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In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

This edition of the Seed Piece may be found in our Wood Prairie Seed Piece Archives.

 Winter's Fury.

Caleb Clearing Snow from High Tunnel.

       With a near record warm January across northern Maine, all of our recent storms have brought us heavy, wet snow.  News reports indicate that recently in central and southern Maine at least one barn and two inflatable stadiums have collapsed thanks to the heavy weight of snow accumulation.

     In the photo above, Caleb carefully finesses our old-timer monster diesel Michigan Payloader near enough to our ‘High Tunnel’ greenhouse to remove drifts of snow which will allow the remaining snow to slide off from the taut double-poly roof.  But not so close as to risk grabbing and mangling a metal support bow.  The rich, loamy garden soil beneath Caleb’s machine is only frozen down to an inch or two thanks to the effective insulating blanket of snow which had been covering it.

     In this issue of the Seed Piece we share with you in our Farm Photos section some wonderful stories about the creative and entrepaneurial talents of some Wood Prairie co-workers.  Plus, find great deals on Organic Sweet Potato Slips and sage wisdom in a Notable Quote from Chief Seattle.

     Also, scroll down to How-To Garden Resources and discover great gardening advice in an excellent Beginner’s Garden – Journey with Jill video in which Jill McSheehy offers a primer on growing great Organic Potatoes.

     We’ve been farming organically for 47 years.  For the last 35 years we’ve run our Farm-Direct Mail Order business.  From the very start, EVERYTHING we grow and EVERYTHING we sell has ALWAYS been Certified Organic. We are your Organic Experts! Organic Seed Potatoes, Organic Sweet Potato Slips, Organic Vegetable Seed, Organic Herb Seed, Organic Flower Seed, Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Fertilizer, Tools and Supplies and Organic Kitchen Potatoes.

We appreciate your business and your support of our Organic family farm!
Please, Stay Safe & Stay Warm!


Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine





Maine Tales.   Winter Hot Spot.   Bridgewater, Maine. Circa 1910.

Milliken’s General Store, Bridgewater, Maine.  This classic photo was taken in 1954 by renouned photographer Berenice Abbott, towards the end of her trip motoring along all of U.S. Route 1 from Florida to Maine. She stopped to document with her camera small town America. Though long ago closed as a General Store, the building known as the Milliken Store exists to this day on Main Street (U.S. Route 1) in our quiet potato farming town of Bridgewater (Pop. 532) here in Northern Maine. Wood Prairie Family Farm is located to the west, four miles from the Milliken Store, on the edge of the North Maine Woods.

     If you somehow imagined that no one would ever aspire to plan and spend their leisure time in our in our quiet little Maine farming town during Winter, you’d be wrong.

No Rattlesnakes

     Not that we’re anything like Florida. Being as how northern Maine has a lot more trees and a lot less people than they do down in the Alligator State. Plus, we don’t have Rattlesnakes.

     Customary in all farm country, it is a given that a lot of time here in northern Maine is spent thinking and talking about the past. That past might not have been too awful astounding. But after all, we did get through it, and who knows what the future may bring? Truth be told, we have very little hard experience to go by about the future. As an unknown, the future can be a might bit scary to just about anyone, most especially a Mainer. Mainers know the past well and we endlessly continue making our peace with it.

Connoisseurs of Bygone Eras

     Farmers’ particular fixation on the past is well-known and has made our people the butt of the occasional joke. “How many farmers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three. One to do the the work, and two to talk over about how good the old light bulb was.” It’s not that we’re chained to the past. No, we’re just happy being connoisseurs of bygone eras.

     Now one observation about the past is that it has an unwavering tendency to get better with age. The pains of hardship and humiliation just seem to melt away with the passage of time. The collective mind dulls and glosses over events that some participants would just as soon have everybody forget. Like that time one wet Fall when during Digging, that young feller just barely missed the McKinnon Farm bridge and drove that truck full of potatoes clear into Whitney Brook. On account of ratcheted-up community excitement during harvest, that mishap could have happened to anybody. But most especially, if that anybody was young and inexperienced and in too big a hurry.

Recalling the Past

     Sometimes, the past is chockfull of goodness through and through. One of the popular features in the local weekly paper, the Houlton Pioneer Times (“The Only Newspaper in the World Interested in Houlton, Maine”) is “From Our Files – News From 100 Years Ago.” Here, stories are lifted verbatim from an issue exactly one century prior, and accurately brought to the attention of us modern-day readers. News which is raw, cutting and untainted by any rewriters of history.

     Bridgewater (Pop. 532) today no longer has a railroad station, no more a jewelry store, general store or gas station. No hotel, like “The Central House” of yesteryear, aptly named because by fate of history it was the halfway point on the primitive and rough ‘State Road’ (now US Route 1) between Houlton twenty-one miles to the south, and Presque Isle twenty-one miles to the north.

     But one little nugget reprinted a few years back originated from the HPT issue of January 7, 1910. Succinctly hinting that Bridgewater was the rare pearl possessing the allure, fun and excitement evoked by utterance of the word ‘vacation.’ Offering prima facie evidence that despite occurring during the depths of a snowy, subzero Maine Winter, our humble little frontier potato town was once considered a Winter destination hot spot for light-hearted frivolity by at least one young adoring Houlton school marm.
  “Miss Adelle Burpee, teacher at the grammar school returned from a week of vacation in Bridgewater.”
     Bridgewater may well have a future, but for now forgive us if we just keep on being pleased with savoring our past.

Caleb, Jim & Megan


Megan's Kitchen Recipes:
Chocolate Cake with Beets.

Servings: Makes a 9-inch cake

    * 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
    * 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    * 2  large eggs
    * 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , melted and cooled
    * 1/2 cup beet puree, about 4 medium Red Bliss Beets (roasted or boiled and pureed in food processor)
    * 1/2 cup buttermilk
    * 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    * 2 cups all-purpose Whole Wheat Flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
    * 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
    * 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    * 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    * 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar with the oil until creamy. Add the eggs and beat well. Beat in the melted chocolate, beet puree, buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and beat until smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool 5 minutes in pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese with the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until smooth. Slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the frosting over the top and between layers of the cooled cake.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.



How-To Gardening Resources.


Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Wood Prairie Family Farm Wins Top Feefo ‘Platinum Award for Third-Year-in-a-Row! Thanks to twelve month's worth of your kind and generous Reviews - submitted by many hundreds of Wood Prairie customers – you have propelled our family farm to once again receive the industry's highest accolade, the Feefo 2023 Platinum Trusted Service Award. Based in the United Kingdom, Feefo is one of the world’s largest and most-highly-respected independent Review platforms. Feefo requires that a Review only be submitted by a living-and-breathing-customer who actually has made a verified purchase. The forthright Feefo platform operates in stark contrast to the web’s wild-west-epidemic of fraudulent Reviews often disconnected from purchase transactions. Fake Reviews have become a big-business-scam and are churned out by bogus bots and 'Click Farms.' When we began our farm-based then mail order organic seed business 35 years ago, we were determined to treat our customers honestly and fairly, the same way we ourselves expect to be treated when we buy from others. In this modern age of cynicism, we’re happy to report that after decades of doing good business, honesty remains the best policy. Grateful for your support and thanks to you for everything!

Breaking News! Walking With Werewolves Published This Week! Chelsea Green McGinley is one of our longest-serving Wood Prairie co-workers. And she is the first among our Wood Prairie family to ever get a book published. Chelsea began working for us years ago as a teenager. Her mother, Mary, was Megan’s right-hand-woman for years. Over the years, Chelsea reeled in seven of her siblings and cousins to also work for us. She met her husband, Justin, when they were both working on our farm the first time around, before marrying and moving south. After a stint of living and working in Southern Maine – seven miles from LL Bean in Freeport - and with a new baby, Jack, in tow, last year they moved back to her family’s small farm in neighboring Monticello and once again began working with us. Walking With Werewolves is Chelsea’s debut book and is in the Young Adult Fantasy genre. Buy a copy from our Wood Prairie webstore and we’ll ask Chelsea to sign your copy! In this photo, following in her mother’s footsteps, Chelsea helps Megan organize Organic Seed Potato orders in the office. Rounding out the office crew is Chelsea and Justin’s twenty-month old son, happy camper Jack.

About the Book: Walking With Werewolves

Eighteen-year-old Amane has just two things to focus on, her senior finals and keeping her best friend, Elias, from finding out she’s in love with him. That is until her family’s secrets come pouring out after one horrifying night. The two set out on a journey to find their place in the world, discovering more about themselves than they ever thought possible. Will they make it out together or will their differences tear them apart?

Old Bear's Bottom Website Now Up & Running! Frank Allen, another longtime Wood Prairie co-worker, and his wife, Sari, are gifted with an entrepreneurial ability. The Allen clan have been stalwart Aroostook County residents - and some potato farmers mixed in as well - for 160 years. Even before Covid, Frank best friend in high school of Caleb’s older brother, Peter, worked remote from home. Frank is our tech expert and keeps the Wood Prairie website and networks humming. After patiently waiting for her emigration papers to come through, Frank’s wife, Sari, was finally allowed to move from Finland to the USA in 2021. Sari was raised on a Reindeer Farm in far northern Finland. Frank & Sari bought a home in the snowy forest an hour north of our farm. They settled in the Town of Stockholm, one of five Townships which make up Maine’s Swedish Colony and was settled by Swedes beginning in the 1870s. With Frank’s help, Sari’s new website, Old Bear’s Bottom, has just gone live and is now open for business. Pictured above are some of Sari’s creations and she has them for sale on her website. You can also follow Sari on Facebook and Instagram.

In Sari’s own words:

You have heard about Maine, right? How about the tiny town called Stockholm in Northern Maine? Well, here I’m living now, the only Finn in town. I was born and raised in Northern Finland, one of the Northern most countries. That thing called love brought me here, thanks to my husband. Since I changed climates, I no longer need to hibernate, so I might as well do handcrafts and art, because that is what I love to do. I’m self-learned, to do warm socks, mittens, hats, knives, traditional items and so on. So, it took years to get patterns nice and good. Proud to say, my stuff is handmade with love in the USA. I’m also selling secondhand items and collectables to keep it interesting. Read between the lines, I’m The Old Bear and my name is Sari. And Old Bear’s Bottom, in Stockholm, Northern Maine, is my home. Thank you for reading, I wish you will find something nice from this tiny shop.

Wood Prairie Dogs Enjoying Aftermath of Latest Snowstorm. In recent weeks, multiple storms have been making up for lost ground and have been hitting Maine in rapid succession. The previous storm was heavy, dense snow topped with 2+ inches of freezing rain pellets. That was hard plowing and took Caleb most of twelve hours to finish the farm’s big snowplowing job. During this most recent snowstorm we told the crew to stay home and stay safe. Shipping Organic Seed Potatoes could wait for another day. As was forecast, the storm ended abruptly, and humans and dogs were only too happy to venture outside again, even as a stiff north wind blew strong and cold. Here, all three dogs are having fun chewing on packed-snow-clods left behind by Caleb’s snowplowing. From left to right, Caleb and Lizzi’s gentle hulk 20-month-old Rottweiller, ‘Ralph,’ weighing in at 150 pounds; Amy’s energetic Australian Shepherd, ‘Oakley’; and Sarah & Megan’s middle-aged Great Pyrenees, “Halle.” In the background, our snow-encased 132-foot long ‘High Tunnel’ before Caleb took at its snow with the monstrous Michigan Payloader. Just three more months of Winter, then the snowpack melts and we’ll be farming again!


Notable Quotes: Seattle on Purpose.


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Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 / 207 (429) - 9682
Certified Organic From Farm to Mailbox