers are a sign of the times and late-blooming members of our Beneficial Insect Flower Beds that we planted last Spring in and around our fields of Organic Seed Potatoes. https://www.woodprairie.com/category/the-organic-garden/certified-organic-maine-certified-seed-potatoes/ These Flowers nourish and give refuge to the Beneficial Insects who help to keep in check troublesome insect pests of Potatoes.
And there are further signs. Some of the trees are starting to turn color. Local Seed Potato farmers are killing their seed crops and getting ready to begin Potato Harvest.
We arrest the growth of our Organic Certified Seed Potatoes while tubers are still in their juvenile-stage. This practice of ‘early killing’ provides maximum vigor in the tubers. And that translates into the highest yields in the next generation – that would be the Organic Certified Seed tubers we’ll be shipping to you next Spring if you buy from us.
As organic farmers we kill our Potato plants (‘Tops’) with propane flame. Our conventional neighbors spray broad-spectrum ‘Diquat’ Herbicide, which in recent years has been rebranded as ‘Reglone’ which sounds less like close-cousin ‘Paraquat.’ Out West, custom applicators apply Sulfuric Acid to kill down the big fields of conventional Potatoes for scheduling harvest. Caleb, Megan & Jim
Here’s Saturday night’s view from the top of Haystack Mountain once the sun went down! We are getting to the end of milky way season as far as photographing the core before it sets below the horizon until early spring. This photo is two images combined without moving the tripod. I took a 30 exposure for the sky, then a 90 second exposure for the foreground. While the 90 second exposure was running a car drove down Rt 163 and that’s the light trail you see on the right side of the image. The light on the horizon is light pollution towards Masardis. Such a beautiful night to hike the Mountain! I hope you all enjoy! Have a great night everybody!
#maine #mainething #photography #bestofthe_pinetreestate2 #milkyway
ANATOMY OF A ‘FARMER VACATION.’ After already putting in an eight-hour-day, Megan and Jim took off mid-afternoon Saturday for what farmers call a ‘Farmer Vacation.’ We drove to the eastern side of New Brunswick – almost to Nova Scotia – to camp overnight and enjoy the nice, sandy beach at ‘Parlee Beach Provincial Park.’ which is in Shediac, just past Moncton.
After breaking camp and then spending five hours this morning on the beautiful sandy beach we headed back home. While we’re not talking Florida, the Gulf Stream warms up the water over there way better than the water in the frigid Gulf of Maine. It is swim-able.
Four-hundred-fifty-miles and twenty-five hours later we made it back home. The improved Trans-Canada Highway of recent years has made this a fast 110 km/hr (66 mph) trip: 3.5 hours each way including crossing at the ‘Border.’
Heads up! Shediac is francophone Acadian country and they don’t know what to do with American dollars. And by the way, Unleaded Gas in New Brunswick costs the equivalent of US$5.50/gal.
Back about 25-30 years ago, we made trips for several years with our old farm truck to just past Shediac to Cap Pele’ to pick up heavy loads of dried Fish Meal fertilizer for our Organic Potatoes. This material was made from fisheries waste, dried down and then ground up fine.
The roads were a lot more sketchy back then and it amazes us we didn’t break down. That was back in the old days before we figured out that we’re in the Farming business and not in the Trucking business. Megan & Jim
NEW ISSUE OF ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ IS NOW POSTED ONLINE! A brand NEW ‘Maine Tales’ – “What’s the Matter with Nebraska?” courageously confronting the controversy over Covered Bridges. Plus a scrumptious Recipe for ‘Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup’ and an Organic ‘Red Russian’ Garlic Seed Limited Time Special Offer! Plus Pre-Potato Harvest Farm Photos! & much More!
Find the new ‘Seed Piece’ here: https://www.woodprairie.com/newsletters/082622.html
Caleb, Megan & Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
VIEW OF THE MILKY WAY FROM MAINE’S ALLAGASH RIVER. Photo taken last week and shared by Dave Conley of canoethewild.com. Megan, Caleb & Jim
Another Milkyway shot from an Allagash River campsite last week.