Friday July 11, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Wisdom and Youthful Forays.
Lawrence Retires as Local Maine Seed Potato Inspector.
Donning his iconic suspenders, Murray Lawrence (above), Maine’s
Certified Seed Potato Inspector for the the Bridgewater area, stands by
his state pickup truck on his last day of work, June 30.
grew up on his family’s potato farm in the nearby town of Westfield
where he still resides to this day. His career as an
for the State of Maine spanned 31 years, first as a Tablestock
Inspector, and then for the last 19 years as Seed Inspector for our
farm and others in Bridgewater and nearby towns. From a
lifetime’s experience in potatoes he has developed an expertise very
few can rival and his knowledge is coupled with Abe Lincoln-like
His first year inspecting
for us was the blistering drought year of 1995 – the third driest year
last century in Maine. After having pumped our irrigation pond dry by
early August, Jim remembers walking the potato field with Murray who
pulled up a few plants, and after examining the tubers underneath,
calmly issued the welcome assurance, “You’re gonna have a
crop.” That comment was the first in a long string
Murray is being replaced as Seed
Inspector by former Tablestock Inspector, Kristi Bradbury, a Simonson
whose family has been growing seed potatoes in Bridgewater for many
generations. Back in the 1970s, she wedded into the
Bradbury clan by wedding Ward, a son of Earl who was one of the
original four “Bradbury
Meanwhile, Post-Tropical-Storm Arthur pounded Aroostook
last Friday night and Saturday leaving Bridgewater with 6” of rain and
high winds (clocked at 46mph). The combination of saturated
ground and high winds uprooted and toppled over some big trees in our
50-acre woodlot leaving a mess, but no disaster. Local rivers
streams were quickly up to flood level.
The photo below is son Caleb kayaking with friends the very
day (Sunday) on the wild flooded North Branch of the Meduxnekaeg River.
River level was at least two feet higher than a similar
heavy-rain-spawned opportunity last August.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Wendell Berry
Insight and Wisdom Circa 1974.
Kentucky farmer, poet and essayist
has been a tireless, eloquent advocate for family scale sustainable
farming and rural America for most of his life. Wendell’s
Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,
became a bible for many of us in the 1970s and helped shape our view of
the world and of agriculture.
Berry Center in Kentucky has released a valuable
Tube video (41:09) of Wendell Berry speaking at the Agriculture for a Small Planet
Symposium in Spokane Washington, on
July 1, 1974.
Please do take the time to watch this insightful and pertinent
video. Learn from a remarkable man who has spent a lifetime
explaining the truth about agriculture to others, motivated by his love
of the land and those who work it.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Cover Crops.
At your fingertips.
Real-Time Digital Maps of Current Lightning Strikes.
Where in the world is lightning striking right now? Thanks
to the Blitzortung.org volunteer network based in Germany,
this link provides a map of North America which shows
lightning strikes which
have occurred in the past two hours, updated every minute. Similar such
other continents. You will want to bookmark the map.
If you are
ambitious and possess some electronic and IT savvy, you may arrange with Blitzortung to setup
your own volunteer
reporting station for a cost of less than $300. As you can see from their
maps, Western Europe
is well covered with reporting
locations in many
states and provinces in North America
help to improve the network. With
Wood Prairie Farm’s IT expert, we’re looking into getting a reporting
here in Northern Maine.
Jim & Frank
Click Here for
our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic
| New Study Confirms
Earlier Findings: YES - ORGANIC IS THE BEST.
A major new meta-analysis study again confirms that organic food is
collaborating Washington scientist Dr. Charles Benbrook,
“There have been four progressively rigorous meta-analyses published
since 2009 focusing on differences in the nutritional quality and
safety of organic versus conventional food. The latest comes out July
15, 2014 in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN). I was the sole
American scientist on the mostly European research team that produced
the BJN paper…”
The study’s significant
findings are highlighted by its title: “Higher
antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of
pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature
review and meta-analyses.”
So, why are organic foods consistently found nutritionally superior to
their conventional-chemical-input counterparts? Dr Benbrook
identifies a likely explanation from the new study, “Baranski et al.
explains that the level of nitrogen available to plants, and the form
in which nitrogen is supplied, plays a major role in driving
antioxidant and other nutrient levels up or down. In general, the
higher the nitrogen level, and the greater the percentage of nitrogen
applied in a readily available form, the greater the risk of diluting,
or lowering, the concentrations of health-promoting plant
phytochemicals in plant-based foods. This conclusion leads to
vital insight — how
farmers feed their plants helps determine the nutritional profile of
the food harvested from them.”
Contrary to baseless
orchestrated propaganda assertions of Industrial Ag,
we have always believed in the superiority of organic farming, founded
on the premise that healthy soil grows healthy food. These
study conclusions validate the idea that good organic farming - which puts
the soil first - creates good food, low in pesticide
residues, and that represents the very best choice for you and your
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Grain Section.
Study Shows Organic Food Superior.
Four out of four studies all agree: organic is the best.
| Notable Quotes:
Sir Howard on Indivisibility.
Walnut Bread Sticks.
by Angela Wotton
Whole Wheat Walnut Breadsticks
2 tsp active dry Organic
1 1/2 c lukewarm water
1 tsp honey
1/4 c walnut oil
2 c organic
whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp sea
Combine whole wheat
flour, yeast water, honey and oil in a large bowl or in the
bowl of a stand mixer.
Add 1 cup of the
flour, walnuts and salt. Stir by hand or in the mixer and turn dough
on lightly floured surface; knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as
keep dough from sticking. If using a mixer, mix at medium speed for 8
minutes. The dough should be elastic and just slightly sticky.
Lightly flour work
surface. Using your hands or rolling pin,
roll the dough into a 14 x 4 inch rectangle. Brush the top with oil.
plastic and a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400
degrees with racks positioned in the
middle and upper thirds of the oven. Brush sheet pans with olive oil or
oil. Cut the dough crosswise into four equal pieces. Cut each piece
into six equal pieces. Roll each between the board and your hands as if
were making a rope until it is as long as the baking sheet. Place 1
until you've filled two baking sheets. Continue to shape the remaining
breadsticks while the first batch is baking.
Place in oven and bake 15
minutes. Switch the pans top to
bottom and bake another 10 minutes until the breadsticks are nicely
You can also flip them over halfway through for more even baking. Cook
These breadsticks can
also be frozen and recrisped in a
medium oven for 10 minutes.
Yield: Two dozen
You'll like these,
| Special Offer: FREE Fresh
Organic Bread Yeast.
No longer are we in the days of needing to settle for
Big Food bread yeast. Our friends at BioReal have made
breadmaking easy with our fresh
Certified Organic Wood Prairie Farm Bread Yeast.
This is the same great organic yeast we use in the popular Wood
Prairie Farm Organic Whole Grain Bread Mixes we
mill ourselves from our organic grains in our on-farm certified organic
flour mill operation. Check
out all of our fresh grain products here -
available year round .
As with other real food products, there are a few hints which
will assure you increased success with organic yeast. First, do store your organic yeast in
the refrigerator, NOT the freezer. Secondly, do NOT proof
our organic yeast in water. Instead, mix organic yeast with a little
flour prior to mixing with water. Following
these two simple suggestions will provide you with the delicious baking
results you are after.
Now here's your
chance to try out container gardening and earn for yourself a FREE
Six Packets of Organic Yeast (Value $9.98) when the amount
of goods in your next order is $49 or more. FREE
Six Packets of Organic Yeast offer ends Midnight Monday,
July 14, 2014, so better hurry!
Please use Promo
Your order must ship with FREE Six Packets of Organic
offer and entire order must ship by 8/29/14. This offer may not be
combined with other offers. Please call or click
Wood Prairie Farm (800) 829-9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Granary Section for Bakers and Cooks.
Yeast: New Innovation. No need to settle for
synthetic bread yeast.
Our Mailbox: The
Right to Exclusion, Saving Your Crop, Fall Planted Potatoes.
The Right to
think Steve Marsh lost his certification because if the canola
germinated on his property it invalidated his organic status, not
because it cross contaminated his grains?
Farmer Steve Marsh
lost his organic certification because of GE contamination of his
farmland when the neighbor's cut and windrowed GE canola blew onto
Steve's farm. This unwanted GE trespass represented a violation of
Steve's right to be secure on his farm. That should be enough. Farmers
are not second class citizens when it comes to property rights.
However, above and beyond that contamination episode, the common
experience in North Dakota and Saskatchewan shows GE Canola
genes quickly get out of control and become embedded in feral weed
Steve ever choose to grow organic canola or related crops in the
future, contamination of that intended organic crop could well be
compromised with the contamination tracing back to the original episode.
The essential point remains, a farmer has a right
the way he chooses including excluding himself from an unwanted,
dangerous and false genetic engineering technology. This basic
principle is important to every
single citizen because without it, a citizen's right to a
choice in the marketplace for something besides GE food will be
Saving Your Crop.
have a question about soil amendments. What are the best amendments for
poor soil? We broke new ground for our garden patch and it seems to be
mostly clay and rocks (as soon as it rained the dirt hard packed down
to being almost rock like) I've got potatoes, tomatoes, beets,
broccoli, onions, and beans planted this year. Before we planted
anything we tilled it 3 times and added about an inch of seasoned horse
manure and tilled it in. But my plants aren't really growing, alive,
but not producing new growth.
In the short term - right now - I would work into
some of our All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer to feed the hungry plants.
Then I would buy bales of straw. After a good weeding, mulch your
veggies very thickly - up to a foot deep. The mulch will conserve
moisture, prevent weed growth and as it decomposes it will greatly
improve the tilth of the soil. I would also purchase a 4 gallon "Solo"
backpack sprayer and commence with a weekly foliar fertility spray
program centered around hydrolized fish and soluble kelp meal. Sooner
than later I would take a soil sample and for $50 send to "Midwest Soil
Labs" (via Lancaster Ag Products in PA) to see which nutrients need to
be supplemented. This Fall try to secure some barnyard manure and
generously work it into the soil. Building your soil is the best
investment you can make.
I was inquiring if you sell seed potatoes for fall
Yes we do sell Fall seed potatoes. However, you should be
that there are timing challenges for Fall planting with all
northern-tier-states Fall-harvested certified seed potatoes. First we
harvest our organic seed potatoes between September 20th and October
15th so that becomes their first availability. Secondly all potatoes
must go through a dormancy period of 4-8 weeks after being harvested
before seed tubers will sprout and grow. The dormancy period varies by
the year (physiological-age related, dependent upon stress factors such
as the weather conditions they were grown in) and by the variety.
"Short dormancy" varieties like Onaway, Reddale, Caribe' and Rose Gold
as their grouping implies - will sprout sooner. "Long Dormancy"
varieties are generally not good candidates for Fall planting prior to
December 1. After December 1 all varieties will sprout and grow when
subjected to warm conditions. Prior to December 1, we do apply an
organically-approved version of gibberillic acid (GAA) - a natural
plant growth hormone found in seaweed - to seed tubers to encourage the
sprouting of Fall-shipped seed potatoes intended for Fall planting.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm