September 9th, 2022
Volume 31 Issue 11
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.
Potato Harvest Going Well!
With the weather turning drier we’ve been
experiencing excellent digging conditions as we begin
to harvest our crop of Organic
Maine Certified Seed Potatoes. In
this photo taken this week, we are using our Finnish
"Super Midi" Juko (pronounced "Yuko") one-row Potato
Harvester. Our new variety from Germany called Baltic
Rose is visible working its way up
the Juko’s “Primary Lag Bed.” Working on the
perpendicular “Secondary Bed” and sorting Potatoes
from the rocks is Caleb (straw hat), Justin (gray hat)
and Cassidy. Out-of-sight working on the ground-level
trailer grabbing tubers which dropped through the
cracks is Kenyon. Caleb’s brother-in-law, Rob, had to
leave early to help his wife, Katie, with their day
care business. Jim is driving the Oliver 1750 Diesel
tractor which pulls the Juko and he snapped this shot.
Megan, Frank and Randel are doing office work, keeping
up with shipping orders and answering the phones.
Caleb’s sister, Amy, up to help on the weekends is
back at college studying.
In this issue of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece, Megan
shares her delicious recipe for Potato Pizza.
Don’t miss it! And this will serve as the LAST
CALL for wonderful Fall-planted Rocambole
Red Russian Garlic Seed. We will
soon be Sold Out and to avoid disappointment, please ORDER TODAY!
Thanks, have a great Fall, stay safe and stay warm!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Red Russian Garlic.
Maine Tales. Rock of
Ages. Moosejaw, Saskatchewan.
Webster Secures the Town of Bridgewater’s Position
in Maine History.
Maine became a State in 1820. The first
European-American settler to the corner of the vast
uncharted and wooded wilderness, which in time became
the Township of Bridgewater, was one Nathanial
Bradstreet in 1827. By the late 1830s rising tensions
over Canadian loggers’ timber theft in the Maine Woods
raised the concerns of both citizens and governments.
Turf matters worsened and erupted into what is known in
history as the bloodless Aroostook War.
Resorting at last to diplomacy, American negotiator
Daniel Webster in 1842 secured and established the
border as it exists today. Had it not been for the
efforts of Mr. Webster, Bridgewater (located within the
gold southerly pointed ‘dagger’ on the map above) might
today have a Canadian Postal Code.
Terry Emery had an infective
sense-of-humor and the rare ability to convert his
experiences into comical tales. He was the one organic
farmer who lived close to us, if you ignored the fact that
he lived in a different country. Terry grew up on his
parent’s family farm a dozen miles away and just ‘across
the line’ in Centreville, New Brunswick.
Across the Great
Daniel Webster may have negotiated the political division
between the United States and Canada, but the fact is our
Aroostook County and Terry’s Carlton County are two peas
in the single Potato pod. Both sides lie in the St. John
River watershed. Both sides have the same gently rolling
ground which contains well-drained soils related to the
‘Caribou Loam.’ Once cleared of trees - and the not for
the faint hearted multitude of rocks left behind by eons
worth of glaciers - these were fields God had intended to
So of course, the Emerys raised Seed Potatoes. Plus Turnip
Seed, Apples and cattle, among other crops. Terry grew up
learning how to do everything. His brothers had left the
farm and went into the overhead door business. For awhile
Terry tagged along and became a master in the building
trades. But farming in Centreville was his real love.
Terry farmed with his parents and then afterward for as
long and as much as his health would allow.
Terry was a good friend. He learned business acumen from
his mother, Gladys. His father, Ernie, taught him good
husbandry. We admired Terry’s good nature and his
phenomenal business ability. More than anyone else, Terry
knew how to ‘turn a dollar.’
Offering Good Advice
It was no doubt Terry’s cumulative talents which led him
to be appointed to a position on a regional government
Citizen Advisory Commission focused on improving the rural
jobs situation. Mostly, they had meetings locally every
month or two. One Summer they had planned a big national
jamboree of similar Citizen Advisory Commissions from all
of the Provinces. The big event was to be held in
Because of responsibilities at home, as a group, farmers
are not the most-well-traveled of citizens. However, Terry
decided to seize the opportunity and attend this grand
event in the Prairies. He did so as a guest of the
government’s largesse. Mixed in among the string of indoor
rural job development seminars was the farmer-favorite, a
bus tour of local rural enterprises across Saskatchewan.
On one stop they visited a well-kept grain farm owned by
an old-timer dressed in overalls. Typical of the Prairies,
this was a large farm now narrowly focused on growing
grain. Mr. Farmer had a fine old large barn. Divested of
the cattle and horses and hay from back in the more
diversified era, the barn now sat largely empty.
Saving the Best for
After explaining the various elements of his farm
operation to the group of visitors, Mr. Farmer, toying
with the crowd, had saved the best for last. He ushered
the group inside the barn. There, in fastidious fashion
were pallets laid out across the floor along one wall.
Atop the pallets, organized by color and shape, were
literally, dozens of rocks. Each had been carefully and
lovingly bathed, and were the recipients of a regular
regime of getting dusted off. Mr. Farmer, bursting with
pride, explained that what they were now witnessing was
his prized lifetime collection of rocks, the ones he had
discovered hiding while working a thousand acres of
Terry was a kind and generous soul. After carefully
inspecting each rock, he turned to Mr. Farmer and offered
the ultimate, albeit parsimonious New Brunswick
compliment, “Them’s nice rocks!” Mr. Farmer, beaming and
as proud as a new father, accepted the praise and reveled
in this rare opportunity. It was not often that a
Saskatchewan farmer gets to share such a considerable
accomplishment with so many Canadians from afar.
“Jim, I just didn’t have the heart to tell him about all
the rocks we have back home in New Brunswick.”
Caleb, Jim & Megan
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves Red
Russian Garlic, thinly sliced
3 medium, waxy potatoes (such as Caribe),
cooked and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp fresh English
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1. Make the dough and let it rise for one hour or as per
2. Dust a baking sheet with semolina flour or cornmeal. Roll
out the dough to 18X20 inch rectangle and fit on baking
3. Brush the dough with 1 T of the olive oil, then sprinkle
it with the garlic slices. Cover it with the potato slices,
then drizzle those with the remaining olive oil and the
cream. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves, crushing them
as you sprinkle. Season liberally with pepper and lightly
4. Bake until the dough is golden at the edges and the cream
is bubbling gently, about 35 minutes.
Family Farm Photos.
Heading Out to Finish Combining Winter Rye.
In the last issue of the Seed
Piece, we shared a photo of Caleb
making a tricky weld on an important broken cast iron
assembly on our Massey Ferguson 300 Combine. The breakdown
occurred when we had just an hour or two of combining left
to finish up harvesting this year’s crop of Organic
Aroostook Winter Rye. When it
comes to cast iron you don’t really know if the weld will
hold or not until you put it to an actual working
test. After our Combine breakdown Northern Maine
turned rainy and wet. It was another two weeks
before it had dried out, conditions were right and we
could put Caleb’s welds to the test. In this photo
Caleb is driving out our driveway to finish the combining
work. The very good news is the weld held and our
job of combining grain is now done for the year.
Healthy Organic Maine
Certified Seed Potatoes Growing in Wood Prairie
‘Long Tunnel.’ Last month
we took this shot of luxuriant Potato growth inside our
600-foot-long 'Long Tunnel.' The Long Tunnel is covered with
heavy-duty, extremely-fine-mesh "Aphid-Excluding Netting"
which was imported from France. Seven weeks before
this photo was taken we had planted vigorous Potato
Minitubers into the protected Tunnel. The first variety on
the right is the spectacular, high-yielding and delicious Organic
Huckleberry Gold, one of our best selling Organic
Potatoes. The nearest variety on the left is a
new disease-resistant Potato variety from Hungary we are
multiplying up. It is called "Sarpo Mira” (pronouned
'Sharpo'). In 2021 we grew in our “Short Tunnel” the
Minitubers which we planted this year in this Long Tunnel.
Minitubers are grown from tiny "Tissue-Cultured"
disease-free “Potato Plantlets.” Potato Plantlets are
vigorous, expensive and resemble tiny Alfalfa sprouts in
appearance. The same type of netting used on the Long
Tunnel covers our Short Tunnel. The harvest from our
Long Tunnel will be Early Generation Organic Certified Seed
Potatoes which we will plant back ourselves in 2023 and
multiply up for another year.
Making a Repair on our
Our Juko Potato Harvester.
week while digging our Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes
, the Juko Potato
Harvester’s Primary Lag Bed jammed up and for the first
time in fifteen years the laminated belting tore and
needed to be repaired. For a hundred years old-style
“Digger Lags” (aka “Hook Chain”) were universally used on
Potato Diggers and Potato Harvesters to shake out and
separate soil from Potatoes. Then about 30 years ago
the Dutch company Broekema pioneered a new concept known
as “Belted Lags.” Belted Lags are manufactured by riveting
special mega-strong metal Lags to extra heavy-duty,
laminated, rubber-based, fiber-reinforced synthetic
The revolutionary result is
long-lasting trouble-free Lag beds have now mostly
replaced Hook Chain. Broekema set up a satellite
facility in Minnesota which manufactures Belted Lags for
the Potato industry in the USA & Canada. In this
photo, Caleb is grinding off the Belt where it
ripped. He then bolted into place specialized metal
coupling brackets. Just three hours after breakdown,
without setting foot off the farm, the Belted Lags were
repaired, re-installed and the Juko was ready for work
Season Beauty Arrives in Aroostook County.
As August transitioned into
September, we had our sure signs of the approach of
Fall. Breathtaking Organic
flowers came into full
bloom. As well, striking Organic
have been showing off their
well-known beauty, including this lone Sunflower hiding
behind the jungle of Cosmos. These two kinds
Flowers are a sign of the times and late-blooming
members of our Beneficial Insect Flower Beds which we
planted last Spring in and around our fields of Organic
Certified Seed Potatoes
. These ‘Beneficial
’ nourish and give refuge to
the Beneficial Insects who help to keep in check
troublesome insect pests of Potatoes. And there
are further signs of Fall’s approach. Hardwood trees are
starting to turn color. Local Seed Potato farmers have
been killing their seed crops and are beginning to
harvest Potatoes. On Wood Prairie Family Farm, we
arrest the growth of our Organic Certified Seed
while tubers are still in their
juvenile-stage. This practice of 'early killing' Seed
Potatoes provides maximum vigor in the harvested seed
tubers. And that super-vigor translates into the highest
yields in the next generation - that would be the
Organic Certified Seed Potato tubers we'll be shipping
to you when you buy from us in the Fall, Winter and
Quick Links to Popular
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