Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                     Saturday June 08, 2013

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Extraordinary Spring. Remarkable Measures.

         Adapting to the Wet Spring in Maine. In what has become the wettest Spring in memory - over 9" rain since May 19 - we have reverted to wet ground techniques to keep planting. In the photo above, our son Caleb drives our Cat D-6 bulldozer which is pulling our 19' Vibrashank harrow in order to 'break crust' and hasten drying. Cleat-tracks are better on marginally wet soil and there is less risk of compaction than with rubber-tired tractors. Between the rains we have progressed to where we are two-thirds done planting potatoes. We got done planting at 9pm last night as the first raindrops of Tropical Storm Andrea began to fall. All late and mid-season varieties are in the ground. It looks like it will be a few days before we can get back to farming. But, the end of planting is now in sight.

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

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Leaders of Right-to-Know-GMO Label Coalition in the Northeast. We met in Hartford CT on Monday June 3 to witness passage of the nation's first GMO Label law. The tide is changing.
Click on photo to enlarge.
CT Legislature Passes First GMO Label Law.

     Biotech has been hit hard and is scrambling for cover as momentum is shifting towards transparency and accountability of genetically engineered crops.
     Last week the Connecticut House voted 134-3 in support of a strong GMO Label bill.  This followed a 34-0 vote two days earlier by the CT Senate.  Grassroots GMO Label organizers from other States in the Northeast Coalition – including Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey – traveled to CT and were in attendance at the State Capitol in Hartford for this historic House vote.  The grassroots organizers also participated in the press conference which followed the vote.  The press conference included leaders of both chambers of the Legislature and CT Governor Molloy who has endorsed the bill.
     Here in Maine, after six months of effective and extensive grassroots effort, we expect our Right to Know GMO Label bill, LD 718, to be up for debate on the House floor this Monday, June 10.  Hopes are high that Maine will shortly become the second State in the nation to require the labeling of GMO foods.  LD 718 is co-sponsored by 123 of Maine’s 186 Legislators and a scientific poll this Spring indicated that 91% of Mainers support GMO labeling.
     Meanwhile out in Oregon, the discovery of illegal, unapproved Monsanto GE Wheat found mysteriously growing on a wheat farm is sending shock waves across American agriculture and world markets.  Ninety percent of Oregon’s $400 million wheat crop is soft white wheat largely sold to Asia for the production of noodles.  Upon news of the Monsanto GE Wheat contamination incident, Asian buyers, including Japan, wary of GE crops canceled orders for Oregon wheat.
     This GE Wheat contamination episode is reminiscent of the contamination of rice supplies by unapproved, illegal GE Rice a few years back.  That contamination by GE Rice led to over $1 billion in damages and ultimately a compensation settlement of $750 million to injured farmers.  Wheat is a much larger American crop than rice and already at least one Kansas wheat farmer has filed suit against Monsanto charging gross negligence.  The extent of GE Wheat contamination is unknown at this time. Here is an excellent background interview on the GE Wheat situation on CBS News (7:45) with Dr Michael Hansen of Consumers Union.


Click here for our Uncontaminated Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes.
Special Address Before 4th Annual Slow
Money Gathering.

     Boulder, Colorado was the site of the recent Slow Money National Gathering, held April 29-30.  Speakers and entrepreneurs from all over the United States presented to the audience of over 600 good food community members and investors.
     Jim Gerritsen of Wood Prairie Farm, President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, gave a Special Address (16:19) on the morning of the first day entitled OSGATA et al v. Monsanto – Family Farmers Seeking Justice.’ The address covered not only the farmer lawsuit which challenges Monsanto, but also a lesson on potato economics and report on the GMO Label bill effort in Maine.
     At the tail end of the address, reference is made to Cecily Pingree’s outstanding Betting the Farm, 'the gripping film about organic dairy farmers in Maine who after losing their market decide to start up their own milk company called ‘Maine’s Own Organic (MOO) Milk'. Here’s the Must Watch trailer (3:06) to Betting the Farm. The film is now widely available including on Amazon.

Click Here For Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed

Wood Prairie Farmer Jim Gerritsen. In Colorado making the case for family farmer justice.

Spreading Rock Dust. Starting with tote bags that have a blend of rock powders and ending with a calibrated dust trickle of one ton/acre.
Spreading Rock Dust on Wood Prairie Farm.

     New YouTube video (1:25) of Caleb and Justin this week spreading rock powder on this year’s potato ground.  We take scheduled soil and foliar tests to chart and tweak our progress in mineralizing our soil.  On our farm in Northern Maine we typically find it wise to supply additional Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Boron, Zinc, and Manganese, among other minerals. Fully mineralized soil not only produces greater yields and higher nutritional quality but also the best tasting (for example, potatoes, apples and wine) and best performing (for example, seed vigor & production and storage quality) crops.
     We buy our custom rock powder blends from our friends at the Amish-owned Lancaster Ag Products in Lancaster, PA. Our soil testing – full of valuable results - is arranged through LAP and performed by Midwest Soil Testing.  We recommend them highly.
    Here’s another You Tube video (1:18) of unloading 3000lbs tote bags of rock powder from the truck.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Fertilizers.

 Quotes: Teddy Roosevelt.

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the area, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs...[And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

- President Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt. Critics beware.

Recipe: Rose Petal Granola

1 1/2 c walnut halves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 c dried currants
dried petals from a dozen or so small roses

1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c honey
1 egg white (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Set out two rimmed baking sheets.

Combine the oats, walnuts, salt, pepper, currants and half of the rose petals in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir in the honey. When thoroughly combined, pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. If you like clumpier granola, stir in the egg white. Divide the mixture equally between the two baking sheets and spread into a thin layer.

Bake, stirring a couple time along the way, for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until the granola is toasty and deeply golden.  Remove from the oven and press down on the granola with a metal spatula - you'll get more clumps this way. Let cool and sprinkle with remaining dried rose petals. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes about 7 cups.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix.

     As soon as it dries out we’ll get back to planting and plowing down next year’s potato ground which is now in clover-grass sod.  Soon after we will plant that field to a plow-down crop of Buckwheat as an unbeatable way to improve the soil. So these days we have Buckwheat on our mind. And today we have on our hands a chilly and rainy day in the low 50s. 

     So we’re also thinking Buckwheat Pancakes.  In our on-farm certified organic flour mill we turn organic Buckwheat grain into our delicious Organic Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix.  Buckwheat pancakes make a simple and great-anytime-meal – most especially on such a dreary day as we have had today in Northern Maine.

     Here's your chance to earn a FREE 1 ½ lbs. sack of our fresh Organic Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix (Value $7.95) when your next order totals $40 or more. FREE Organic Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, Jun 10, 2013, so better hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPF1147. Your order and FREE Organic Acadian Buckwheat Pancake Mix must ship by 6/12/13. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Fresh Organic Baking Mixes Section.

Organic Buckwheat Pancakes.
And real organic Maple Syrup.
Our Mailbox: Awareness Growing, OP v. Hybrids v. GE, Now & Then Photos, Establishing Roots, Good Times in Texas.

Awareness Growing.

Dear WPF.

     Thank you again for the latest "Seed Piece" - as always I am saddened, angered, outraged, and more when I read about what the GMO people are doing. Yet I also feel the awareness is growing and I just wanted to say that people are listening!

New York, NY

WPF Replies.

     We are hopeful that our remarkable left/right, Tea Party/Dem, urban/rural Maine coalition will give us a law in Maine in short order. Our bill calls for a Trigger of 4 other NE states so we will need states like CT, VT, MA and NY to come on board. We think after the first states enact, the others will follow more easily. We are developing momentum. Appreciate your support.


OP v. Hybrid v. GE.

Dear WPF.

     I'm wondering if you can offer a quick and easy synopsis about how GMO in food is different than hybridized veggies and flowers. I've had a few people ask me to share distinctions and I sort of can but would love your perspective especially if it can be in a few sentences. Thanks,

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Here's our attempt. It's a broad topic and what follows are mostly apt generalizations. 

Jim & Megan

Open-Pollinated. An OP variety is a stable variety whose off-spring are the same as the parents. Open-pollination is accomplished by natural means such as wind, insects or birds. Genetic diversity is relatively high, however saved seed will be true to the parents. Natural selective pressure by enviornmental factors can be supplemented by human selection for specific qualities (for example, earliness, growth habit) accelerating the enhancement known as 'regional adaptation.' Seed control and ownership resides with the farmer or gardener.

Hybrids. Hybrid varieties are the result of crossing two specific parent varieties from different strains or closely related species. Hybrids are the result of human design. Uniformity and stability is relatively high, genetic diversity is restricted. Saved seed will not grow true. Seed must be purchased annually so seed control has shifted to the seed supplier.

Genetically Engineered. Distant genera gene-splicing (e.g., a gene from a Flounder spliced into a strawberry in order to increase frost resistance) which is unnatural in that it would never occur in nature. Genetic diversity is narrow. GE seed is patented so farmers are merely licensed 'users of technology' and legally restricted in their use. Farmers make royalty payments for their use of the patented technology. Farmers are not permitted to save or re-plant seed. Instead, they are legally obliged to purchase and use new seed each year under rigid terms established by the licensing agreement.

Now & Then Photos.

Dear WPF.

     We enjoyed the "now and then" photos. They brightened up the day during this rainy spell. I enjoy reading your Seed Piece newsletter, particularly when there is news/photos of the family and farm.

Liberty, ME

WPF Replies.

     Thanks for your note. We're trying to remember to bring a camera with us when we go out to the field to work. I smile when I think of my old neighbors who would be mystified why anyone would want to take a picture of a process involved in growing potatoes. To them, growing potatoes was just work, nothing special, and certainly not noteworthy.


Establishing Roots.

Dear WPF.

     Your keynote at the 2010 Common Ground Fair inspired me and my family to pursue the land-transfer of my family's homestead in central Maine. We were successful, and now my wife and I are the proud owners of 125 acres, only about 2 are still fields. We are in process of opening the land and clearing, while fixing up the farm house. Thanks again for your leadership; I'm sure a lot of people were inspired by you..

Old Orchard Beach, ME

WPF Replies.

     Thanks for the nice story. Here is a link to the YouTube (1:10:53) of that talk as well as it's transcription. There's nothing better than being connected to the land. Now the fun begins.


Good Times in Texas.

Dear WPF.

     Many thanks for the seed potatoes. This year has been the best ever and I have been farming for over 60 years. There are still hundreds of potatoes in the ground so we have our work cut out for us.

Houston, TX

WPF Replies.

     Very glad to hear things are going well for you. You folks in Texas  deserve a good year.


Wood Prairie Farm Quick Links

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