Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                      Friday, May 15, 2015
                       Volume 21 Issue 10

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Seed & Planting Time.

     Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable & Herb Seed Rack in our Packing Room. Our seed rack serves walk-in customers and stands right outside our office between the Red Door and the dumb waiter which goes down the ten feet to the potato cellar below.
     Planting time is here. Across the line in Canada, “Victoria Day” is next Monday the 18th and that is the traditional date for gardens to be planted on both sides of the border in these parts.  We still have frost ahead of us so frost-sensitive plants like tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash have some time yet before they are ready to go in.
     Our Spring wheat has been planted.  We’ll start on planting onions, early beets and potatoes on Monday.  Now that Spring is here it is hard to believe that just five weeks ago we had a record cold -10ºF one April morning.
     Wishing you a good planting and harvest this year.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Acres USA Interview. Volumious coverage in the top alternative Ag magazine.
In-Depth Interview with Jim Gerritsen Appears in Acres USA.

        Acres USA is a journal which has been providing good information and deep background to America’s organic and sustainable farmers for four decades.  As a publisher of books in related fields, Acres has become an iconic thought-leader and is very influential with forward-thinking farmers.

    Acres USA is famous for their iconic no nonsense full-length good word interviews.  Rare in other print publications, the Acres’ interview format allows great depth and detail, which is extremely appealing to farmer-readers whose lives and livelinhoods depend on understanding the fine points.

  Jim’s recent mid-winter interview, “Defending Organic Agriculture,” lasted almost two hours.  It has just been printed in the Acres USA May issue.  The interview was conducted by Chris Walters, son of Acres’ founder Chuck Walters, and brother to Acres’ Editor Fred Walters.

    Jim’s interview trends towards the biographical beginning with that young man who starts up his $150/acre Maine farm, a pivotal spray drift incident which occurred in 1979 and other on- and off-farm-related experiences which culminate in the monumental OSGATA et al v. Monsanto lawsuit.

   "'In 1976 I was 21 years old. I had all of my possessions on the back of a 1-ton 1960 Chevy truck with a rebuilt engine and a little camper on back, all my tools and books and set out for Maine...'"

 Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Certified Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Adirondack Red Seed Potatoes.

          Adirondack Red is a recent outstanding potato introduction from Cornell University.  Sporting a beautiful smooth red-skin and pink-flesh, Adirondack Red is a mid-season variety.  It is oblong in shape, a good keeper and has very good eating quality, surpassing Cranberry Red.

     Here’s your chance to trial this bright new variety.  Get a FREE 1 lb. Sack of Adirondack Red Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes (value $11.95) on your next order where the goods total $45 or more.  Please use Promo Code WPF462. Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Your order and FREE Adirondack Red seed must ship by 6/5/15. Offer Expires 11:59p.m., Monday, May 18, so please hurry!

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

Adirondack Red.
Excellent Red/Red potato from Cornell.

Complete Our Survey. What's your favorite potato to grow?

Survey: The Best Potato to Grow?

    Please cast your vote in our new Wood Prairie Farm Survey. Tell us which potato variety you like growing best.
     Those who take our survey will be entered in a drawing and the lucky winner will recieve a FREE 5# sack of organic Hull-less oat cover crop seed.
     The winning varieties along with the winning entry will be announced in the next edition of the seed piece.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.
Worldwide Farmer Movement to Protect Seed.

     Ownership of seed has been in the able hands of farmers and the people for 10,000 years.  All of our ancestors performed the work.  They selected and protected the genetic seed resource which feeds all of humankind.  The asset of seed has always been and remains the Commons.  The people have never relinquished their right of ownership of seed.  The patenting of seed is illegitimate and represents bio-piracy and theft from the people.

     Resistance against the takeover of seed by corporate and governmental forces is the fight of our time.  Fortunately, as this inspiring and powerful article, Saving Seeds: Farmers Rise Up Against Industry-Backed Laws relates, the movement to protect our seed from expropriation is world wide and growing.  This article is must read!

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.

Universal Understanding. Worldwide, farmers understand that seed resources belong to the people.
Recipe: Maple Nut Squares.

For the crust:
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 c cold unsalted butter cut into 3/4-inch pieces

For the filling:
6 T unsalted butter
1/3 c organic maple syrup
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c heavy cream
2 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up the sides.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt until blended. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms large coarse crumbs. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched, 12-17 minutes. Set aside.

To make the filling, combine the butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat  and stir together until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the cream. Stir in pecans and pour hot filling over the crust, spreading it evenly to the edges.

Bake until filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool until firm before cutting into bars, about 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 25 small squares


Heavenly Maple Nut Squares.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Our Mailbox: Overwhelming CPB and Tactics for Fall Planting.

Overwhelming CPB.

Dear WPF.

     This year will be the 4th season we are growing your King Harry potatoes here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The first year they lived up to their billing as being resistant to Colorado Potato beetle. The 2nd year, not so much. Last year it was worse but we're trying again this year in a new location in the garden and finding much the same desire in the Colorado Potato Beetle to enjoy the King Harry crop as much as they do any other.
     I am writing to ask if you have received similar feedback from other customers. Do you know if Cornell has found this pattern? Is it unique to our area? Are the beetles simply adapting so they can also enjoy this food source? We are picking lots of beetles, eggs and alas larva (so we know we're missing a lot of eggs). We are happily seeing lots of ladybugs on the plants this year and I hope they are eating eggs and larva. Any other natural predators of these annoying beetles?

Thanks for all you do to keep our food stream healthy.

Liberty, NC

WPF Replies.

     King Harry is a traditionally bred variety (Not GMO) which exhibits high resistance to not only CPB but also Potato Leafhopper and Flea Beetles. However, resistance does not equate with immunity. I suspect you have a high population of CPBs which are overwhelming even King Harry's remarkable abilities.
     Here are two biological controls to consider for alternative control.

     1. A biological control for CPB is the parasitic fungus Beauvaria bassiana ("Nautralis O").

     2. While the formulation does not currently meet USDA-NOP standards (and thus may not be used by certified organic farmers) Bt tenebrionsis ("Novodor" also known by misc names) is effective early in the season for CPB larval stages 1-4. Novodor is used by organic farmers in Europe.


Tactics for Fall Planting.

Dear WPF.

    My experience with Rose Finn Apple fingerling and Yukon Gold in my area is that a March planting results in an early July harvest. That doesn't seem like enough time to refrigerate for a mid-August planting. Do you suggest I plant an earlier maturing variety, or dig up some new potatoes earlier in the season to save as seed for a fall planting? Also, did I understand correctly that you are shipping seed as late as July 4?


WPF Replies.

     We ship our seed potatoes ten months a year beginning with harvest in September/October and then from our underground potato storage throughout the Winter and Spring, ending the season on July 4. Folks in the North may plant spring crops until early July. For a mid August planting from tubers harvested in early July I would keep them cool (60ºF) but not in the reefer. Plant as soon as you see the tubers have broken dormancy. Best for this purpose would be a short/medium dormancy variety like Dark Red Norland. Yukon Gold are long dormancy and will require more storage time before they will sprout and grow.


 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm