Prairie Family Farm Packing Crew Last Saturday.
All seed companies are experiencing an unprecedented,
huge surge of seed orders in the last month thanks to
the health and economic crisis centered around
Covid-19. With many seed companies experiencing order
spikes 300% of normal, we’re all very grateful for
your patience. We are working hard to keep up!
Last Saturday, March 28, was a
sunny-day-above-freezing with snow-covered fields
outside and the maple sap was running. This photo was
taken inside our packing shed where we have been working
overtime to keep up with your orders. That
Saturday, eight Gerritsens were working together as a
From left to right: Lex and Caleb’s brother, Peter
(they have been building houses in Portland but have
now moved back to the farm to help out); Caleb and his
fiancée, Lizzi (a kindergarten teacher at a local
rural school, which like all schools in Northern
Maine, closed three weeks ago so she is now working
from home); Caleb’s sisters, Amy (a High School
Junior, studying from home half-days and packing seed
the rest of the time) and Sarah (one month away
from graduation and becoming a Registered Nurse,
after the completion of her accelerated two-year
Nursing program at Northern Maine Community College).
Megan was out-of-sight working in the adjoining office
preparing shipping labels. Jim was downcellar in the
underground Potato House (storage) grading organic
Maine Certified Seed Potatoes for the crew to
The next day, Sunday, co-workers Megan and Ken came in
and worked with Jim to fill sacks and replenish
shelves. Meanwhile, Frank and Gail have been working
remotely from their homes where they answer the phones
taking orders and answering questions. We rotate
the crew so everyone gets one day a week off.
Monday the full crew was back to work.
Just this last Thursday, Maine Governor Janet Mills
codified what had already largely become a defacto
practice in Maine with a statewide Stay-at-Home order
(our team jointly agreed to Stay-at-Home protocols
three weeks ago). Food Agriculture (including
seeds) has been designated a “Critical Industry”
so our co-workers are allowed to travel between home
Frank and Gail report that almost 75% of folks placing
phone orders are volunteering they are concerned about
the stability of the food supply and so are planting
a garden for the first time or expanding
We will definitely sell out our supply of organic Seed
Potatoes which we harvested last Fall and have stored
in our underground on-farm storage ever since. In many
cases we have limited sack sizes in order to spread
out our supply to serve as many gardeners as possible.
Red Norland and All-Blue
are two exceptions to this rule and amounts in
45-pound cartons of Certified Seed may still be
ordered for the time being. At present, our supplies
of organic Vegetable Seed are good and our supplies of
organic Cover Crop Seed are very good. Kitchen
Potatoes for eating are sold out. Turnaround time on
orders is now about five days.
We are involved in the new Cooperative
Gardens Commission which is
gearing up to support community efforts encouraging
folks to start gardens this Spring and grow their own
food. Craig’s List will become the main
platform CGC will use for listing locally available Resources
and Needs. New articles in the New
York Times and Civil
Eats discuss some of the
issues all of us will be facing.
We are confident we will get through the hard times
ahead if we all work together and look out for one
Thanks again very much for your patience and for your
support of our organic family farm!
Please follow us on our Wood
Prairie Blog and on Facebook
Be well and stay safe!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm