The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
               Friday, February 9th 2018
                         Volume 26 Issue 3


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Summer in Winter.

     Amy Gerritsen Driving Tractor While Roguing Potatoes Last Summer. 
     The snow banks are getting taller even as our days are getting longer.  This morning Ken reported that as he drove into work just before 8 o’clock the temperature on his car thermometer read -16oF when in Bridgewater village he turned off US Route 1 and onto Bootfoot Road, down near the bridge which crosses Whitney Brook, elevation 400’.  Four miles later Ken drove onto our balmy driveway at 620’ elevation and the temperature was -3ºF, proving once again that cold settles down into the valleys.  
    Yet on the other hand, in the Fall we’ve seen it raining in Bridgewater village and snowing on our farm.  And come Spring, we’re the last farm in town to lose our snow and that means we are usually a week later than the other farms in having ground dry enough to get going farming.
    Pre-grading of our potato crop is now done and the pace is picking up in shipping out orders.  Florida is done and now the southern tier states west to Texas are calling for their seed potatoes.  Spring marches northward.

 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Lumnah Acres Video Series - Potato Tower.

     Earlier this winter we took a call from an enterprising young man in neighboring New Hampshire, Al Lumnah.  Al, along with his wife, Gina, produces an enjoyable series of how-to homesteader videos under the moniker “Lumnah Acres.”  They now have over 20,000 subscribers in their virtual community and homespun videos are their medium.  Al had called wanting information on which potatoes would grow best in containers.  Jim came up from grading potatoes in the cellar to speak with Al and handed him over to Frank when he was ready to place his order.  And then Jim went back to work.

    This week we saw a spike in requests for our catalog.  When we asked those who called in, many explained they had just watched Lumnah Acres’ newly released video on potatoes.

     Al has the New Englander part down pat with his New Hampshire accent and uniform of T-shirt and Blizzard Cap.   Dog and cat lovers - there’s something in here for you, too! 

     Watch and then subscribe to Lumnah Acres and see what all the fuss is about.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Lumnah Acres Videos. Now 20,000 viewers.

Organic Oat Cover Crop. Versitile & effective.
Special Offer: FREE Organic Hull-Less Oat Cover Crop Seed.

     Aroostook County has grown oats for a long, long time.  Oats are a well-respected rotation crop for potatoes.  In decades past, horses used in farming, logging and transportation created a reliable local market for oats.  We like Organic Hull-Less Oats for two reasons.  Besides being a top notch cover crop which protects soil, if one has a mind to, one may grow Hull-Less Oats as a food crop with simple milling requirements.

     Last Summer we grew a beautiful crop of Organic Hull-Less Oats.  We believe every farm or garden ought to have a sack or two of Organic Hull-Less Oats on hand so that when a crop is harvested, the ground may immediately be planted back to a fast growing oat cover crop which will really help the soil.

    Now you may be our guest and receive a FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack of Organic Hull-Less Oat Cover Crop Seed (Value $9.95) when your next order totals $59 or more. FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack of Organic Hull-Less Oat Cover Crop Seed Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, February 12, so please don’t delay!

     Please use Promo Code WPFF420. Your order and FREE Sack of Organic Hull-Less Oat Cover Crop Seed must ship by May 5, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please click today!

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

(Mostly) Annual Ritual - Shoveling Snow From Packing Shed Roof Valley.

     The lesson we’ll pass on to those who may end up in snow country is to keep your roof steep (minimum 6/12 pitch) and avoid valleys.   We have decades of proof that valleys have an uncanny ability to collect deep snow drifts.

     Our buildings have metal roofs and all but this one stubborn valley, pictured here, lose their snow without any effort on our part.  These photos tell the story of the recent night-time effort by Caleb and his friend Sam Sargent to battle a five-foot drift in our one deep valley.  After the boys dump the snow, the seven-foot-tractor-mounted snow blower sends the snow flying forty feet into the nearby woods.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.

Annual Winter Olympics. Shoveling snow from stubborn roof valley.

Notable Quotes: Chief Joseph on Freedom.

Recipe: Easy Oat Bread.
1 1/4 c warm water (105-115F)
2 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
1 T honey
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
2 T butter, melted, for brushing

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit, 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.
Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. You can finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan. Brush on remaining melted butter on top of loaf. Serve warm, slathered with butter and your favorite jam.

There is no kneading involved with this bread and it only rises for 30 minutes. Super quick and easy.  It is moist with a crispy crust and very yummy. It's a keeper.

- Megan       

Easy Oat Bread.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Mailbox: History of Organic Farming.

I thought organic farming started many thousands of years ago.


Of course there is a historical link, going back 8,000 - 10,000 years to the dawn of agriculture, to the superior reform farming system which has come to be known as "organic farming" (likely named for organic farming's foundational understanding of the importance of 'organic matter' in soil). Organic farming had its start 125 years ago. At that time important soil building elements of successful traditional agriculture were being left behind by 'modern agriculture' where purchased inputs-in-a-sack were falsely considered superior over maintaining a focus on soil health. One farmer I know has called organic farming "80% good traditional farming practices." I think that's a fair assessment and provides that historical link. It's that remaining 20% which makes organic farming a unique, effective alternative farming system.


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