The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
                    Friday, May 4th, 2018
                      Volume 27 Issue 9


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  From Snow to Mud.

     First Muddy Boots Since Potato Harvest.  The snow lasted late this year but when it finally melted it sure went fast.  All of a sudden the snow is gone and apparently so are our frosty nights.  As the last field snow melted we had planned on frost seeding clover and grass into our ten-acre field of Winter Rye, which we planted on last year’s potato ground immediately after the completion of harvest in early October.  To frost seed a winter grain, one gets up early in the morning and travels with a light tractor across the field spinning on the seed while the ground is still frozen and solid. 
      This quirky year we’re having to hoof it, which amounts to good exercise and is getting us in shape to climb Katahdin again come July.  95% of the Rye field is dry enough to support a human walking across it.  That remaining 5% is still water-saturated low spots which not only don’t support a farmer but by the obvious recent tracks hasn’t been supporting deer or moose either.  We are definitely in muddy boot season now.  We could be on the ground for the first time ten days from now.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine

Roaring Prestile Stream. Water level is normally six feet below bridge.

Choppy Meduxnekeag River. Wet suits for trouble ahead!
Maine Tales.  Caleb’s Wild Kayak Trips.   Meduxnekeag River, Maine. Circa 2018.

     With a vast Winter snow pack which piled up deep, stayed late and then went quickly, Northern Maine streams and rivers have been running at full capacity and then some.  Two weeks ago, in our last Wood Prairie Seed Piece, we reported we had virtually no open field ground as of April 20.  Then, the next week we had some mild days joined by heavy show-melting rains.  By Thursday, April 26, fields were suddenly three-quarters bare of snow and area waterways were cresting high. 
      The stream which flows through our woodlot feeds into the South Branch of Whitney Brook and that stream has been running very full.  The North Branch – a mile north of our farm - joins up with the South Branch southwest of Bridgewater village and passes through town as ‘Whitney Brook.’  That Thursday, a wild and fast Whitney Brook crested in the village just a foot below the bridge on US. Route 1.   Whitney was so high it had temporarily swallowed up the nearby Fire Pond at the beginning of Bootfoot Road, adjacent to the bridge and the Town Office.  Twenty-four hours later, Whitney Brook had dropped down two feet from its peak.
      Prestile Stream, a bigger watershed which drains northeast Bridgewater and much of Blaine, Mars Hill and Easton townships, joins up with Whitney Brook near the USA/Canada border at the newly fortified Bridgewater Border crossing.  From there, the Prestile crosses into Canada and joins up with the St. John River which eventually flows into the Bay of Fundy at the city of St. John, New Brunswick.
     Caleb took the first video of the roaring Prestile Stream (0:15) in Robinsons on Thursday April 26 at peak flow.  Robinsons is a small potato farming village within the Town of Blaine, eight miles from Wood Prairie Family Farm.  For most of the year the water flows gently over the concrete dam.  Caleb and his adventurous friends had to put in their kayaks downstream of the bridge in the video because in their kayaks they couldn’t fit under the bridge.  Normally it takes two hours to kayak downstream from the Robinsons dam to the bridge by the Border.  This time around the same trip in high & fast water took thirty minutes.
      On Saturday, April 28, the boys went kayaking down the Meduxnekeag River after additional heavy rains Friday night.  The Meduxnekeag is the next watershed south of our Whitney Brook watershed.  The Meduxnekeag River is also the location of a major regional canoe race scheduled for the first Saturday in May, after the high water flow has settled down some.  The route the boys took overlapped about two-thirds with the Meduxnekeag canoe race route.   As you will see in this bracing second video – taken with a Go-Pro-helmet-camera mounted atop Caleb’s head as they kayaked the choppy Meduxnekeag (2:04) – the boys hit rough water and soon all kayaks had capsized.   
       Of course, the river water was frigid, in the mid-to-low 30sF.  Within ten seconds of immersion, even with thigh-length wetsuits on, it was difficult for them to keep limbs functioning.  They had to swim out of the current, hold tight onto their paddles and submerged kayaks and then claw their way back onto solid ground.  The river was deep enough that they never touched bottom. 
    In the end, no worse for wear and young and resilient, the boys warmed up, got back into their kayaks and completed their river run as planned.  Today, we heard on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio that there is flooding going on now downstream on the St. John River between Fredericton and St. John.   One resident who was interviewed characterized this week as the worst flooding he has experienced in 40 years of living along the St. John River.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Maine Certified All Blue Seed Potatoes.

     Organic-All Blue is one of the prettiest potatoes you can grow.  When the blossoms are in bloom, large lush green foliage will be highlighted by a vast sea of stunning blue flowers.  All-Blue is a reliable heirloom variety also known as “Purple Marker.”  The long tubers are a deep, dark blue with a purple flesh, the color of which keeps after cooling – particularly when baked – so you can dazzle your family with purple potato salad or blue mashed potatoes.

     Here’s your chance to earn a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $49 or more. FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potatoes Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, May 7, so please act right now!

     Please use Promo Code WPFF426. Your order and FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified All-Blue Seed Potato Offer must ship by May 18, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please click today!

Click Here for Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop and Farm Seed.

Organic All-Blue. Fun old-time heirloom potato great for Potato Salad.
Beautiful Potato Diversity.

Andean Potatoes in Huancavelica, Peru. Jaw-dropping photo by Martin Martin and shared by Avant Gardens, a retail nursery and garden design business in North Dartmouth MA.

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Notable Quotes: Edmund Burke on Evil.

Recipe: Roasted Parsnip Fries.

2 1/2 lbs parsnips, peeled, cut into 3x1/2 strips
1 T  finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 T olive oil
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over.

Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp cumin over. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

- Megan & Angie

Delicious Roasted Parsnip Fries.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox
May the 4th Be With You