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Organic News and Commentary
From Maine
           Saturday, March 14th, 2020
                  Volume 29 Issue 5

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 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:


   Peak Season.

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Yo-Semi-te Brand. Ivanhoe Mutual Orange Association, Turlare County, California. Circa 1930.

     This beautiful California Citrus Crate label – which once adorned wooden crates of oranges headed to market, complements another fruit crate label image featured in the last Wood Prairie Seed Piece, which also highlighted Yosemite National Park’s stunning allure.

    Here in Maine, orders are coming and going fast and furious as we ramp up to peak shipping from now until the end of April. Usually by mid-March – with the sun higher in the sky – we stop dropping below zero at night. That makes shipping perishable seed potatoes a simpler process.

    Snow depth on the farm is now about two feet deep. Last week, Caleb and some friends took their snowmobiles up to the Allagash country and there he reports the snow depth is 4-5 feet.

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Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
Brand New Amazing Video of Northern Maine’s ‘Can Am International Dog Sled Race 2020.’

Northern Maine's Can Am International Dog Sled Race 2020. Spectacular new video with Bird's-Eye-Views.

You will enjoy this spectacular video (4:28) of the 28th Annual 250-Mile ‘Can Am’ sled dog race - including lots of Bird's-Eye-View drone footage - which took place just a couple of weeks ago. Race begins and ends in Fort Kent, Maine, the Aroostook County town at the very top of the Crown of Maine.

Watch the mushers and the sled dogs working together as a team "with perseverance and determination" both in the daylight and at night using headlamps. Teams confronted below zero temperatures and "raging snowstorms."

Maine's Can Am race spans the lonely Allagash wilderness in North Maine Woods and serves as a qualifying race for Alaska's famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Caleb, Megan & Jim

Click Here for our Certified Organic Cover Crop & Farm Seed.

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Special Offer: FREE Organic Adirondack Red Seed Potatoes!

      Striking pink-fleshed Organic Adirondack Red was released by Cornell University at the same time as its more famous blue-fleshed cousin Organic Adirondack Blue. Organic Adirondack Red is a good keeper Mid-Season potato which grows reliably and produces handsome smooth-red-skin tubers. In the kitchen, Adirondack Red is a moist, low-solids potato making it ideal for steaming or Au Gratin.

    Earn yourself a FREE 1 lb. Sack of Organic Adirondack Red Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next Wood Prairie order totals $59 or more. FREE Organic Adirondack Red Seed Potatoes Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, March 16 . Please use Promo Code WPFF471. Your order and FREE Organic Adirondack Red Seed Potato Offer - must ship no later than May 5, 2020. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please place your order TODAY!

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Organic Adirondack Red. Reliable cousin of Cornell's Adirondack Blue.
Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

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Caleb Back-Dragging Snow on Wood Prairie Family Farm. After a recent snowfall, Caleb uses our ‘Boss’ V-Blade snow plow to back drag snow away from our packing shed and potato house. The plow shape-shifts with hydraulic controls operated from inside the cab of the truck: up, down, straight blade right, straight blade left, V-middle-buster and scoop (pictured here). It takes Caleb about four hours to plow us out after an 8” snowfall.


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Megan Working Pallet Jack in Underground Potato House.
   In the underground cellar there are two main jobs this time of year. 1) Keeping the upstairs crew supplied with a steady amount of loose potatoes which they will bag up into sacks at the end of one week to ship out the orders going the next week. 2) Putting up 50-pound cartons onto pallets going out to larger farmers and seed companies. The yellow Yale forklift is battery powered, kind of like a farmer’s Tesla.

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Caleb Loading Pallets onto a Tractor Trailer.
   On a Winter’s day, Caleb performs the task of receiving full pallets of potatoes pushed out by the underground Cellar Forklift with a Clark forklift. He then navigates the snowy ground to move and push pallets weighing from 2000-2500 pounds onto the awaiting truck.

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Fingerweeder on Organic Seed Farm in Oregon.
  Last month Caleb & Jim attended the biennial Organic Seed Growers conference held at OSU in Corvallis, located in the world famous seed growing haven known as the Willamette Valley. As always, the best part of the conference is the full-day of field trips criss-crossing the Valley. Here on a good-sized organic farm is a well-designed, unusually wide Fingerweeder with hydraulically-controlled drop down wings. This wing set-up allows easy travel on highways and farm roads and in-the-field efficient weeding of small weeds in young grain.


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Heavy Wood Beams and Solid Wood Seed Bin Walls.
  Our field trip included a tour of a large seed cleaning facility. The huge cavernous building was built after WWII, about 70 years ago. It was explained to us that the builders were common sense farmers and not engineers. Because the Willamette Valley is located close to the mountains and wood country, the farmers had ready access to an unlimited supply of inexpensive #2 grade rough cut lumber. These farmers knew to how build strong. Here, the bin walls at left and in the background are made from 2” x 6s” stacked on top of one another to create rugged, solid 6” wide wooden bin walls.


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Seed Cleaning Mill Screen Collection.
The heart of this seed cleaning plant was an enormous multi-story seed cleaning machine. The seed cleaner featured a dizzying maze of multiple screens perfectly matched for the size and shape of each specific seed crop. The good seed was separated out from the weed seed and chaff. A wall of yellowed paper ‘recipe’ sheets detailed exactly which screen went where and in what order for this crop or that. The seed mill foreman had worked in this one mill for 40 years.

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Oregon Grown Premium Quality Grass Seed.
In a system common across the Willamette Valley, bags full of cleaned grass seed – ready for sale and planting - are carefully stacked on extra-large hardwood pallets, five bags per layer. Pictured here is probably conventional Annual Rye seed - light and fluffy compared to small dense seeds like clovers and Timothy grass.

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Grass Seed Stacked Clear to the Rafters.
Each pallet has eight layers times five 50-pound bags. Four pallets high, this one stack weighs 8000 pounds, or about one-sixth of a tractor-trailer load. With seed-cleaning season now winding down, this gigantic warehouse was chock full of similar stacks of grass seed which reached the rafters.

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Little Wood Prairie Family Farm Wins Two Big Awards.

Wood Prairie Family Farm is a bonafide family farm located out in the willywags on the edge of the North Maine Woods. First and foremost we are farmers and we have been growing organic seed crops for over forty years. If there’s anything unique about us it’s that 30 years ago we figured out that for us to continue to make our living farming we better zero in on selling the Certified Organic Seed we raise. We decided at that time we’d target selling seed directly to home gardeners and market farmers. Back in those days that meant putting together a mail order catalog. Of course, in later years the Internet came along and so we added our transactional webstore (www.woodprairie.organic) to supplement our garden seed catalog.

To this day we remain a small family-run outfit. Neighbors who have worked for us for many years help our family grow the crops, answer the phone and ship out your orders. Our catalog and our website - and this newsletter - are still put together right here in our farm office.

It seems this year our efforts have paid off. Award-winning HomeGardenandHomestead.com has included Wood Prairie on its 2020 list of the '8 Best Gardening Catalogs and Websites.’ They are a leading informational website about gardening and in 2019 they won the 'Best Gardening Website Award' from GardenComm (the new name for the well-respected group formerly known as 'Garden Writers Association').

Also, this Winter, Feefo conferred upon Wood Prairie their “2020 Gold Trusted Service Award.” Established in 2007, Feefo has become one of the world's leading Customer Review platforms. Wood Prairie has earned a lifetime Feefo score of 4.8 (out of a possible 5). Feefo’s top-tier 'Gold Trusted' status recognized Wood Prairie for exceeding their threshold score of 4.5 for all of 2019.

What sets Feefo apart is that they independently and exclusively collect 100% Customer-Verified Reviews. Feefo Review submissions are accepted only from individuals who have actually made a Feefo-verified purchase. Feefo’s integrity and careful protocols virtually eliminate fraudulent Reviews which have become a huge online credibility dilemma for retailers like Amazon.

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Caleb, Megan & Jim

Click Here for our Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.


Wood Prairie Family Farm Wins Two Awards. A family farm that done good.

Notable Quote: Fromm on Real Wealth.

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Wood Prairie Recipe:
     Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes.


12-15 small Dark Red Norland or Yukon Gold potatoes
Sea Salt
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least an inch of water. Boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are completely tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Place the cooked potatoes on a clean dishtowel. Let them drain and sit for a minute or two. Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2-inch. Repeat with all of the potatoes.

Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil. Carefully transfer the flattened potatoes to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature. If working ahead, refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Heat oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp salt and pour olive oil over them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath. Roast until they are crisp and deep brown around the edges., 30 - 40 minutes, turning over once gently with a spatula halfway through cooking. Serve hot.

Serves 8

Megan

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Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes.
Photo by Angela Wotton.


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