Friday March 21, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Large in Pig Heaven.
Work & Some Play.
stubbornly maintains its grip in Northern Maine. An 8" snow yesterday
adds to the 16" last week and our snow banks are growing taller not
shorter. Most nights continue to hover around zero. Some seed potato
orders have been held waiting for warmer conditions. But we have all
hands on deck and are steadily sending out loads of seed potatoes
Our barnful of thirteen
Guinae Hog piglets - now five weeks old - from our three sows, romp,
tussle and feed. Their antics are a fun distraction, as is their total
oblivion that our world is colder than it's supposed to be for late
March. Do take a few minutes and watch
our new YouTube Video (3:19)
of these frolicking
organic piglets. Listen close and you'll hear Megan offering dry
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Maine Scientists
Publish Study Proving Wood Prairie Farm Organic Practices Excel.
At long last the results from a three year integrated systems approach
conducted on organic and conventional potatoes in Maine from 2007-2009
have been published in the scientific journal Plant and Soil.
research plots were in two locations in Northern Maine’s Aroostook
County: Wood Prairie Farm (identified as “WPF” and “Bridgewater”) and
Aroostook Farm, the University of Maine’s potato experiment station,
(identified as “AF” and “Presque Isle”).
The title of the important research paper is Rapeseed
rotation, compost and biocontrol amendments reduce soilborne diseases
and increase tuber yield in organic and conventional potato production
systems. The research was conducted by
of career scientists and graduate students from the fields of agronomy
and soils, plant pathology and entomology from both University of Maine
and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) lab in Orono, Maine.
The study validated many organic practices we have employed for decades
on Wood Prairie Farm involving sod and green manure crops, use of
approved biological soil inoculants for disease control on organic seed
potatoes and a long four-year crop rotation including plow down
rapeseed as a soil cleansing biofumigant. Importantly,
to the tired serial propaganda from corporate detractors of organic
yields and effectiveness of disease suppression stood up very well on
the organic plots when compared to their conventionally farmed
“WPF is an organic site characterized by yearly
organic matter inputs and a four-year rotation which ordinarily
includes a rapeseed cover crop compared to AF, which is a
conventionally managed farm with a short, two-year rotation. One of the
primary resulting differences between the sites is in the amount of
organic matter and organic C in the soils, with WPF having more than
double that of AF… This observation at WPF suggests that the inclusion
of the rapeseed crop in the four-year rotation is integral for disease
management… The combination of all of these management practices
(rotation crop, compost amendment, biological control amendments) is
perhaps the most important aspect of this study, since it provides
information on how these treatments function together in an
agricultural system, in contrast to most studies which focus on the
effects of a single type of treatment on disease suppression… Perhaps
most importantly, this research demonstrated that these treatments and
their combinations can be effective approaches for reducing disease and
increasing yield under both conventional and organic production
practices, and under a variety of cropping backgrounds and management
This valuable study is an example of thorough
research which benefits all of agriculture. It has served to
substantiate scientifically the efficacy of sound organic
Jim & Megan
Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Maine Certified Seed
Scientists and Farmer. (l.
to r.) Dr. Robert Larkin (USDA-ARS), Dr. Stellos Tavantzis (Univ. of
Maine) and Jim Gerritsen (Wood Prairie Farm) looking over a newly dug
research plot of Yukon Gold organic seed potatoes in 2009.
Balanced Food. Rep.
Chellie Pingree fights for sound food policy.
| Chellie Pingree and
the Battle to Change the Face of US Agriculture.
Chellie Pingree is the member of Congress from Maine’s First District (Southern Maine).
Back in the 1970s,
she was the first apprentice to work on an organic Maine
farm under the pioneering program established by MOFGA
Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn).
For many years Chellie farmed and ran a yarn
business on North Haven
off Maine’s coast
Over twenty years
ago she shifted her sights towards political reform and served in the
Senate. Now a
veteran and highly
respected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, she has served
Agriculture Committee and Veterans Committee. She now serves on the
the decades Chellie has maintained her
farming roots. Chellie
owns the two
hundred year old and now certified organic Turner
Farm on North Haven. Her talented family owns
Lodge Inn and Restaurant,
also located on North Haven Island. Much of the food needed
for Nebo Lodge comes
from their organic farm.
Earlier this month
Chellie was in Manhatten where she recorded her TEDx talk (14:14) on agriculture and food
This talk is MUST WATCH viewing. Grab a cup of tea and
prepare to enjoy your
next fifteen minutes.
daughter, Cecily Pingee, also of North
Haven, was the filmmaker behind the excellent Betting
the Farm beautifully relates the gripping story of Maine
organic dairy farmers who after losing their market set up their own
company called Maine’s
Own Organic Milk (MOO Milk).
