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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.

 Best Time!

Wood Prairie Farmers Dive Into Shipping Season.

       While we have been shipping our specialty Organic Seed Potatoes ever since we dug the first spuds back in September, this is the month when the pace really picks up. That fine crop from last Summer has been kept safe and sound in our on-farm underground Potato storage. And we’ll continue shipping continuously, every week until July.

     The colorful map above details the Shipping Schedule we’ve refined over the past 35 years. It shows the weeks we normally schedule to ship Organic Seed Potatoes to many thousands of customers like you who farm and garden in each of the 50 States we serve.

     In this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece we share with you Farm Photos and stories about Winter in Maine. As well, we introduce you to three outstanding NEW! Organic Herb Seed varieties we are now offering. Plus, we’ve included a patterns-of-history Notable Quote by Winston Churchill.

     Also, scroll down to How-To Garden Resources and find a link for a FREE handbook you won’t want to miss, from our friends at the Potato Association of America (PAA), Commercial Potato Production in North America.

     As you may know by now, we’ve been farming organically for just shy of 50 years. Right from the very start, ever since we began our mail order and web Organic Seed business 35 years ago, EVERYTHING we grow and EVERYTHING we sell has ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS been Certified Organic. We are your Organic Experts and we’re here to help you! Organic Seed Potatoes, Organic Sweet Potato Slips, Organic Vegetable Seed, Organic Herb Seed, Organic Flower Seed, Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Fertilizer, and Tools and Supplies.

     We’re grateful for your support of our Maine Organic family farm. Stay Safe & Stay Warm!


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



NEW! Organic Staro Chives. 80 Days.
Early and delicate Onion-flavored Herb!
NEW! Organic Rosie. 65 Days.
Gorgeous, aromatic with wonderful
complex flavor!
NEW! Organic Greek. 90 Days.
Indispensable culinary mainstay in Pizza and Pasta. Use fresh or dry!



Maine Tales. Careening to Extremes. Caribou, Maine. Circa 1994.

Spectrum of Maine Snowstorms.  Some snowfalls in Northern Maine come without a lick of wind and the snow adheres to tree branches in an unbelievable and beautiful manner.  Other storms deliver their snow horizontally, collecting into huge drifts.  Causing one to wonder how in the world the fellers at the Weather Office in Caribou can keep a straight face when reporting authoritative snowfall values.  This resting tractor from our fleet of Olivers has greeted Aroostook County snow for sixty Winters.

     No sir! Sure-as-shootin' it CAN snow at minus eighteen.

Spoiled Hay

     The old-timers were keen observers and prognosticators of the weather.  They had to be.  Sea-faring mariners took their lives into their own hands when they left safe harbors and set out to fish ocean waters.  Before the days of satellites, internet, television, radios and telephones, for those who lived and worked on the land or sea,  the need to understand the weather was critical and much more than pleasant chit chat for amiable conversation. 

     In 1900, 40% of the people in the United States lived on farms, and 60% lived in rural areas.  Nowadays, we’re down to 1% of Amercians living on farms and about 20% who reside in rural America.  To those who work outside in the elements, getting a handle on the weather often separates success from failure, and sometimes life from death.

     An unexpected rain would spoil hay, a surprise frosty Fall night could ruin a Tomato crop and early snow might even prevent a Potato, Corn or Soybean field from getting harvested.  And so, drawing upon a vast wealth of experience –  their own and those who came before – and as keen observers and skilled distillers of patterns, the old-timers coined phrases which tersely summed up the weather at hand.  “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”  “As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens.”  “It’s too cold to snow.”

Record Book Cold

           With relentless cold from beginning to end, January 1994 was destined to become a monumental month for the record books.  That month’s lowest temperature dipped to -32ºF on January 26, tying the sixth lowest temperature on record.  But the truly big story was that days and nights remained cold during the entire month without relief.   For the first time ever, since weather records began to be collected in Caribou in 1939, the average temperature for the entire month fell below zero, to -0.7ºF.  To this day that prize for the coldest month ever remains intact.

      We remember that January well, because for four consecutive weeks we were shut down and unable to ship our perishable, freezable Organic Seed Potatoes.  Prior experience had taught us that our packages would either freeze before they got out of the State of Maine or they would freeze somewhere in transit.  And so we sat.  When that February arrived, the weather began to break.  It took us that whole month to catch back up shipping out new orders plus the ones we couldn’t ship in January.

Exception to the Rule

     Our old-timer farmer-neighbor Doss Morse (born in Bridgewater in 1899) was fond of repeating a phrase he had learned from his father, “It’s too cold to snow.” This phrase utilizes the truism that Maine cold typically comes in association with clear and dry weather.   Here, snowstorms warm things up and some of our best Winter weather will be a sunny day warmed up nice just ahead of a new snowstorm.  In fact, from a Mainer’s vantage, the difference between North and South is that snow in the North means warming weather, whereas snow in the South means it’s turning cold.
    We never took issue with Doss’ mantra of it being “too cold to snow.”  That had been our experience as well.  But as Cicero implied over two-thousand years ago, the “exception that proves the rule” will one day come.   The exception happened to arrive in Maine during the month of January 1994.  One cold evening, before bedtime the temperature had already dropped down to -18ºF.  And it had commenced snowing ferociously.

     It can’t hurt to look over your shoulder every so often to try and avoid getting smacked in the head by an unexpected exception.

Caleb, Jim & Megan


Megan's Kitchen Recipes:
Potato and Celery Root Gratin.

1 1/4 c heavy cream

1/4 c whole milk

1 small Amber Onion, halved

2 large Red Russian Garlic cloves, smashed

Butter, for greasing baking dish and foil

1lb celery root, peeled and halved

1 1/2lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 ounces aged Gouda cheese, grated

Bring the heavy cream, milk, onion halves, and garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Generously butter an 8-inch square baking dish and one side of the foil. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, thinly slice celery root and potatoes. In prepared dish, arrange a layer of celery root and potatoes. In a prepared dish, arrange a layer of celery root slices followed by a layer of potato slices; season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat layers two more times.

Remove onion and garlic from cream mixture and discard. Pour mixture over casserole. Cover pan with prepared foil and transfer to oven. Bake for 40 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle top of gratin with the chese. Return to oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 minutes more. Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving.



How-To Gardening Resources.


Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

The Weather Pendulum Swings in Northern Maine. January was mild for Northern Maine. As a result of temperatures averaging 19.0ºF, or 7.3ºF above normal, last month ranked as the fourth warmest January on record. Down in the other Maine, Portland at 7.3ºF above normal and averaging 31.5ºF joined nine other northeastern cities which had their very warmest January ever recorded. As soon as the calendar flipped pages to February, so did the weather. Last weekend turned record cold. Frigid temperatures were accompanied by strong continuous winds for most of forty-eight hours. The local Weather Office in Caribou warned that we were due for a “Ground Blizzard” and further described our cold snap as an “Extreme Arctic Blast.” This photo was taken around the cold snap’s halfway point and it shows our weather station monitor at 5:38am on Saturday, February 4. The temp was -20ºF plus there was an unrelenting wind from the East, clocked here at 21 mph. We had shut down shipping our Organic Seed Potatoes in advance of this exhaustively forecast cold weather event. Then this week warmed up to typical Winter weather as we slid back into a snowy weather pattern. Undeterred by snow, working with our crew, we were able to ship every day and are now completely caught up with orders.

Megan Skiing Past Poplar Pulpwood. Accompanied by energetic Australian Shepherd, Oakley, Megan is decked out in her snow suit. She cross-country skis across a snow-plowed field road. Beside Megan is a pile of ‘semi-tree-length’ Poplar which Caleb and Justin recently cut. The field beneath and beside the pulpwood will be one of the home farm fields where we will be planting our 2023 crop of Organic Seed Potatoes. Our piles of pulpwood are headed to the mill to be chipped and made into Maine paper. We’re waiting our turn for our local independent pulp truck driver to come out and load it onto his truck with his grapple loader. The pay price is up this Winter and true to supply and demand theory, there is more Poplar being cut. So the waiting line is longer to get it hauled away. Pay price is based on a weighed 5000-pound-cord. There isn’t much evaporation this time of year with the wood being frozen. Come Spring and Summer evaporation becomes a factor and loggers like their wood picked up fresh to minimize weight loss and a resulting thinner paystub.

Blue Flax Growing on Wood Prairie Family Farm. A shot taken last Fall during October when Maine was still lush, green and unfrozen. Organic Blue Flax is one of the dozen flower varieties we mix together and use in the Beneficial Flower refuges we plant in and around our fields of Organic Seed Potatoes. The refuges nourish and protect Beneficial Insects which help control and eat problem pests often encountered in a garden or on a farm. Most of the insects in a garden are in fact, Beneficials. If we help them out, they help us out. And we humans get pretty flowers to admire. Seems like a good deal all around!


Notable Quotes: Churchill on History.


Quick Links to Popular Products.

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