Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                  Friday May 16, 2014

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Snow Behind Us.

     Northern Maine Bulls Eye Receives 140” of Winter Snow.  Recent late Spring snows in Colorado, New Mexico and the Midwest have proved just how fickle May can be.  While May snow in Maine is rare, we still clearly remember 1991 as the year when we received 4” of snow on May 23 – back when Springs were early and after we had finished planting our potato crop.  Our old-timer neighbors who had experienced this snow occurrence before, taught us that snow covering a planted potato field was in reality, ‘poor man’s fertilizer.’  They were right.  Translated, we believe the coating of slow-melting-snow conserves every last drop of water and in doing so serves to encourage the potato plants to increase ‘tuber set’ (the number of tubers per hill).  A ‘high set’ is always the foundation of a bin-busting crop. 

    In Maine it's a late Spring by every measure.  Seven days ago, the soil dried enough so we could first begin to work our fields.  We’ve now planted our Roblin Milling Wheat and our Hull-less Oats.  Also planted yesterday was our crop of red and yellow onions from transplants.

    The soil has been cold and behind schedule.  Just yesterday the morning soil temperature hit 45ºF for the first time this year.  With several days worth of showers in the forecast, we’re expecting we’ll be able to begin planting potatoes late next week after it dries out and the soil warms up some more.  Again this year, as for the past fifteen years, one of the safest bets around is that come Memorial Day weekend we’ll be in the field planting our potatoes.

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

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
Jackson County Oregon Primed to Protect Farmers and Establish GE Crop Ban.
     History is in the making and all eyes are on southern Oregon’s Jackson County.  Next Tuesday, May 20, Jackson County citizens will vote on a local  initiative - known as Measure 15-119 - aimed at providing local family farmers with justice and protection. 

   At issue are local family farmers - including members of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) - whose seed crops are being contaminated by genetically engineered (GE) pollution from arrogant Swiss Biotech giant Syngenta.  The ‘Our Family Farms Coalition’ website contains an effective television spot (0:31) and a convincing radio ad (1:00) featuring local farmers.  Don’t miss them!

   This historic local control GE ban in a major seed growing region is a defensive measure by a coalition of 150 courageous Jackson County farmers, the Jackson County Grange, over 350 businesses and committed local citizens determined to protect family farmers' right-to-farm and their livelihoods. Meanwhile - as has become the despicable pattern seen elsewhere - RECORD AMOUNTS of corporate campaign dollars are flooding into Oregon to defeat this measure.  This outside corporate money is from self-serving, out-of-state, multinational Biotech and chemical companies – like Monsanto and Syngenta - determined to frighten voters by spreading lies, disinformation and scare tactics against the measure.

  Voting by mail closes today.  Options to vote still remaining beyond today are dropping ballots in specific 24-hour drop boxes and turning out on Election Day.  Jackson County lies on the California border and surrounds county seat Medford and nearby Ashland.

  These good folks and allies battling Biotech bullies need our help in purchasing last minute media ads.  If you are able, please hit their DONATE button and help honest Oregon family farmers gain justice and defeat the international Biotech cartel. Thanks!

Jim & Megan

Click Here for  our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed.


Jackson County Vote. Grassroots effort to protect family farmers.

Phil Howard Chart: Corporate Takeover of Organics.

Click on Image to Enlarge


Divest Monsanto. Be sure your portfolio supports your values.
Coalition Supports Divestiture of Monsanto Stock.
    Because of its dark 110-year history, Monsanto has understandably earned the public’s distain.  Monsanto is infamous as the manufacturer of Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs and Roundup herbicide and many of today’s genetically engineered (GE) crops.

    Many of us long ago made the commitment to have nothing to do with Monsanto.  On Wood Prairie Farm we do not buy from Monsanto and we will not sell to Monsanto. Twice, Monsanto has attempted to buy from us, but we prevented them.

     It is a fact that today many mutual funds do hold Monsanto stock.  Without knowing it, you may be inadvertandly supporting Monsanto because of hidden stock holdings.

    Currently, Monsanto is valued at $60 billion in the marketplace and with 525 million shares of Monsanto stock outstanding, the three largest mutual fund shareholders, Vanguard, Fidelity and State Street own nearly 16% of Monsanto stock collectively, making them the largest public owners of Monsanto stock.

  Led by our allies at Food Democracy Now! a coalition of dedicated organizations is urging Americans to divest themselves of Monsanto stock. Coordinated Monsanto Divestiture Events in seven major U.S. cities were held one week ago on May 9.

   Please support this effort by pledging to divest Monsanto stocks now.  Thanks!

Jim & Megan

Click Here For Our Wood Prairie Garden Tools Which Get the Job Done.

Notable Quotes: Wendell Barry on Joy.

Delightful Salted Rye Cookies.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Recipe: Salted Rye Cookies

1 c butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
Sea salt
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 1/2 c Rye Flour
3 T Turbinado sugar

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pinch of salt and orange zest. Gradually mix in flour. Divide dough in two and shape into logs 2-inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On waxed paper combine 1 1/2 tsp salt and turbinado sugar. Roll dough logs in mixture and cover evenly. Cut logs into 1/8" thick rounds and place on cookie sheet 1-inch apart. Bake cookies about 16 minutes until lightly browned at edges. Cool on wire racks.


Special Offer: FREE Organic Fertilizer.

     How do you tell if you need to supplement the fertility of your garden with Organic Fertilizer?  We get asked that question all the time.  Here is our answer.  Unless you have a long established lush garden, you probably would benefit from the use of additional fertilizer.

     Here’s a simple way to prove this likely fertility need to yourself.  Take a row of one variety of potatoes (or try this same technique with another crop).  On half of the row, plant as you normally do without any additional organic fertilizer.  Then on the other half, place Organic Potato Fertilizer two inches below placement of the seed potato pieces, at a rate of one pound organic fertilizer per ten feet of row. Take notes and observe growth during the season and at harvest.  In most cases, you will find crop performance and yield will improve with the added fertility.   If you like, you can repeat this testing procedure in subsequent years and with different crops.  

      Now, here's your chance to earn yourself a FREE 3 lbs. Sack of Organic Potato Fertilizer (Value $9.95) when the amount of goods in your next order is $40 or more.  FREE Organic Potato Fertilizer offer ends Midnight Monday, May 19, 2014, so better hurry!

      Please use Promo Code WPF1177. Your order must ship with FREE Organic Potato Fertilizer and entire order must ship by 5/30/14. This offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please call or click today!  Wood Prarie Farm (800) 829-9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potato Section.

FREE Organic Fertilizer. Available if you act fast.
Our Mailbox: Saving Money, Food Halls and Food Pills, Long Term Good.

Saving Money.

Dear WPF.

And you can save organic seed which I would think saves a lot of money.

Bridgewater NJ

WPF Replies.

     Yes, many organic seed farmers are firmly committed to growing open-pollinated varieties. OP varieties have been the benefit that - given adequate isolation from similar varieties in the same vicinity - the seed may be saved and planted the next year. This OP seed saving allows seed to be improved through selection and local adaptation.


Food Halls & Food Pills.

Dear WPF.

     Have you seen this? NY Times article "So Much Food, It Fills a Hall".  Obviously more of what I said about the gross-over production and ubiquitous quality of food in western markets is being demonstrated in Food Halls.

The people with the most money are living in high-density urban environments. They need to eat two, three, four, five (etc.) times a day. Why shouldn't our "no-governor, none-stop" food system be draining resources and exploiting the food production base worldwide in order to market to them? Even as technology improves, the game is to get more different food items to the citified market place as fast as possible and reap the greatest profits possible into a few powerful hands. And everybody is in the game because it is a game of money, not food.

Seattle WA

WPF Replies.

     Sadly the NY Times does not hold a monopoly on covering bad food ideas. Here's competition from the Atlantic, Soylent, Meal Replacements, and the Hurdle of Boredom.
     Some recent statistics I read from Politico tell a sobering story. U.S. sales of organic goods are now up to $31 billion annually. However, farm gate income going to farmers is just $3.1 billion. That means on average just ten cents of every organic dollar spent are going to American organic farmers. With Walmart's intended invasion of the organic market, look for increased offshore sourcing of raw materials. Folks can help American family farmers by spending their dollars as close to the farm as possible so that their support gets into the hands of the farmers themselves. Too much of the consumer retail dollar does not go to the farmer who makes it all happen. This monthly chart from our friends at National Farmers Union depicts the overall food situation graphically. A real challenge of our times is the co-opting of authentic family farmer organic food by corporations with a big marketing budget and bought-and-paid-for-friends in high places.


Long Term Good.

Dear WPF.

     Just one question for you. What do you think of subsidies either for big ag or organic farms? Thanks.

New York, NY

WPF Replies.

     Organic farming seeks long term stability and therefore perpetual societal benefit. Unfortunately in this predatory economy, anyone acting for long term good - for example farm conservation activities which benefit the soil, air, water and trees - is at a distinct economic disadvantage competing with those only concerned over short term gain. It seems reasonable to me for society to reimburse organic farmers for their investment in long term societal gain which the market is not capable of paying good farmers to farm well.


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