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.
Spring Rush is
(Pop. 532), Home of Wood Prairie Family Farm.
(Click on Image to Enlarge).
bird’s-eye view was a shot taken by talented local
photographer Paul Cyr in mid-October 2015. It is a
rare vantage gained by the use of his trademark
powered-parachute craft. The view is looking westward
over the western portion of the Town of Bridgewater.
The highway in the foreground, running left to right
(south to north) and bisecting downtown Bridgewater is
US Route 1 which extends from Fort Kent, Maine (north
of us) down to Key West, Florida. The fields you see
are typically well-drained Potato fields, either
recently harvested or in sod rotation. The fields are
surrounded by mostly less-well-drained woods. The
arrow-straight road heading west is “Bootfoot Road”
(aka “West Road”). Bootfoot extends out three miles
from Route 1. Wood Prairie Family Farm is pretty
much hidden by forest. However, if you look left
(south) from the very west end of Bootfoot a quarter
mile or so, you may be able to discern a slight gap in
the trees. Those are fields of our farm which we have
been farming organically now for almost 50 years. To
the west beyond us, are the millions of acres of
forestland known as the North Maine Woods.
This new issue of our Wood
Prairie Seed Piece features a new ‘Maine
Tales’ entitled Coming to Conclusions.
It also includes Farm Photos and their
stories from this week on our Maine farm. We share
Megan’s fine Recipe for Lemon Potatoes and
encourage you to take advantage of our Offer for
Vegetable Seeds. Plus, towards the end of
the issue, you’ll find a reassuring Notable Quote from
Scroll down to our How-To
Garden Resources section and find a link to a brand
new ‘You Tube’ video interview with Jim about How-To-
Seed Potatoes at Home,
conducted by Master Gardener Jessica McCollum of ‘From
Dream to Seed’ in Indiana.
By now you know you can rely
on us for all your Organic needs, including Organic
Seed Potatoes, Organic
Sweet Potato Slips, Organic
Vegetable Seed, Organic
Herb Seed, Organic
Flower Seed, Organic
Cover Crop Seed, Organic
Fertilizer, and Tools
We're now at peak shipping and have a turn around
time of 3-5 days on new orders.
Thanks for your support of our Maine Organic family
Stay Safe & Stay Warm!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Special Offer! FREE
Organic Tomato Seed.
Order TODAY & Receive These THREE
(3) Packets of our Organic Tomato Seed
($11.97 Value) with a Minimum $65 Order. Free
Tomato Seed must ship with order and no later than
Maine Tales. Coming to
Bridgewater, Maine. Circa 1994.
Technology on a Maine Potato Farm. Peter
Gerritsen, a few months shy of four-years-old. Helping
with our Potato Harvest of 1994, grown after the snow
had successfully melted away that Spring. A paint can
proved to be a practical ‘Picking’ solution back in
the old days when we dug our Organic
Seed Potato crop with a John Deere
#30 Potato Digger pulled by an Oliver tractor. The
Digger gently laid potatoes (and rocks) back on top of
the ground. Then we used buckets and 11-peck Cedar
Potato Barrels to ‘pick’ the spuds and haul them out
of the field. Farm kids learn at an early age to
become resourceful. Can’t find a matching pair of
gloves? No problem, I’ll improvise.
understanding mostly comes from experience. And
worthwhile experience doesn’t just land bundled up in
your lap. The road towards experience has to start
somewhere and it’s a long one.
Norms and Anomalies
Humans have become
pretty good at discerning patterns based on
observation and experience. But only in hindsight does
it become clear whether enough observational data
points have been collected for a conclusion to fly and
stand the test of time.
One Climate Change scientist
with an Ag background and perspective has cautioned
cause for concern lies ahead. One farmer lifetime
contains sixty crops, more or less. Farmers draw from
their experience of weather anomalies which have
confronted past crops in order to chart their course
of action for another year with an out-of-the-ordinary
weather variation. This researcher predicts that
Climate-Change-driven weather anomalies will become so
extreme that they will at some point exceed the
capacity of accumulated farmer-lifetime experiential
Now, a place like the
State of Maine has a long history of getting a lot of
snow. Since life needs to carry on in the Winter, as
near normal as possible, that snow must get moved out
of the way so cars and trucks and people can get from
here to there.
After a snowstorm
deposits new snow, snow plows attached to trucks
tackle the job of pushing snow far off into piles on
the edges of roads, driveways and yards. Here on Wood
Prairie Family Farm it takes us
about six hours of work to open things back up after a
half-foot snowfall. Since Northern Maine normally
receives 100-120 inches of snow each Winter, simple
math will corroborate that Mainers spend a whole lot
of time moving snow. During stretches when we get two
or three snowstorms per week, snowplowing is like
having a second job.
The first half of March
is when we will have accumulated our deepest snowpack.
The snows keep coming and the temperatures continue to
remain enough below freezing that not much melting ever
There was one March when our
oldest boy, Peter, was a little over three-years-old.
Over the duration of that Winter, Peter would sit by the
window and watch his father plow snow over-and-over with
an old angled eight-foot-wide snowplow attached to an
old no-cab Oliver gas tractor with tire chains.
Of course, there were Potatoes
to grade. All Winter-long, with Peter near at hand we’d
, bag them up and and ship
them out to distant places already experiencing Spring.
While we worked, we discussed and conjured up plans
about what crops we’d be planting in the Spring.
Invariably, Potato work would get interrupted by yet
another snowstorm. After we plowed that snowfall away
we’d switch back to shipping out Potatoes.
Thoughts of Spring
One day that March we sensed
that young Peter was fretting about something.
Eventually, we were able to draw out of him the reason
for his worry. After observing the considerable effort
put into plowing out our yard and driveway so that
trucks could get in and out, he had been doing some
calculating. He worried that at the rate we were going
we’d never get all our fields plowed free of snow in
time to plant our Spring crops in May.
Didn’t it come as a huge
relief to Peter when we explained that come April, as
the sun got higher in the sky, it would start to warm
up enough that the snowpack would begin to melt. We
assured him that by the time we needed to plant our
crops in May, that old snow would have miraculously
disappeared all on its own.
We do the best we can with
what we know. Thankfully, life gets easier and
experience will accumulate effortlessly while we go
about and do our work.
Caleb, Jim & Megan
2 pounds small red potatoes, pictured are Rose
Gold, scrubbed and halved (quartered if
1 1/2 tsp grated zest and 2 T juice from 1 lemon
Russian Garlic cloves, peeled and smashed,
plus 2 cloves, minced
1 c chicken broth or water
Salt and Pepper
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh Italian
Place potatoes in colander and rinse under running water,
tossing with hands until water runs clear. Drain potatoes
Bring potatoes, lemon juice, smashed garlic, chicken broth
or water, and 1/2 tsp salt to boil in large skillet. Reduce
heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until potatoes are
just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat
to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid
evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Discard garlic cloves and add oil to pan. Turn all potatoes
cut side down and continue to cook until deep golden brown,
about 6 minutes. Off heat, stir in parsely, lemon zest, and
minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Family Farm Photos.
Orders This Morning on Wood Prairie Family Farm.
After awhile the clouds melted away and the sun
came out and allowed the air temperature to creep up to
just above freezing. The Packing Room crew had opened the
garage door halfway to let in the cool morning air help
maintain the desired inside temp in the low 40s – good for
maintaining prime condition for our Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes. At left, Ken is
Samplers of the Month, scheduled to go
out next week. Crouching in the foreground is Justin,
grabbing a pile of 2 ½ # and 5# sacks which are stored
underneath the table, so he can finish bagging up Organic
Russian Banana Fingerlings in the red
‘Haines Single Bagger’ in the lower left corner. To
Justin’s right is Lindsey (blue sweatshirt) who is
stapling the Banana sacks closed and standing next to
sacks of top seller Organic
Yukon Gold. In the background, Caleb
(black wool cap) and his sister, Amy (red & black
Buffalo plaid coat) – home from college this week for
Spring Break – are boxing up tubbed orders. Out of view,
Liz is assembling orders into tubs for the boxers. Megan
and Chelsea are in the office printing shipping labels
and collating orders. Frank and Randel are
downloading orders, answering the phones and tending to
customer service inquiries. Jim is in the attached
underground Potato storage grading Potatoes so the crew
won’t run out and will be able to keep up with the flow of
thousands of orders. The tsunami has arrived and we’ll be
at peak shipping for the next five-six weeks. We now have
about a 3-5 day turnaround time on new orders.
The Year’s First
Wood Prairie Calf Getting a Warm Up Drink
Inside the House.
all authentic organic farms, our cows - Low-Line Angus
crossed with Irish Dexters - have ready access to the
out-of-doors. So this week when new mother 'Penelope'
opted to give birth, it happened to take place outside
on the snow, instead of inside the barn in the
dry-bedded loafing area. By design, we keep a small herd
of grass-efficient cows who consider eating our Organic
culls a real treat. Throughout
the Winter they have the freedom to come and go as they
please, choosing to either be inside or outside the dry
barn. This new heifer calf had become chilled, so
Megan brought her inside the house to warm up.
Then, hand-milking out some colostrum from Penelope, she
transfered it into a calf-bottle and successfully got
the two-hour-old calf to drink. After one night’s
lodging in the house, the calf has since rejoined her
mother in the barn. She has figured out how to nurse on
her own and is doing well.
Three Wood Prairie
Dogs Out for a Walk.
the long shadows of a sunny late afternoon this week,
Wood Prairie dogs and humans enjoy a late Winter walk.
In the foreground is sweet Rottweiler ‘Ralph.’ He and
high-energy yearling ‘Rudi,’ the dark brindle Cane Corso
on the right, belong to Caleb and Lizzi. ‘Halle’ is the
farm’s gentle middle-aged Great Pyrenees. We’re all
walking on our snowplowed road between the frozen ‘Big’
Pond’ and ‘Small’ Pond. Our snow depth is now about
30 inches except where it’s drifted deeper.
30’ x 70’ Quonset hut in the upper right is Caleb’s
repair shop. In Maine a lot of vehicles get parked in
the Fall and are rested for the duration of Winter in
order to keep them free from the corrosive effects of
ice-melting road salt. Included in this hibernating
group is Caleb’s classic red & white Ford F350
crew-cab pickup truck with a 7.3 Liter
Diesel engine. Ten years ago after graduating from the
local Community College with a degree in ‘Diesel
Hydraulics’ Caleb rebuilt this truck from scratch, from
bumper to bumper. That prized and Winter-rested truck
has only learned about Maine Winters by reading about it
in Yankee Magazine.
Notable Quotes: Paine
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