Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                Friday, February 3rd 2017
                       Volume 25 Issue 03


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Back Into Winter.

     Cave Apples, Pajaro Valley, California. Fruit-Crate Label Art. Circa 1920. With a recent string of mornings below zero it’s feeling more like Winter these days in Northern Maine.  Since early November we have been pre-grading our nice, big crop of organic certified Seed potatoes.  Our target is always the end-of-January to complete this massive annual winter undertaking.  After having graded over one hundred one-ton pallet-boxes, we’re virtually done - with just three boxes left to go.  Caleb’s sister, Amy – now thirteen – filmed Jim one day as he was grading Rose Gold potatoes.  Enjoy the You Tube video we made of the grading-potatoes-process later on in this issue.
   And please please please Do Not Miss reading the excellent Keynote Address – linked directly below - given by our good friend, fellow Maine farmer and organic icon, Eliot Coleman.

 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

.Eliot Coleman Delivers Powerful Keynote Defending Traditional Organic.

      One week ago, at the Mid-America Organic Association (MOA) Conference, held in Kansas City, Missouri, Eliot Coleman, the Agrarian Elder and organic farmer-leader for the past half-century, offered a rousing endorsement of the substantial and depthful values behind traditional organic agriculture.  As is typical, Eliot’s brilliant speech was both direct and piercing.   Along with accolades for the authentic, he rightly criticized the growing number of industry and governmental sell-outs whose greed-motivated behavior threatens the very foundation and survival of real organic farming.

    Eliot’s powerful speech, The Adventure of Organic Farming, brought the crowd of farmers and organic advocates to their feet with a sustained, standing ovation.  Please, everyone, consider this address a MUST READ.  We are now at an important crossroads.  If you and your family value organic, and want to see it survive for generations to come, educating yourself to the issues at hand will best be accomplished by reading Eliot’s speech and sharing copies with your friends, far and wide.

Jim, Megan & Caleb

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Carola Seed Potatoes.

     Many of our customers - when asked which would be their top three potato varieties in terms of taste and eating quality - would include Carola in the group.  When you combine that great taste with high yields and pretty much trouble-free growing year-in, year-out, you come to understand why this German golden-fleshed variety is one of our top selling varieties.  With a discernibly moister and creamier texture than Yukon Gold, if you have not yet grown Carola, you really should give it a try this year.
     We’ll make experimenting with Carola easy for you today.  You may earn yourself a FREE 1 lb. sack of our Organic Maine Certified Carola Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $59 or more. FREE Organic Maine Certified Carola Seed Potatoes - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, February 6, 2017, so better hurry.

     Please use Promo Code WPFF404. Your order and FREE Organic Maine Certified Carola Seed Potatoes must ship by May 7, 2017. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes.


Video: Grading Rose Gold Potatoes on Wood Prairie Family Farm in Maine.

Aroostook County Potato Grading Line. How we clean, grade and sort spuds.

Historical Timeline of New Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

        Back in August, 2016, the people of the United States were the recipients of a remarkable donation of 87,000 acres of forestland from Bert’s Bees dynamo Roxanne Quimby.  The donated Northern Maine forest block is located just east of Maine’s most famous mountain, Katahdin, and the 200,000-acre Baxter State Park which surrounds and protects the monolith.

    Soon, by Presidential decree, the beautiful parcel became one of America’s newest additions of the National Park system.  It was designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

    Now, our friends at the Natural Resources Council of Maine have created a valuable National Monument Timeline which provides good background.  The history of the Katahdin region is really quite fascinating, so do take a look.

Caleb & Jim

Click Here to our Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes

New Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Plan your visit now.

Recipe: Almost Flourless Valentine's Day Chocolate Beet Cake.

9 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter
6 eggs, separated
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 c pureed cooked beets, about 5 medium

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine chocolate and butter in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and well-blended. Whisk yolks and sugar into chocolate mixture, whisking well. Stir in the pureed beets and spelt flour.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into 6 - 8 greased cups. Bake 15 minutes. Centers will jiggle slightly when done. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to garnish.


Valentine's Day Chocolate Cake.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Mailbox: Nipping Sprouts and Kennebec Good, Elba Best.

Nipping Sprouts.

Hi Jim,
Question: Yukon Gold potatoes we harvested this summer are already getting long sprouts. should we rub off the sprouts? Would that help them last longer through the winter? Or would it cause them to generate yet more sprouts?


Yes, rub off the sprouts. And keep rubbing the new sprouts off every couple of weeks until you use them up.


Kennebec Good, Elba Best.

I've been growing Kennebec potatoes for a few years now and love them!  I am, however, having trouble with storing them washed without them degrading quickly. Their skins are so thin taht they bruise up easily when run through the root washer. I'm curious if you have any insights into storing Kennebecs for wholesale sales in the winter. Thanks.


     It's best not to wash a ny potato prior to storage. Washing sets off enzyme activity which causes potatoes to decline in quality. In our organic potato business we take this to the extreme and never wet-wash potatoes feeling to maintain utmost quality and nutrition. Potatoes should only be washed immediately prior to cooking. Instead, we clean our potatoes using motorized rubber and nylon brushers (Haines Manufacturing, Presque Isle, Maine) which effectively buff clean the potatoes, leaving a thin patina of soil which protects the tubers until they are rinsed off right before cooking.
     We grew Kennebecs for many years and they have some very good qualities. However, we found that the Kennebec thin-skin problem is likely to occur when they are grown in any soil which doesn't have pretty high organic matter. After trialing side-by-side for several years we opted to drop Kennebec and now instead grow as organic Maine certified seed the Cornell variety Elba (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/391/certified-organic-seed-potatoes). Elba not only has thicker-skin, but we believe it tastes at least as good as Kennebec and is also superior in numerous other production attributes including higher tuber set, better disease resistance, avoidance of shoulder greening and overall ruggedness.


 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox