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Friday, September 9th, 2022
Volume 31 Issue 11

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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.

   Now Into Harvest.


Wood Prairie 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 Hard-Neck Organic 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!

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Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine

 

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Special Offer! Red Russian Garlic.




LAST CALL for Organic ‘Red Russian’ Garlic Seed!

Shipments begin soon! Limited Availability! Please order NOW before we sell out!

Special Offer! Buy 5-Pounds and SAVE 10%

  This is a superb Fall-Planted Rocambole, stiffneck Organic Red Russian Garlic Seed..

PLEASE HURRY! We will SELL OUT SOON on Organic Red Russian Garlic Seed and we don’t want to disappoint you. ORDER TODAY! Thanks!


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Maine Tales. Rock of Ages. Moosejaw, Saskatchewan.
    Circa 1997.



Daniel 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 Divide

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 grow Potatoes.

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 Saskatchewan.

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 Last

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 Prairie fields.

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


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Megan's Kitchen Recipes:
Potato Pizza

Topping:

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 Thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1. Make the dough and let it rise for one hour or as per your directions
.
2. Dust a baking sheet with semolina flour or cornmeal. Roll out the dough to 18X20 inch rectangle and fit on baking sheet.

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 with salt.

4. Bake until the dough is golden at the edges and the cream is bubbling gently, about 35 minutes.

Megan

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Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.



Caleb 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. This 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 belting.  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 again.



Late Season Beauty Arrives in Aroostook County. As August transitioned into September, we had our sure signs of the approach of Fall. Breathtaking Organic Cosmos flowers came into full bloom.  As well, striking Organic Sunflowers 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 Flowers’ 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 Potatoes 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 Spring ahead.


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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

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