Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                     Friday, May 20, 2016
                      Volume 24 Issue 11


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

   Woodstoves Still Ablaze.

     Cool April & Cool May. Snow falling twice in the last twelve days is just one indication of our cool Maine Spring this year.  This Soil Temperature Chart - updated daily during the month of May for many years by Dr. Steve Johnson of Maine Cooperative Extension - depicts the chilly soil temperature this year on Aroostook Farm - the State Potato Experiment Station - in Presque Isle at 6” depth and taken between 7-8am.  The two precipitous temperature drops you will note followed those two snow events, proving once again that adding melting ice water into the soil counters the farmer’s reasonable desire for the soil to warm up in the Spring.
     We’re using these good days ahead of planting to keep up with orders – fast turnaround nowadays for all seed potato orders! – and greensprouting the potatoes we will plant ourselves here on Wood Prairie Family Farm.
     In the photo above, neighbors Chelsea, Whitney and Mickelle (left-to-right) empty pallet boxes full of graded seed potatoes into a hopper which feeds unto a roller table where tubers are inspected one last time while a cocktail of organically-approved biological inputs are sprayed to inoculate the seed.  The potatoes then fill up wooden greensprouting trays which are stacked nine-high on pallets and placed in the light until the day they are planted.
     If you have questions, we explained the reasoning and steps behind greensprouting seed potatoes in last Winter’s Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #1 “Butte (Say ‘Beautiful’).”  Take a look!

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
Jim Gerritsen's Organic Integrity Keynote at National Pesticide Forum.

The Plaque. The plaque presented to Jim by Beyond Pesticides following his Keynote.

     This year was Beyond Pesticides 34th Annual  National Pesticides Forum.  The National Pesticide Forum is rotated around the country every year.  Last month it was Portland, Maine’s turn to be host city.  Co-sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the Beyond Pesticides Forum, Cultivating Community and Environmental Health, was a well-attended success, with folks traveling from every corner of the United States – including Hawaii!

     Jim has been very active with MOFGA for forty years.  Beyond Pesticides has been around for decades and has also been a close ally in the organic community.  Both MOFGA and BP were strong plaintiffs in the landmark organic community lawsuit known as OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, launched five years ago.

    When asked to come down and speak at the Pesticides Forum, Jim quickly said he would.  On Saturday afternoon Jim offered the opening presentation on a panel entitled “Organic Standards, Seed and Supplies Workshop” (1:28:44).  Then that same evening Jim delivered his Keynote, “Organic Integrity, Soil, Seeds and Government & Corporate Responsibility” (36:46).   The other various presentations were also filmed and are available on the Beyond Pesticides You Tube channel.

    After he concluded his evening talk, Jim was taken by surprise to be presented by BP Executive Director Jay Feldman with the Beyond Pesticides’ Dragonfly Award for his many years of work in the organic community both on and off the field.

    Sunday morning, Jim got up early and drove home so he could get back to grading potatoes and keeping up with orders during peak shipping. Some things never change

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes

Special Offer: FREE Organic Hull-Less Oat Cover Crop Seed.

   When it comes to cover crops, a little bit of Organic Hull-less Oats really goes a long way!  On top of that, it’s fun to let some Oats grow full season off in a corner of the garden.  That way you’ll get mature ripe grain which after simply winnowing-to-clean in the breeze needs no further processing to use as oats for cereal, baking or as a rice substitute.  Try it!

     Just five pounds of Organic Hull-less Oats is needed to plant a big 30’ x 35’ plot.  We believe everyone should keep a sack on hand and use Oats as a fast-growing cover crop to protect and build the soil immediately after a crop is harvested.  Good Organic Hull-less Oat seed will keep for several years so you can load up so you’ll never run out.

    Here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for.  Earn yourself a FREE Two-and –a -Half-Pound Sack of Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed (Value $9.95) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $39 or more.  FREE Two-and –a -Half-Pound Sack of Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed offer ends Midnight Monday, May 23 so you better hurry!

   Please use Promo Code WPF487. Your order and FREE Two-and –a -Half-Pound Sack of Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed One-Pound Sack must ship by 5/31/16. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call us Wood Prairie Family Farm at (207) 429 - 9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop Section.