Jim & Megan
Click here for
Wood Prairie Farm certified Organic Vegetable Seed
| Notable Quotes:
Ban Ki-moon on Climate Change.
by Angela Wotton
Delicious Black Bread
2 1/4 tsp active
1 1/3 c warm water (105 - 115F)
1 tsp cane sugar or brown sugar
2 T cocoa powder
2 T finely ground espresso beans
1/4 c molasses
3 tsp caraway seeds, plus more for topping
3 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp sea
2 c coarsely grated potatoes
1 1/3 c rye
3 1/4 c bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
olive oil for baking sheet
2 T buttermilk or milk
In a large mixing bowl whisk the yeast with warm water and sugar and
set aside until foamy.
a small saucepan over med-low heat, combine the cocoa, coffee,
molasses, caraway, butter, and salt. Stir constantly until just melted.
You want the mixture to be lukewarm when adding to the other
Combine the grated potatoes and molasses mixture
with the yeast mixture in the large mixing bowl. Add the flours, and
stir until you've got a soft tacky adhesive dough. Turn the dough out
on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes,
adding flour as needed, until the dough is elastic and springy. You can
also do this step using the dough hook on your mixer.
dough into a ball, rub with a bit of olive oil and place seam-side down
into an oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise a warm place for 1 -2
hours. Gently press down, with a closed fist, across the surface of the
dough. Turn dough out onto counter and shape into a round loaf. Place
on a very lightly oiled baking sheet , then cover loosely with a cloth.
Allow to rise a second time in a warm place until nearly doubled in
size, about an hour.
Uncover, brush with buttermilk, sprinkle
with a dusting of flour, 1 tsp caraway seeds, and use a serrated knife
to slash an 'X' deeply across the dough (do your best not to deflate
the loaf). Bake for 20 minutes at 425F. Lower heat to 350F and bake for
another 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place bread directly on
rack to cool.
Makes one extra-large loaf.
| Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat
Cover Crop Seed.
often sing the praises of organic Buckwheat
as a near perfect cover crop.
on poor soil with low fertility.
Buckwheat grows fast, smothers weeds, improves
soil tilth, brings up Phosphorus
from deep in the soil and decomposing buckwheat plants then make it
subsequent crops. If
left to flower
Buckwheat is a great bee forage and will produce edible Buckwheat
groats. However, do
be warned: those groats can
easily shatter, fall to the ground and become a future weed problem. We avoid this protential
problem by incorporating our plow down Buckwheat at
1-3% bloom which happens around 7-8 weeks after planting. Buckwheat is sensitive to
frost so let things
warm and don’t plant first thing in the Spring.
Always keep a sack of Buckwheat on hand and
lightly scatter some on a
harvested corner of your garden patch (4 pounds will cover 1000 square
feet). You will
like the results.
Here's your chance to earn a FREE
lbs Sack of our Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed (Value
$9.95) when the
amount of goods in your next order is $35 or more. FREE 2.5
lbs Sack of Organic Buckwheat Cover
Crop Seed offer ends Midnight Monday, March 24, 2014, so
Please use Promo Code WPF1173.
Your order must ship
2.5 lbs Sack of
Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed
entire order must ship by 5/8/14. This Offer may not be combined with
offers. Please call or click today!
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.
King of cover crops.
Our Mailbox: Doing
It Right, Fires Raging, Open High Ground.
Doing It Right.
You and Megan and your family are doing it right.
Small steps start an avalanche.
Despite entrenched government policy which
focuses benefits on one dimensional self-serving non-sustainable
agriculture, there are many, many, many thousands of organic family
farmers like us
who are producing good food and seed in an environmentally sound
manner. We are confident of the superiority of our organic systems but
every day we must paddle upstream.
the abysmal track record for accomplishing anything in DC, and the GMO
Labeling losses in California and Washington, I'm in a quandary.
World Wide Web
I would not call Prop 37 and I-522 defeats. Yes,
they were stolen elections by the lies of Biotech and Big Food but they
have mobilized the country and
served as the best fast-track teaching tool for the public we could
have hoped for. It may be that New England is now leading the way with
Maine, Connecticut and soon Vermont, and others will follow. But we
know we couldn't have made our gains out here without the West Coast
starting the GMO Labeling fires which are now raging across the country.
Open High Ground.
season running late this year?
World Wide Web
will tell. Our friend nearby in Littleton has open high ground and
plants in the earliest potatoes in Aroostook County. Only about 4 of
the last 50 years has he not got some potatoes planted in (late) April.
He's now finding it harder to plant in April. The primary pattern for
last ten years: Springs have been colder, wetter and later; and the Falls
have been warmer and wetter. We have plenty of snow now but it
can go fast in April if it warms up.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm