Prairie Seed Piece
April 20th 2018
26 Issue 8
Issue of The Wood
No Spring in Sight.
Aroostook County, Maine,
Potato Harvest. Circa 1940.
by Jack Delano (1914-1997) employed by the Farm Security
Administration. The FSA was a New Deal Federal agency tasked
with documenting and combating rural poverty. Aroostook
County was one of the regions talented Mr. Delano spent his time
gasoline engine mounted on the “potato digger” directly behind the
farmer. This engine powered the digger-lag-bed which
significantly minimized the draft required from the horses, cutting
down their fatigue. Gearing on the engine also allowed the
lags to be sped up in the event of wet harvest conditions, allowing
more vigorous shaking of the mud through the lags.
ground lay 11-peck cedar potato barrels which each hold 165 pounds of
potatoes. While the West was still picking into burlap sacks
- which had to be hefted and re-hefted numerous times - Aroostook
pioneered the use of wooded potato barrels which could be hoisted with
a grapple onto trucks and rolled into position on the truck and in the
potato house before being dumped out and down through chutes into bins
time many Aroostook County towns had a barrel mill and each would build
many tens of thousands of barrels for local use every year.
Bridgewater Barrel was one of the last barrel mills to operate and 40
years ago Jim worked as a cooper (barrel-maker) making potato barrels.
we’re not thinking of potato harvest but instead feverishly shipping
out tons and tons of seed potatoes and wondering what has happened to
our Spring. So far, snow melt has been retarded by cold
temperatures and additional snowfall. Normally, by this date,
our fields are 2/3 to 3/4s free of snow. Today, snow still
covers 99.9% of our fields. With a sunny five days in the
forecast beginning Sunday, and temps predicted in the 40s and 50s, we
should look a lot more like Spring by May 1 than we do today.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Prairie Family Farm
|Location of USA's Certified
Where the Organic Farmers Are.
The vast, vast majority of U.S. "organic operations" are Family
Organic Maine Certified Reddale Seed Potatoes.
is an excellent no-nonsense, early,
high-yielding red-skin white-flesh potato. Don’t let the
beautiful blossoms and modest sized-plant lull you into imagining
Reddale is a light weight. In reality, Reddale is a solid and
reliable workhorse that has earned its keep on Wood Prairie Family Farm
for the past 30 years. Reddale stores well.
But why take our word for it
when you can see for yourself and it won’t cost you a dime?
Earn a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic
Maine Certified Reddale Seed Potatoes
(Value $11.95) when
your next order totals $59 or more. FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic
Maine Certified Reddale Seed Potatoes Offer
ends 11:59 PM
on Monday, April 23, so please act right now!
Please use Promo Code WPFF425
. Your order
and FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic
Maine Certified Reddale Seed Potato Offer
must ship by May
5, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please
Here for for Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Reddale. Hard-working early Red potato.
Vanderburg, Potato Packing Shed. Tom and his wife
relocated to Aroostook County in the last year from Colorado where he
worked as a mechanic. Interestingly, one of his job
application references turned out to be one of our long time seed
customers in Colorado. Like the rest of us, Tom is ready for
the snow to melt and Spring to arrive.
Potato Packing Shed. Ken’s parents were Rangers in the
wilderness Baxter State Park, which surrounds
Katahdin. So he grew up in a park cabin without
electricity and had to drive his snowmobile eight miles every morning
to meet the school bus. He works with us in the winters and
during the summer he grows garlic, cuts firewood and builds hiking
trails near Katahdin Woods and Waters National
Office. Frank is our longtime IT manager and keeps our
Wood Prairie computer network humming. He is a computer
genius and remains best friends with Caleb’s older brother, Peter (who
is down in Portland building houses). The Allen clan has lived and
worked in Aroostook County for over 150 years. Frank works
with Megan in the office and helps Jim put together these Wood
Prairie Seed Piece e-newsletters.
Nickerson, Office. Molly has been our family
friend for 40 years and she’s often the one who answers your phone
calls into the office. She has lived in the same
house on the U.S. Route One end of Bootfoot Road her entire
life. Most of her kids worked for us growing up, and Caleb
went through school with her son Kody beginning in
kindergarten. In the Summer, Molly likes fishing and Whitney
Brook is just fifty feet behind her back door.
Caleb Gerritsen, Potato House. In honor of
Patriot’s Day (Monday, day of the Boston Marathon) school was out this
week for Spring Break. So Amy went to work and helped Megan
in the office and here, is helping her brother, Caleb, put up a pallet
of potatoes along with Jim. As an athletic freshman, Amy can
now lift a 50-pound-carton of potatoes head high and is able to build
up pallets square and true. Next month she takes “driver training”
(though she’s been driving tractors and pickups here on the farm since
she was nine).
Supervisor. A real professional makes working hard look
easy. Only to the undiscerning eye might real brilliance be
confused with laziness. In the morning, after hundreds of
orders have been sorted for the day’s shipping, it takes often
unrecognized discipline and vision to pace oneself, rest one’s eyes and
be ready to deal with future crises. In this high stress
work, a modern feline must always be at the top of his game.
For youthful old-timer Chub, this often means perching himself squarely
in the middle of the hubbub, on the top shelf of the
pigeon-hole-orders-cabinet. From here, transmitting a calming aura,
Chub effortlessly monitors work flow and remains able to
instantaneously issue dazzling directives whenever he deems it
Fear. 10th Anniversary of Monsanto Expose'.
|Monsanto: "Every Time We Win We
April marks the 10th anniversary of the landmark
expose' on Monsanto entitled "Harvest of Fear."
For many - including farmers in our 'OSGATA
et al v. Monsanto' federal lawsuit launched seven years ago
- this must
read article served as an important eye-opener to the
diabolical nature of self-serving Monsanto.
I had my own personal baptism with malevolent Monsanto twelve years
earlier in 1996 when I attended the National
Forum on Insect Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
Slick, way over-confident Monsanto marketing personnel were in
attendance promoting and defending their fatally flawed
insecticide-gene-spliced transgenic Bt crops to stake holders and sober
scientists at the pinnacle of their field of
entomology. It was quite the spectacle.
We observed first-hand self-deceived Monsanto's attempt to lord over
the USDA event and try to con attendees into the fictional resistance
infallibility of their GE product. History and biology would
prove over time Nature right and Monsanto wrong. This Forum
was foundational and instructional, though maybe not so much for the
intended reasons as for the illumination of Monsanto’s evil essence.
However, it was ten years BEFORE that USDA Forum - that would be back
in the mid-1980s - when visionary Pat Roy Mooney of ETC Group
gave Maine and Maritime Canadian organic farmers our first heads up
about Monsanto and their NEW
advancing, virtually-totally-unregulated contaminating technology he
termed 'genetic engineering.' As seed growers, we understood
what was in store for agriculture with the coming contamination
catastrophe created by Monsanto’s GE crops.
In more recent years, Monsanto has lied and connived their way to
referendum "victories" - that is, staving off for the time being,
mandatory GMO Labeling almost universally demanded by citizens in our
free society. Intoxicated with a misanthropic
striving towards power and control, even
breaking the law in the pursuit of greed was not beneath Monsanto.
After one such hollow election "victory," one Monsanto operative, in an
unguarded moment, let slip his frustration to the press: "Every time we win, we lose."
This phrase of hapless exasperation and galactic sanction may well earn
center stage on Monsanto's corporate tombstone.
It has now recently been announced, no doubt to Monsanto's unending
horror, mega mega food conglomerate Del
will be joining the Campbell's
Mills bandwagon in just-saying-no to GMOs.
After many decades of wicked
and despicable behavior, Monsanto is now most
often described as the world's most hated corporation.
Monsanto has absolutely earned this dubious recognition. And
it's welcome to witness justice starting to be served, at long
Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop Seed.
|Notable Quotes: Edmund Burke
Smashed Roasted Potatoes.
12-15 small Dark
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least an inch of
water. Boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are
completely tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Place the cooked potatoes on a clean dishtowel. Let them drain and sit
for a minute or two. Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it
as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand
to flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2-inch. Repeat with all of the
Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of
parchment on top of the foil. Carefully transfer the flattened potatoes
to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.
If working ahead, refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Heat oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp salt and
pour olive oil over them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of
the oil goes underneath. Roast until they are crisp and deep brown
around the edges., 30 - 40 minutes, turning over once gently with a
spatula halfway through cooking. Serve hot.
- Megan & Angie
Smashed Roasted Potatoes.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox