Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
               Wednesday, January 07, 2015
                        Volume 21 Issue 1

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Cold January Brings Inside Work.

     Kendall & Whitney Corn Sheller.  Over the years, a lot of corn has been shelled in the State of Maine and Kendall & Whitney have been involved in a lot of that work.  Read more about them in the next article below.
     This is the right time of year for this kind of work.  When it’s windy and cold outside, it is very nice to have inside work to keep one busy.  Nowadays we’re steadily grading seed potatoes.  We have just finished shelling this year’s dried-down seed corn crops.  We have more to go on cleaning Black Zucchini seed and our heirloom Long Pie Pumpkin.
     Soon, Spring will hit the South and we’ll be up to our ears shipping out organic seed orders to distant and warm places.  Those are good thoughts to contemplate for the middle of this cold Maine Winter.

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

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Video: Shelling Organic Seed Corn on Wood Prairie Farm.

     Years ago we were fortunate to be able to pick up an old, turn-of-the century “New Universal” Corn Sheller from a retired farmer in Southern Maine.  This rugged, well-designed and well-kept corn sheller unit was manufactured right here in the State of Maine – likely around 1900 - by Kendall & Whitney Seed Merchants, Growers and Importers.

     Kendall & Whitney was established in 1852.  Their Portland Agricultural Warehouse and Seed Store was located in the Whitney Building at Federal and Temple Streets.  They were manufacturers and sellers of Agricultural and Horticultural Implements.  The opening photo, above, shows what the corn sheller looked like when we go it, complete with hand crank and heavy cast iron flywheel – located on the opposite side, out-of-view.

     This winter we motorized the corn sheller and used it to shell our 2014 crop of Organic Dakota Ivory Flour Corn grown on Wood Prairie Farm.

     Though the view is now somewhat blocked by our new safety-guards over the pulleys, belts and flywheel, the corn sheller works exceptionally well.  As you will see in this new You Tube video (1:19), the corn sheller works steady, accepting one ear at a time – as fast as it can be fed – without ever plugging. 

     Reminding us that it is not only fun to work on well-made equipment, but that agriculture has a rich and long tradition of innovation and craftsmanship going back many, many, many generations.

Jim & Megan

Click here for Our Wood Prairie farm Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.


Shelling Organic Dakota Ivory Corn on Wood Prairie Farm. Jim having fun with a well-working machine. Watch the short video.

Organic Dutch Yellow Onion. Conquering the world trend of increasing blandness.
Special Offer: FREE Sack of Red or Yellow Organic Onions.

         Last Summer was a banner year for onions in Maine.  Wood Prairie Farm crops of both our Organic Dutch Yellow Onions and our Organic  Rossa di Milano Onions produced very well.  This year the onions have a particularly good and pleasing flavor .

    Now we’d like to share our Organic Onion Bounty with you!  Get a FREE 2 lb. Sack of Organic Dutch Yellow Onions  or  Organic Rossa di Milano Onions (Value $12.95) – your Choice of Variety - when the amount of goods in your next order totals $45 or more. FREE 2 lb. Sack of Organic Onions Offer ends Midnight Monday, January 12, 2015.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 439. Your order and the FREE 2 lb. Sack of Organic Onions must ship by 3/1/15. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call Wood Prairie Farm  (800) 829-9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fresh Vegetables Section.

Don't Miss Open Sesame - The Story of Seed!

     Sean Kaminsky's Open Sesame - The Story of Seed is an excellent film!  We think everyone will enjoy seeing it.  You may watch the trailer (2:55) now to whet your appetite. 

     Jim and our two girls first saw the film in NYC in the evening of Earth Day last Spring, after he spoke at the United Nations about the benefits of organic farming.

     Open Sesame has extensive content about our Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto lawsuit.  Sean and his film crew attended both of the Citizen Assemblies to Support Family Farmers organized in conjunction with OVM court oral arguments in NYC (2012) and Washington DC (2013).

     Open Sesame is scheduled to be released February 10th on DVD and Digitally.  The digital version is already available for advance purchase and includes the same special features as the DVD.

     While the film will also be available on Amazon, iTunes etc, by purchasing the digital or DVD directly from Sean’s website he will receive the greatest portion of the sale price.  As a talented filmmaker – and struggling artist - Sean deserves as much support as we can offer him.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.

Open Sesame. A great film you will want to watch.

Notable Quotes: Masanobu Fukuoka on Farming.

Kale and Potato Soup.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Recipe: Kale and Potato Soup

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 Dutch Yellow Onion, chopped fine

4 cloves of Red Russian Garlic, minced

1 Chantenay Carrot, chopped fine

2 pounds potatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks

1 quart water

1 bunch of curly kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Something acidic—such as fresh lemon juice or Sherry vinegar

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, turn heat to medium and add a generous glug of olive oil(enough to cover the bottom, plus a little more). Sauté the onion, stirring occasionally, until it's soft. Add the garlic, give it a few stirs, and add the carrots. Let the carrots sauté a few minutes, than add half of the potatoes and a good pinch of salt. Let the potatoes sauté for a minute, stirring to coat with oil, and then add half of the water. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and let simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Use an immersion blender or regular blender to purée the soup.  Return the purée to the pot along with the kale, the rest of the water, and a pinch of salt. Give it a stir, turn heat to medium, and cover. Cook until the kale has begun to wilt—about five minutes. Now add the other half of the potatoes, turn heat to low, and cook, covered, until the kale and the second round of potatoes are both tender. Add plenty of black pepper, a splash of lemon juice or vinegar, and taste. Add more salt, pepper, or vinegar if needed.

Our Mailbox: Water The Spuds, Getting What You Pay For.

Water The Spuds.

Dear WPF.

Hi Jim...Have you ever tried to build this Wooden Potato Box and made it work? One person says plant the potato variety that grows in whorls. Do you know which varieties do this? Searches have proven fruitless.
     Thank you for all you do and all the best to you and your kin in 2015.



WPF Replies.

     We have seen this technique but not tried it ourselves. Some of the super high yield claims seems too good to be true. The thick wood walls should keep potato roots cool and that would be helpful. One big factor in growing potatoes in containers is most folks can't comprehend just how much water potatoes need. The tendency to under-water brings down yields. Some years ago Gardener's Supply conducted a thorough container-growing potato variety trial. They found Elba performed and yielded best.
     Thanks very much for your loyalty and support.


Getting What You Pay For.

Dear WPF.

More Farmers Predicted to Go Non-GMO and Organic in 2015.  Hope it can help bring the prices down. I buy organic of the dirty dozen, but it is expensive and I am sure keeps some folks away.

WPF Replies.

     When one purchases high quality goods it is customary to expect to pay more for them. In addition, many of the costs of conventional, chemically-grown and GE food have been externalized and are not reflected in the cash register price. These externalized costs include harm to human and livestock health, damage to the environment and destruction to rural society. Also, 60% of farmers do not receive government subsidy, and this includes most organic farmers. Therefore, a strong argument can be made that the farmgate price of certified organic produce and grains actually does reflect reality and represents the true cost of producing good, healthy food. In the end, the old adage applies: "You get what you pay for."


 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm