Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                     Friday, April 28th 2017
                        Volume 25 Issue 08


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    A Potato Life.

     Carts Full of Wood Prairie Family Farm Organic Seed Potatoes. With 1 pound bags on the top shelf, 2½-pound bags on the middle shelf and 5-pound bags on the bottom shelf each one of our twenty varieties gets their own cart. Some varieties need more than one cart to hold a week's demand.
     At the end of one week we systematically pull potatoes out of our 38ºF underground storage, fill and weigh the bags of Organic Seed Potatoes and load them onto the carts. Then early the next week a co-worker will act as "picker" and will "tub up" orders for the "boxers" to double-check for accuracy, then box up and tape closed before they're sent off to the Post Office or Fedex Ground for delivery in all 50 States.
     We repeat this process and push out thousands of bags every week beginning in January. Come May, the orders slow while we shift our focus over to farming and planting our new organic potato crop. However, the orders continue to arrive daily and we ship until our potato supply is finally exhausted on the 4th of July.
     With the first newly dug potatoes in September, we'll begin this process anew and once again ship out of our potato storage for the following nine months.
     That's our potato life and a good life it is. It's good we like potatoes.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

Potato Protectors of Peru. Andean farmers in Peru, Equador and Bolivia developed potatoes into a valuable food crop beginning 7,000 years ago.
The Potatoes on Mars Project.

     The Martian, the recent Matt Damon science fiction Hollywood movie tells the tale of a heroic American astronaut, stranded on the planet Mars who – spoiler alert! - cleverly decides to grow himself a crop of potatoes to prevent starvation. 

    We saw The Martian at a local big-screen movie theater one memorable Sunday afternoon during 2015 potato harvest to celebrate Megan’s birthday.  Our family all agreed it’s a good movie and well worth watching.

     Now scientists back on earth, associated with CIP, the International Potato Center in Peru, decided to see if they can succeed at growing potatoes under harsh Mars-like conditions.  This article from CIP explains:

The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth. This Phase Two effort of CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016 when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima based upon designs and advice provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Ames Research Center (NASA ARC), California…

The CubeSat houses a container holding soil and the tuber. Inside this hermetically sealed environment the CubeSat delivers nutrient rich water, controls the temperature for Mars day and night conditions and mimics Mars air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Sensors constantly monitor these conditions and live streaming cameras record the soil in anticipation of the potato sprouting.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes.

     Yes,  Huckleberry Gold is one of our favorite and new potato varieties.  Yet sadly, this Spring may be your last chance to get the great new variety Organic Huckleberry Gold from us for a year or two.  Authorities at the Maine Department of Agriculture failed to honor our request for an exemption to allow us to plant this year an older – but vigorous and high quality - seed lot of Huck Gold.  Other good seed of this variety is rare as hen’s teeth!  So now it will take us awhile to multiply up a sufficient supply of potatoes from minitubers before we have enough Huckleberrys in the future to sell.
     Here’s your chance to experiment and grow out a tasty supply of FREE Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes.  Receive a FREE 1 Lb. sack of our Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $49 or more. FREE Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potato Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, May 1, 2017, so please act today.

     Please use Promo Code WPFF408. Your order and FREE Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes must ship by May 26, 2017. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes


Organic Huckleberry Gold. One of the newest and best golden-fleshed potatoes.
Notable Quotes: Aldous Huxley on Reality.

Recipe: Rose Petal Granola.

4 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c walnut halves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 c dried currants
dried petals from a dozen or so small roses

1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c honey
1 egg white (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Set out two rimmed baking sheets.

Combine the oats, walnuts, salt, pepper, currants and half of the rose petals in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir in the honey. When thoroughly combined, pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. If you like clumpier granola, stir in the egg white. Divide the mixture equally between the two baking sheets and spread into a thin layer.

Bake, stirring a couple time along the way, for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until the granola is toasty and deeply golden.  Remove from the oven and press down on the granola with a metal spatula - you'll get more clumps this way. Let cool and sprinkle with remaining dried rose petals. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes about 7 cups.


Source: 101cookbooks.com

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Grains

Rose Petal Granola.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Mailbox: Using Organic Trigger.

Using Organic Trigger.


Quick question...I listened to your potato podcast on Farmer to Farmer and got a lot out of it. Thanks for doing it. I ordered some Trigger and I was wondering how you go about applying it efficiently. We usually get in about 1000 pounds of seed potatoes and didn't know whether I needed to green sprout them or not. I would rather not but, I would appreciate any suggestions you may have when using it.

Milk, MA

We like Organic Triggrr because it increases tuber set, tuber quality and uniformity. It must be applied after the tubers have broken dormancy and have begun growing.

To use Organic Triggrr we run our potatoes over an old wooden "roller table" (a manufactured conveyor-line-like inspection table which has 2.5" diameter 'rolls' which flip the potatoes over so both sides are repeatedly exposed) and have two sprayer nozzles applying the Triggrr (plus some other additions like hydrolyzed fish and powdered kelp).

A poor-man's alternative is a simple belt conveyor to which you attach a spring-door-spring crossways to the belt (taters hit the spring and then flip over exposing the former bottoms).

A backpack sprayer - like the Solo - would do a good job wetting the tubers.

Here's an easy alternative to using roller or belt 'tables.' If you had two plastic Tulip crates:

     1) Pour the seed potatoes (tubers must have broken dormancy) one layer thick in one crate.
     2) Spray until visible skins are wet (3 seconds?)
     3) Pour wet tubers into the second Crate.
     4) Spray again to get the side you missed the first time.

A final possible alternative to the roller table or the crate technique would be to build a Hand Grading Table (Here are the plans for building a Hand Grading Table from our first issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece twenty-two years ago.)

Dump potatoes onto the top half of the table, spray tubers. Roll the tubers over down to the bottom half of the table, and spray a second time.
Let tubers dry out of strong strong sunlight.

Good Luck!


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