The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
                   Friday, June 1st, 2018
                     Volume 27 Issue 11


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Planting & Shipping.

     Maine Moose Across Road From Wood Prairie Family Farm. The other day in the midst of potato planting, we were loading up seed and organic fertilizer into the planter parked along Kinney Road.  We happened to look downhill across the road, to a low spongy spot about a hundred yards away.  Years ago, the spot had been the outer reaches of a shallow pond created when beavers built a dam.  Despite the fact that Moose have notoriously poor eyesight, this one seemed to be watching us.  In reality it was probably hearing or smelling us.  No doubt our commotion had captured that Moose’s curiosity.   Fortunately, Sarah - Caleb's sister - had her camera handy and was able to take a couple of good Moose photos, including the one above.   Since we’re busy planting, we decided to fill this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece with extra photos Sarah took about Springtime on our Maine farm.
       We’re now busy both shipping seed potatoes from our old crop and planting our new seed crop for harvest this Fall.  Planting has been going well and most days a breeze has come up which effectively keeps the Black Flies away.  We’re better than halfway done planting.  Like every farmer everywhere, we’re optimistic that this upcoming crop will be a winner and that good times lie ahead for all of us. 
      Wherever you are, we hope you are having a wonderful Spring and that your planting is going well.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Special Offer: FREE Organic Maine Certified Adirondack Blue Seed Potatoes.

      When it comes to pretty potatoes, Organic Adirondack Blue is on the top shelf.   Cornel University bred this beauty not long ago and it has become a favorite in all corners.  Even the companies that make Blue Potato Chips – like Terra Chips - have a hankering for Adirondack Blue.    Beyond its great appearance it has good taste.   Adirondack Blue is a mid-season variety and yields well. 
     Have fun growing some Adirondack Blue and the fun will be on us!  Earn a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified Adirondack Blue Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $49 or more. FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified Adirondack Blue Seed Potatoes Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, June 4, so better hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPFF428. Your order and FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified Adirondack Blue Seed Potato Offer must ship by June 11, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please click today!

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Wood Prairie Seed Potatoes.

Organic Adirondack Blue.
Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Wood Prairie Pallet Box Full of Island Sunshine Potatoes Headed South.   We recently put up this pallet of golden Island Sunshine.  The spuds were headed out for distribution by the Crown O’ Maine Organic Co-op which we helped to start twenty years ago.

Wood Prairie Cats Exhibit Spectacular Relaxation Capability.  Despite the world’s increasingly harried nature, our hard-working barn cats Chub (foreground) and Cooper show great talent in their ability to shift gears and enjoy a well-earned cat nap.   They are drinking in the beauty of Daffodils and a rogue Dandelion in the fresh air of Megan’s flower garden.

Wood Prairie Hot Room Busy Conditioning Seed Potatoes.   With Spring planting ahead, these pallet boxes and cartons of graded seed potatoes were being warmed up to 75oF in our Hot Room.  This conditioning procedure is done to break dormancy and encourage maximum sprouting of tubers.  Each wood box holds about 1000 pounds of potatoes.  We’ll go through 25,000 pounds of seed in growing this year’s crop of organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.  The harvest from this Fall will be the seed potatoes we’ll be shipping to you beginning in September and going until July 4, 2019.  In the meantime, we still have good supplies of our organic seed potatoes - in excellent condition - harvested last Fall, stored underground and available now until the 4th of July.

Wood Prairie’s Caleb on Rockpicker.   Driving one of our Oliver 1650 Diesel tractors, Caleb works ahead of the planter to remove rocks left by the last twenty glaciers.  The lagged Rockpicker is a Lockwood – the same manufacturer as originally built our much-modified potato planter  –  out of Gering, Nebraska.

Wood Prairie’s  Jim Driving Potato Planter Tractor.   The 1967 tractor is our largest 92 HP Oliver 1850 Diesel which has an incredibly-slow creeper gear allowing us to creep down the row at a perfect half-mile-per- hour snail’s pace.  Megan is one of four worker’s sitting on back of the planter, cutting seed.  Next to the crew is the “Seed Box” which holds warmed and sprouted seed tubers.  Forward to that Seed Box is the tall “Fertilizer Box” which holds a thousand pounds of organic ground rock powder fertilizer that is automatically dispensed into the soil beneath the seed piece.  A new modification we’ve been refining in recent years is attaching two “Chisel Plow Teeth” to the “Midmount Tool Bar” (under the tractor engine between the rear tires and front tires).  In line with the seed placement by the two-row planter which follows, we ‘chisel’ two slits in the soil 12-15” deep and simultaneously  apply a soil drench of a cocktail mix of beneficial biologicals pumped from the two-front-mounted 55-gallon stainless steel drums. This Chisel-Drench procedure increases soil aeration and drainage, as well as fostering beneficial biological activity in the soil around the seed piece.

Wood Prairie Crew on Potato Planter Cutting Seed.   Four workers on back (daughter Sarah is temporarily absent while taking the photos in this series) work together to plant two rows by cutting whole tubers into seed pieces and placing them on the conveyer belts.  From left to right: Tom, Zack, Missing and Megan.  The black radio is usually set to one of two Aroostook County country radio stations.  Most days this year have been windy which is good and appreciated for keeping the Black Flies at bay.

 Close Up of Wood Prairie’s Megan Cutting Seed Potatoes.  Megan is on the planter cutting up beautiful Adirondack Blue seed.   The design behind our unique, farm- modified former-Lockwood planter is what’s called a “Tuber Unit Planter.”  We removed the original Lockwood “Pick Wheel” assembly and replaced it with the conveyer belts.  Megan will lay the daughter-seed-pieces cut from the mother tuber – sequentially - on the segmented conveyer belt.  In this way our entire crop gets planted by the ‘tuber unit.’  This tuber-unit-planting permits us to do a superior rogueing job later on in the Summer.  Rogueing involves removing plants from the field that have picked up potato virus (if one daughter plant expresses virus, we’ll dig up, remove and destroy the entire tuber unit).  This practice minimizes the potential for virus spread by aphid vectors. It also increases the quality and performance of the seed in the next generation which you will get from us.

Modern Lockwood Six-Row Potato Planter.   This new unit was out for viewing this Spring at one of the local potato equipment dealers in Presque Isle, Maine.  It sure looks complicated.  And expensive! 

George Orwell on the Truth.

Recipe: Potato-Crusted Quiche.

2 medium Butte potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated fontina or gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into thin ovals (use a mandoline if you have one). Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until tender and pliable but not brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Line the side of a 9-inch pie plate with overlapping potato slices so they stick out above the rim; line the bottom with the remaining slices.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks, half-and-half, chives, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl; stir in 1 cup cheese. Pour into the potato-lined pie plate and scatter the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the quiche until just set in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

- Megan & Angie

Potato-Crusted Quiche.
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