The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
               Thursday, January 18th 2018
                         Volume 26 Issue 2


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Shortage of Black Flies.

     Maine Logging Camp, Circa 1900.  
     Maine loggers have always done a lot of their work in the winter time. Logs dragged through the snow are cleaner and easier on saws at the sawmill than logs drug through the mud. Also, log drives on high-water-rivers in the Spring would soon follow Winter cutting. Plus there are very few Black Flies in the Winter to torment men in the windless woods.
     Our deep drifts of snow have settled some with a January thaw. We're busy pre-grading our crop of seed potatoes and should be done around the annual target of the end of January. We may be the only farmers around who wish for a longer Winter in order to get our work done.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
The Life of a Maine Logger.

     So what was it like in years-gone-by to live the life of a Maine logger?
      Working and living in a logging camp was hard work, for sure.   Here in Bridgewater, on the edge of the Maine North Woods, we had neighbors who used to, in their young adult years, grow potatoes in the Summer and then head into the woods in the Fall only to come out months later with mud season in the Spring. 

       The food in logging camps could be extremely good.    Whereas wages didn’t vary much from camp to camp, wise logging camp owners knew a good way to keep hold of the best workers was to offer excellent food.  While this no doubt included plenty of beans and pork and biscuits, it also meant barrels of doughnuts and buckets of hot coffee.

Maine, known fondly as 'The Pine Tree State' has a long, rich history of logging. Before gaining its statehood in 1820, Maine was part of the Massachusetts territory and was involved in the lumber trade with England. In the early days, beautiful pines were harvested from Maine’s forests to supply masts for England’s navy. Settlers to the region also used wood to build homes and other buildings in their settlements. Logging is still a thriving industry in this beautiful state today, particularly in the northern regions.

This article offers an interesting glimpse into the hard-working life of the iconic Maine logger.

Jim & Caleb

Click Here for our Organic Maine Potatoes for the Kitchen.

Days Gone By: Great Northern Paper Mill, Millinocket, Maine. View of 21 million logs.

Organic All-Blue. The heirloom potato aka "Purple Marker."
Special Offer: FREE Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes.

     Way back the heirloom variety Organic All-Blue was also known as “Purple Marker.”  It received this nickname from potato breeders who would use it to clearly separate plots of promising white potatoes from one another.  Little did those potato breeders imagine the tremendous future popularity of this original blue-skin blue-flesh potato, much less  its legendary level of healthful antioxidants.
    Now you can earn yourself a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $59 or more. FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, January 22 , so don’t delay!

     Please use Promo Code WPFF419. Your order and FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes Offer must ship by May 5, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please click today!

Click Here for for Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

What's New in This Year's Maine's Seed Company Catalogs?

     Longtime Portland Press Herald garden writer Tom Atwell recently reviewed new offerings in Maine’s four well-known seed companies – Fedco, Johnny’s, Pinetree and Wood Prairie - in the article he entitled “Garden Catalog Dreamin’ on Such a Winter’s Day.”   

     Tom highlighted our new Potato Plant Protection Kit.

The Organic Potato Plant Detective, a new product from Wood Prairie Family Farm in Aroostook County, won a national Green Thumb Award from the Direct Gardening Association. Company founder Jim Gerritsen, who recently turned the operation over to his son Caleb, said the new product stemmed from a discussion the two had about how they use two varieties, King Harry and Island Sunshine, as bellwethers to figure out problems in a potato field.

King Harry, which has hairy leaves, is resistant to insect damage and Island Sunshine is disease resistant. So if most potatoes in a field are doing poorly, but King Harry is strong, the problem is insects. If Island Sunshine is doing well, the problem is disease.

     As always with Tom's writing, it's an interesting read.


Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

Wood Prairie Potato Plant Detective. The new Green Thumb Award winner.

Organic Superior to Conventional Farming. By most important metrics organic is the hands down winner.
Yes Science is Proving Organic is Superior.

     But why has there been confusion over the fact of the superiority of organic farming?  Here’s one big reason: the decade’s long orchestrated disinformation campaign concocted by highly-motivated profit-minded detractors of organic farming like monopolist Monsanto.  Their relentless methodology has been to denigrate organic at every turn and to paint organic as if it were nothing more than a marketing scam.   I believe they call that wishful thinking.

     The truth is organic farming was started 100 years ago as a reform movement dedicated to improving soil heath and in thereby food quality.  Organic pioneers held serious concerns that at great peril, the developing 'modern agriculture,' ignored the importance of improving soil in growing good food.

     Now a growing wave of peer-reviewed scientific studies are proving what we knew all along: the organic pioneers were right.  Soil-based organic farming offers superior results for food and the environment.  Plus its talent for sequestering carbon is essential for planetary health.

     Main stream farm magazine American Vegetable Grower reports.

So where does science come down on organics? There have been many studies over the years to find out just that. American Vegetable Grower® reached out to leading production researchers to share the studies they find most significant. Some of these studies date back multiple years, but have withstood the test of time...

The research team, led by L.E. Drinkwater, who was with the Rodale Institute at the time and is now at Cornell University, conducted detailed micro-plot studies using a tracer to follow nitrogen. The study showed differences in how nitrogen is partitioned from organic vs. mineral sources, with more legume-derived nitrogen immobilized in microbial biomass and soil organic matter (SOM) than fertilizer-derived nitrogen.

The results show even in the study’s maize and soybean agro-ecosystems, plant-species composition and litter quality influence SOM turnover markedly.

“Greater retention of both carbon and nitrogen suggests that use of low carbon-to-nitrogen residues to maintain soil fertility combined with increased temporal diversity restores the biological linkage between carbon and nitrogen cycling in these systems and could lead to improved global carbon and nitrogen balances,” the researchers concluded.

Most especially coming from farm-chemical-ad-reliant AVG this report is a sign of enormous changes now occurring.


Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop & Farm Seed.

Notable Quotes: Jefferson on the Future.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Cake.

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c roasted or canned pumpkin
3 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sugar. Add butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Fold in pumpkin. Add wet ingredients to dry all at once, whisk just until no lumps remain.
Divide batter in half. Add melted chocolate and cocoa powder to half the batter; stir to combine. Alternately add batters to pan. Using a knife, swirl through batter. Bake 50-60 minutes until cake has risen and crackled. Let cool 20 minutes.


Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Swirl Cake.
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