Wood Prairie Organic Oat Cover Crop
. Broadcast at a heavy rate of 200lbs / acre (5lbs / 1000 sq ft) after potato harvest.

Vintage Maine Potato Harvest Footage. The film's first two minutes offer great potato harvest video clips.
Limestone, Maine: Converting Potato Land Into Loring AFB.

        If you possess even a grain of curiosity about Northern Maine, then this short video (10:08) will be must watch for you!   The Many Lives of Loring tells the memorable story of the years following the end of WWII when 10,000 acres of Aroostook County potato land was turned into the most modern Strategic Air Command base in the United States, known as Loring Air Force Base.

     For many decades, Loring AFB was the high security installation – planes were equipped with nuclear bombs - which operated during the Cold War Era beginning in 1946.  Back in the days when it mattered most, Loring was the base closest to Europe located on American soil.  After performing its mission of protecting the United States for decades - as deterrent force - in time, Loring fell victim to one of the rounds of military bases closings during the Base Closing Commission process.  Loring was shut down in 1994.

     While we did enjoy the full length of this historical Maine PBS film, our favorite part was the very beginning in which there is rare footage of – what else? – old time potato farming.  Don’t miss it!

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

Notable Quote: Wendell Berry on Peace.

Recipe: Homemade Cheese Crackers.

3 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes, plus more for baking sheets
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour, plus more for counter
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 ice cube

Combine the butter, flour, dry mustard, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is crumbly and the butter starts to integrate into the mixture, about 30 seconds. Add the cheese and mix again on low speed for a few seconds.

In a measuring cup, combine 3/4 c water, the vinegar, and the ice cube and let sit for a moment to get cold. Add 6 T of the vinegar mixture to the dough and mix on medium speed for 20 seconds. Continue to add liquid, 1 T at a time, until the dough clings in a ball to the beater. Mix for an additional 30 seconds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 15 minutes before rolling out. Preheat oven to 325F and grease two baking sheets. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until dough is 1/8" thick. Cut into desired shapes using knife or cutter.

Bake 1" apart on sheets for 18-25 minutes, depending on thickness of crackers. Turn off oven, prop open the oven door and allow crackers to crisp as the oven cools, - at least twenty minutes.


Homemade Cheese Crackers.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Buying Approval and Spring Snow in Maine.

Buying Approval.

Dear WPF.

     What's your take on the National Research Council's approval of GMOs?

Waterloo, IA

WPF Replies.

     It was the best endorsement money could buy. Below is my post on Facebook the next day.


Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs

HERE'S THE TRUTH: THAT NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL "ENDORSEMENT" OF GMOs IS THE RESULT OF SYSTEMIC BIAS. Will it come as any surprise to learn that NRC is financially-conflicted and has long benefited from the largess of the Biotech industry whose products it just "endorsed"? Of course not. Here is yet one more example of disappointing and unethical behavior from academia. Jim

"...the NRC's far-reaching ties to biotechnology companies and other agricultural corporations have created conflicts of interest at every level of the organization, which greatly diminish the independence and integrity of the NRC's scientific work.

"Among other conflicts, Food & Water Watch found that the NRC (and its parent organization, the National Academy of Sciences):

"-takes millions of dollars in funding from biotechnology companies
-invites sponsors like Monsanto to sit on high-level boards overseeing the NRC’s work
-invites industry-aligned, pro-GMO scientists to author NRC reports
-draws scientific conclusions based on industry science
-operates at times as a private contractor for corporate research...

"...The organization has taken millions of dollars from companies like Monsanto and DuPont and allowed corporate representatives from these and other companies to sit on high-level governing boards overseeing NRC projects. The group maintains a revolving door of key staff with industry groups, and demonstrates a clear preference for inviting industry-aligned researchers to produce its reports."

Spring Snow in Maine.
Dear WPF.

     On Monday 6" snow in Fort Fairfield, 7.5" north of here.

Fort Fairfield, ME

Had a dusting of snow in Bridgewater, 2nd week of June in '66...

Waldoboro ME

WPF Replies.

     Holy cow, it was a short summer. Time to put the studded snow tires back on.


 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm