Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                   Friday, February 12th 2016
                       Volume 24 Issue 04

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Campaign. Thanks!


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Longer Days Now.

     Organic Farmers Attending the Second Agrarian Elders Gathering Held Last Month in Big Sur CA. The farmers attending were: (Kneeling, front row, left to right)  Andrea Hazzard, Hazzard Free Farm IL;  Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm WA;  Carly Delsignore, Tide Mill Farm ME;  Anne Lazor, Butterworks Farm VT;  Clara Coleman, ARC Farm ME. (Knelling, second row)  Nash Huber, Nash’s Organic Produce WA; Travis McKenzie, Grow the Future NM;  Tom Willey, TD Willey Farms CA;  Eliot Coleman, Four Seasons Farm ME;  Kari Bernard, Green String Institute CA; Jack Lazor, Butterworks Farm VT;  Andrew Still, Adaptive Seeds OR.  (Standing, third row)  Josh Volk, Slow Hand Farm OR;  Zoe Bradbury, Valley Flora Farm OR;  Jack Algiere, Stone Barns Farm NY;  Dru Rivers, Full Bully Farm CA;  Emily Oakley, Three Springs Farm OK;  Pete Johnson, Pete’s Greens VT;  Don Bustos, Santa Cruz Farm NM;  Michael Ableman, Foxglove Farm BC;  Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seed OR. (Standing, back row)  Paul Kaiser, Singing Frogs Farm CA;  Dave Murphy (Observer), Food Democracy Now! IA;  Bob Cannard, Green String Farm CA;  Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Family Farm ME; Wood Tasch (Facilitator), Slow Money CO;  Amigo Bob Cantisano, Heaven & Earth Farm CA.  Missing:  Barbara Damrosch, Four Seasons Farm ME;  Patty Huber, Nash’s Organic Produce WA;  Zach Wolf, Locusts on Hudson Farm NY.
    Well, it was quite a week.  The weather was perfect.  The discussions were inclusive and often very moving.  The setting in Big Sur on California’s Central Coast was once again breath-taking.
    We’ll share the written report of our week when it is made available.

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

Aeriel View of Esalen Institute, Big Sur CA. The "Murphy House" we met and stayed in is on the water just out of view to the left.
Hitting the Books: The Reading List for the Agrarian Elders.

     The concept of the Agrarian Elders Gathering  -  collecting and sharing the knowledge of almost one thousand years of organic farming experience – was the brain child of organic farmers Michael Ableman and Eliot Coleman crossed with extraordinary Esalen Institute Center for Theory and Research founder and leader Michael Murphy.

   The first Agrarian Elders Gathering was held in Big Sur two years ago.  That event captured the attention of the New York Times.   A masterful chronicling is an excellent report written by talented Noel Vietor.  Finally, Agrarian Elder Patty Huber wrote a nice piece in her farm newsletter.

      There is great conscious of the critical need to generationally pass along knowledge. Therefore, this Agrarian Gathering was re-constituted to bring together a dozen of the Elders along with a dozen Youngers selected for their leadership qualities from among the next generation of organic farmers.
     As preparation for this Agrarian Elders Gathering, our friend – and longtime seed potato customer – the well-known Eliot Coleman of Four Seasons Farm on the coast of Maine, took it upon himself to create and distribute a reading list for Elders to study ahead of time. 

     Eliot’s collection of pertinent articles and studies is nothing short of stunning.  We share with you Eliot’s treasure trove below.

Eliot Coleman’s 2016 Agrarian Elders Reading List.

What are we doing? Why are we organic farmers?

Motivation? Inspiration? Goal? Wider picture? Long-term expectations?
It has been said that organic farmers “are the last beacons of light, the last autonomous independent examples of human beings who have not been co-opted by the system. Organic farmers are the only force preventing the total takeover of the food system by artificial, industrial thinking.”

Campaign for Real Farming (1)
Campaign for Real Farming (2)
Sustainable Food Trust

Sustainable Soil Fertility: How best to achieve it?
Mixed Farming – Livestock plus field crops, vegetable crops, fruit, etc.
Fertility Without Fertilizers – Green manures, cover crops, crop rotation?
Sod-based Rotations
NY Times Article - Farmers put down the plow for more productive soil
Are Some Crops Synergistic to Following Crops?

Organic Fertilizers – biological? mineral? foliar? sources? Sustainability index?
The Atlantic – Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture

The Soil Microbiome – the Rhizosphere effect, no-till vs. mechanical tillage?
Long Term Organic Farming Fosters Above and Below Ground Biota
The Littlest Farmhands
Soil is the Stomach of the Plant

The Perpetual Farm – Soil organic matter? How sustainable are we in reality?
SOS: Save our Soils!
The Fungi Thing about Soil

The Future – The new realities of CRISPR and gene editing.
Genes drives offer new hope against diseases and crop pests

Sustainable Pest Control: How does it work?
A Total System Approach to Sustainable Pest Management

Soil Fertility Management and Insect Pests
Organic Agriculture Promotes Evenness and Natural Pest Control

Pests - What is going on when the crops are free from pests and diseases?
The Rhizosphere Microbiome and Plant Health
Plant Stress Hypothesis – T. C. R. White
Mineral Balance Hypothesis – Andre Alyokhin
Colorado Potato Beetle Response to Mineral Balance
Induced Defense Hypothesis – Judith Meyers
Organic Matter Hypothesis – Larry Phelan
Are Pests the Problem – or Pesticides?

Weeds – Solarization, cultivation, mulches, stale seedbed, flame weeding?

Getting The Message Out. What does the public understand?
Why everyone who is sure about a food philosophy is wrong

Is Organic Agriculture ‘Affluent Narcissism’?
How do we communicate better what we do and its importance?
Who are the best and most effective spokespeople for alternative ag?
How do we maintain the integrity our customers have come to expect?
Is “organic” already so compromised that we need a new word?
Is the Organic Label Worth Saving?
What are the pitfalls ahead in defining “organic”?
Are these beautiful lettuce and tomatoes really organic?

It’s practically impossible to define GMOs

Marketing and Distribution: The economics of small farms?
Scale of production, retail or wholesale, high workload, moderate level of
income, etc. What are their effects on the viability and longevity of family farms?
The end of organic farming might be sooner than we thought.
What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living.
Despite what you’ve heard, small farmers are doing just fine

Click here for our Wood Prairie Maine Certified Organic Seed Potatoes.

Special Offer: FREE Sack of Organic Trial-Variety Certified Seed Potatoes.

     Every year we grow new and different potato varieties in our on-farm Experimental Trial plots.  We’re looking for real winners which taste good and grow well under organic conditions.  We have high standards.  Each year we carefully evaluate varietal characteristics trying to determine whether a new variety is worthy of being grown out again and potentially one day joining our established line-up of proven, outstanding organic varieties.

  We believe there’s a little experimenter detective in all of us.  We’d help you try out a new variety and do it for FREE with this special offer.  This year’s Experimental Trials line up is Adirondack Red, Classic Russet, Huckleberry Gold, Caribou Russet, Adirondack Blue, Terra Rosa and Yukon Gem.

   Earn a FREE One-Pound Sack of Experimental-Variety-Potatoes (Value $11.95) - Your Choice of Variety - when the amount of goods in your next order totals $45 or more. FREE One-Pound Sack of Experimental-Variety-Potatoes offer ends Midnight Monday, February 15.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 480. Your order and the FREE One-Pound Sack of Experimental-Variety-Potatoes must ship by 5/6/16. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call Wood Prairie Family Farm    (207) 429-9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed Section.

Classic Russet. One of the new varieties in our Trialing Program.

Wood Prairie Potato Webinar #4 NEXT THURSDAY FEB. 18. Please cozy up to the fire and join us for this FREE online potato presentation.
 Heads Up! Next Thursday: FREE Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #4 "Of Course Before You Harvest Potatoes You've Got to Plant".

        Next Thursday February 18, 2016 at 1pm ET/10am PT we’ll be holding our next FREE Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #4 "Of Course Before You Harvest Potatoes You've Got to Plant."  To attend this FREE webinar, please Register here TODAY.

   There’s no need to travel anywhere to attend our webinars!  Enjoy them from the warmth and comfort of your home.  Our webinars are easy going and tend be full of good potato information and plenty of stories with a few digressions here and there.  They run about an hour in length. Our Live Chat function allows you to type in your questions or comments to us in real time.  So come join in the fun.  We guarantee you’ll learn something new with each webinar in our Wintertime series.

   In case you’ like to watch, we’ve archived our past webinars.  Here’s where you may find them:

Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #1  Butte (Say “Beaut”-iful)

Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #2  So THAT’S How They Multiply Seed Potatoes

Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #3  Why All This Hullabaloo About Efficiency at Harvest?

Jim & Megan

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

Notable Quote: Robert F. Kennedy on Extremists.

Successful BarnRaiser Concluded. The Gerritsen family is grateful for everyone's support. Thank you!.
 We Did It! Successful BarnRaiser Campaign Now History!

     Thanks to everyone!  Our son Caleb’s BarnRaiser crowdfunding campaign - Keep This Organic Legacy Growing: Wood Prairie Family Farm - was a rousing success.

   As we transition our farm to our children, it’s apparent they need a helping hand getting off to a good start with things like a new mobile-friendly webstore and improved and reliable internet service for the web-based business.  Food and Farm crowdfunder Barnraiser offered the perfect opportunity to let the entire Wood Prairie community know of the need.

  Your generosity pushed Caleb’s campaign to 125% of the original goal of $15,000.  A remarkable $18,730 was contributed by 280 Barnraisers!

   Additionally, some folks choose to mail in their contributions directly, and those continue to trickle in.  Further donations are gratefully accepted and may be mailed directly and payable to Caleb Gerritsen (Wood Prairie Family Farm, 49 Kinney Road, Bridgewater, Maine 04735).  Thanks so much!

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Recipe: Corn Chowder.

6 ears fresh corn (or frozen or canned)
1/2 c chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 c chopped sweet pepper
1 T cooking oil
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 c cubed, peeled Yukon Gold potato (1 medium)
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c milk

If using fresh corn, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs - you should have about 3 cups.

In a large saucepan cook onion and sweet pepper in hot oil until onion is tender but not brown. Stir in chicken broth and potato. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in corn. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes more or until potato and corn are tender, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl combine flour, salt, and pepper. Stir milk into flour mixture; add to corn mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. If desired, garnish each serving with parsley.

Makes about 5 1/2 cups

Sensational & Delicious Corn Chowder.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm