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.
The Days Lengthen.
Seed Potatoes on Wood Prairie Family Farm in
This photo from our
new Wood Prairie Catalog was taken last Summer in a
plot of Organic
Elba Seed Potatoes in blossom. Megan
is driving the Farmall tractor which pulls the
‘Roguing Cart.’ Cassidy is in view walking among the
Elba rouging for Potato Virus. To Megan’s left is the
tail end of our plot of ever-popular Organic
Rose Gold Seed Potatoes which have
already shed most of their blossoms.
Megan’s tractor straddles an
in-field bed of Beneficial
Flowers which have been planted to
provide nourishment and protection to Beneficial
Insects which help keep in check economically
harmful insect pest like Colorado Potato Beetles,
Potato Leafhoppers and Aphids. We plant our own
special blend of fifteen different Flowers which excel
at their job of helping Beneficial Insects over the
entire Potato-growing season. Visible in this photo
‘Best Find’ Phacelia, Organic
‘Seashells’ Cosmos, Organic
'California' Poppy, Organic
Annual Blue Flax, Organic
‘Tapmaster’ Tillage Radish and Organic
This brand new issue of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece features a new ‘Maine
Tales’ entitled Tournament Week Snowstorm.
It includes Farm Photos and stories
about farming and Farm Life in Maine. We also showcase
a delicious Recipe for Fresh Blueberry Muffins
and have a fertile limited time Offer for FREE Organic
Fertilizer. Plus, towards the
issue’s end you’ll find a pithy Notable Quote
Finally, scroll down to our
How-To Garden Resources section to find
a link to a great new short video about How-To-Plant Organic
Seed Potatoes in Raised Beds
by our friend Travis Keys of ‘Lazy Dog Farm’ in
As you must know by now,
we’ve been farming in Maine 100% organically for just
shy of 50 years. From the very beginning EVERYTHING
we grow and EVERYTHING we sell has ALWAYS
been Certified Organic. Consider us to be YOUR
Organic Experts. We’re here to help!
Please, rely on us for Organic
Seed Potatoes, Organic
Sweet Potato Slips, Organic
Vegetable Seed, Organic
Herb Seed, Organic
Flower Seed, Organic
Cover Crop Seed, Organic
Fertilizer, and Tools
Thanks so much for your business and for your support
of our Maine Organic family farm!
Stay Safe & Stay Warm!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Special Offer! FREE
Organic Potato Fertilizer.
TODAY & Receive a FREE
(1) 3 lbs. Sack of Organic Potato Fertilizer
($9.99 Value) with a Minimum $70 Order.
use Coupon Code WPFF231.
Maine Tales. Tournament
Medway, Maine. Circa 2002.
on Snowy Maine Highways.
As a rule, Maine’s large
fleet of plow trucks do a good job in keeping the
roads open and therefore allowing life to carry on
more or less as normal. Often the biggest challenge
comes when the wind kicks up and blows around the snow
during or after a snowstorm. Thankfully, as the most
forested State in the nation with almost 90% of its
land area in forest, our Maine trees usually help the
wind from getting carried away.
back, it would have been a better idea just to pull off
and grab a piece of Blueberry pie at the diner and read
Maine does have its quirks.
Elsewhere, folks may call it “President’s Week,” but
here in Maine that holiday week which contains Washington’s
Birthday is known by everyone as “Tournament Week.”
With the piles of snow
Maine receives, for practical reasons the outside game
of Football never caught on. However, Basketball is a
whole ‘nother kettle of fish. For many generations Mainers
have developed an extreme affection towards High
School Basketball. Truth be told, it’s more
mania than moderation.
Boys and Girls teams
play a packed schedule of well-attended Basketball
games against other area High School teams for a
couple of months during the early portion of Winter.
Then, come Tournament Week, top local teams travel
down to Bangor, one-hundred-fifty miles south,
to compete in Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Local
enthusiasts, family and friends make the long trek to
Bangor to cheer their team on.
Way back decades ago, Jim was a
cooper and made Potato barrels at Bridgewater Barrel
Company. Ken was a co-worker, kind, easy-going,
He was also pushing retirement age. During his high
school years at ‘Bridgewater Classical Academy’ Ken had
been the Basketball star who led his team to
miraculously win the State Championship. Blockbuster
Potato crops and Spelling Bees aside, that one State
Basketball Championship was acknowledged to be the
most fame to ever grace our little farming Town of
As a result of his achievement, for
the rest of his life Ken was revered by townspeople.
Basketball had allowed Ken to peak while still a
teenager living at home with his parents. Amidst our
small and proud community Ken was able to rest on those
laurels for the rest of his life.
Now, for a string of years two
decades ago, USDA’s locally-directed ‘Heart of Maine’
RC&D (Resource Conservation & Development)
demonstrated vision and would hold inexpensive,
intensive, three-day-long Soils Schools in Bangor.
They were always held during Tournament Week. Each year
world class Soil Health experts from all over the USA,
including legends Neal Kinsey, Arden Anderson and Gary
Zimmer, were brought in to see if they could teach
fortunate Maine farmers a thing or two.
Winter Snow Storm
One Winter, our
three-day-Soil-School concluded on a Tournament Weekday
about mid-afternoon. Outside it was snowing at a good
clip. Because there were still a couple of hours of
daylight left, it made sense to hit the road and
head up the interstate towards Aroostook County while we
still enjoyed the benefit of light of day.
It was snowing hard on I-95 and
the snow was getting ahead of the snowplows. After about
thirty miles of making good progress we came up behind
the red tail lights of a veritable convoy of
turtle-speed homeward-bound Tournament goers. It
turns out our talented local Central Aroostook High
School Basketball team had completed their playoff
game ahead of when our Soil School got let out.
Apparently, rusty at driving long distances under snowy
conditions, the CA convoy was traveling en masse at an
overly-cautious 30 mph through the hundred miles of
woods between Bangor and Houlton.
With the slow lane decently
free of snow thanks to the work of State plow trucks,
there really was no need to creep along so slowly.
However, any attempt to pass meant switching over to the
unplowed passing lane which contained four inches of
untouched sticky snow. Trying to pass the
slow-moving horde meant changing lanes and speeding up
in treacherous snow which grabbed at the tires and
made any effort to pass a potentially careening and
risky proposition. We tried to pass several times then
In the end it became clear
that trying to pass the entire turtle-convoy was
not going to be possible until a State plow
truck with a driver’s side left-wing-plow would take
at the snow-covered passing lane. However, in the
middle of a snowstorm clearing that passing lane was a
low priority. High priority was keeping open the
single slow lane our wagon train was proceeding upon.
So, we settled back and acted
as caboose at the end of the long turtle-train in the
snow-plowed and very, very, very slow lane. In
hindsight, had we pulled into the diner in Medway
for a piece of pie and plenty of refills of hot
tea, we could have let the slow-traveling convoy gain
many miles on us. In the end we would have gotten home
no later than we actually did and with a lot less
So, lesson learned. Blueberry
pie is often the right answer. But it helps when
you have figured out what the question is.
Caleb, Jim & Megan
1 1/3 c whole wheat flour
Fresh Blueberry Muffins.
3/4 rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea
1 beaten egg
3/4 c milk
1/4 c cooking oil
3/4 c fresh or frozen blueberries
Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt in a
medium bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture.
In another bowl combine egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture
all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
Fold blueberries into batter.
Spoon batter into buttered muffin cups, filling each
two-thirds full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 18 to 20
minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in
centers comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins
Family Farm Photos.
This New Potato Ever Replace ‘Dark Red Norland’?
Though the tradition was interrupted by Covid, it’s
common and popular in farm country to hold outside Field
Days for farmers. Last Summer, on August 17, a Field Day
was held at the Aroostook Farm Potato Experiment Station
in nearby Presque Isle, located twenty-five miles from Wood Prairie
Family Farm. Field Days create the
opportunity to introduce farmers to advanced techniques
developed for good farming, and in the case of Potatoes,
exposure to promising new varieties. A new and still
numbered Red skin/White flesh variety from North Dakota
(ND) and being developed by Aroostook Farm (AF) is
“NDAF113484B-1.” Retiring Maine Potato Breeder and
Agronomist Dr. Greg Porter has had his eye on this variety
for years and believes one day it may give the
Red Norland a run for its money. Trials
to date indicate NDAF113484B-1 is a good yielding ,
mid-season (a week later than DRN) variety with good taste
and bright Red skin which maintains its color throughout
storage. Our name is one the list to get seed when it’s
first available so we hope to be growing it out in the
next year or two.
Tools of the
Trade. Moving Snow with a Pickup Truck.
In this photo, Caleb is using an older 4-WD Ford
F-250 Diesel Pickup ‘Yard truck’(a Maine term for an
older rusted-by-road-salt truck no longer able to pass
vehicle inspection for use on public roadways) outfitted
with a ‘Boss’ 10-foot-wide V-Blade snowplow. The truck
has tire chains on all four tires. The bed has had
weights added it to provide the truck with extra
traction. The wings on the snowplow are hydraulically
controlled and are adjusted by control valves located
inside the heated cab (up/down, V-Plow, Straight-Blade
or V-Scoop). Years back we used to plow with a 2 WD
Oliver 770 Gas tractor (no cab!) that had tire chains
and an angled Straight Blade, 8-foot wide. The pickup is
not only way warmer, but plows twice as fast and doesn’t
get stuck nearly as often as the tractor did. For every
6” of snowfall it will take Caleb about 6 hours now to
plow everything out. Northern Maine gets 100"-120” of
snow a year.
Pallets of Wood Prairie Potatoes.
One reason Caleb must keep the yard plowed out is
that every week throughout the Winter we have Tractor
Trailers come in to either pickup Potatoes or to deliver
supplies. Here, on a cold morning last week, hooded
Caleb has added a final layer of 50-pound cartons of Organic
to finish up a full 2500#
pallet. Surrounded by Canada on three sides, it’s a sure
bet that when Potatoes leave Aroostook County, Maine,
they are headed south to someplace warmer. Caleb keeps
his feet warm with thick insulated pull-on rubber boots.
If you can keep your feet warm you are halfway towards
being comfortable in extreme cold weather. Conversely,
if your feet are cold you won’t ever get warm. Caleb
uses our reliable, always-starts ‘New Holland’ Skid
Steer loader to navigate the crusty yard and load those
heavy pallets onto the awaiting truck.
Socrates on Thought.
Quick Links to
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