Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                  Wednesday, July 22 2015
                        Volume 22 Issue 15

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Rainbows and Summer.

     Double Rainbow in the Rolling Hills of Aroostook County, Maine.  As one heads south and west out of Aroostook’s Potato Belt, the ground becomes more hilly and rolling. Such farmland is good, but often better suited to permanently-sodded hay and pastureland, one would typically find in New England on a dairy farm.
     Flatter and well-drained soil is well-suited for growing potatoes.  A benefit is less erosive impact.  By its nature, potato production requires lots of serious tillage, and cultivation, with soil open to the elements.  A long sod rotation, such as we practice on Wood Prairie Farm, is a good way to take care of soil and mitigate the risk from the demands of potato production.
     Jim took the above photo after a summer thunderstorm in the vicinity of the southern Aroostook County town of Dyer Brook, located about thirty miles southwest from Wood Prairie Farm.
     In the last few days, gentle rains have aided thirsty local potato crops.  Here on our farm we’ve had over an-inch-and-a-half.  This valuable rain has delayed the immediate need to irrigate.  Crops are growing strong and well.  August is now in view.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

Calls Needed to Stop Monsanto's 'DARK' Act. Please Call NOW.

Action Alert! Tell Congress NOW to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling!

     Monumental and draconian change is afoot as powerful and well-financed Biotech and Industrial Food lobbyists team up to snuff out our right-to-know about GMO food.  It is URGENT that all of us immediately contact our Member of Congress and demand that they support mandatory labeling of GMO food.

     For years, there have been significant grassroots efforts and battles waged across the country for common sense Right-to-Know GMO Labeling.  Additionally, visionary communities have opted - through the democratic process and local decision-making - to protect the crops of local family farmers from transgenic (GE) contamination which Biotech has remained stubbornly unwilling to restrain.  Significantly, these pioneering GE crop bans and mandatory GMO Labeling laws have been upheld by Federal courts.

     One national poll after another has indicated  jaw dropping and nearly unanimous support – approximately 90% - by American citizens for mandatory GMO Labeling.  In fact, around the world, in over 64 countries representing over half of the world’s population – including Russia and South Africa – have laws on the books requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods.  The truth is many of our huge multinational American-based food corporations which are fighting mandatory GMO labeling currently sell into these 64 countries and easily obey their laws requiring GMO labeling.  These companies now should be required to provide right-to-know GMO Labeling here in the USA.

     A floor vote in the U.S. House is imminent – it could come as soon as tomorrow, Thursday July 23 - on Monsanto’s ‘DARK’ Act, sponsored by Koch Brothers darling Rep. Pompeo (R-KS).  As currently written, the disgraceful ‘DARK’ Act – ‘Deny Americans Right to Know’ -  Monsanto’s Ultimate Protection Act would pre-empt (prevent) mandatory GMO Labeling laws such as citizens have passed into law in Maine, Vermont and Connecticut.  Additionally, the DARK Act would overturn the people’s will where citizens have voted in GE crop bans in order to protect local farmers, such as in Jackson County, Oregon.

     Rep. Pompeo’s cynical industry-authored DARK Act would substitute eye-winking voluntary GMO Labeling.  The truth is ‘voluntary GMO labeling’ is what America has had for twenty years and it has been a miserable failure. Virtually no Industrial Food corporation has ever opted for voluntary labeling.  This failure, of course, comes as no surprise.  How well would our income tax system work if collections were similarly based on a voluntary system?

     Last minute amendments plus wheeling-and-dealing is going on in Congress as this article is written.  Please communicate to Congressperson your support for mandatory GMO labeling and your opposition to the ‘DARK’ Act (H.R. 1599) and its concept of voluntary GMO Labeling and extinguishing local control over GE crop growing.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix.

     Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix can be the center of a quick and inexpensive meal whether for breakfast or supper.   We mill this – and all of our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Pancake Mixes - in our Certified Organic on-farm flour mill located right here on Wood Prairie Farm.  That means you can trust what you get from us and know that it will be fresh.

     The Organic Dylan Hard Red Spring Wheat used in our pancake mixes we grow right here on Wood Prairie Farm.  Adding Organic Maple Syrup  - and in-season strawberries, respberries or blueberries or apple sauce - make for a delicious and memorable meal 

     Here’s your chance to get a FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix (value $7.95) on your next order where the goods total $35 or more.  Please use Promo Code WPF467.  Your order and FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic Buckwheat Pancake Mix must ship by 8/31/15. Offer Expires 11:59p.m., Monday, July 27, so please hurry!

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Granary Section.

Organic Buckwheat Pancakes. A breakfast fit for a king - yours FREE!

How Is Your State Fairing? Click on your state to learn.
  Map of Democracy in the USA

    After collecting extensive data nationwide, Health of State Democracies.org has ranked all 50 States as to the health of their democratic functioning.  In this project, the State of Maine came out number one.

     To find out where your State ranks, simply click on your State’s image out of their color-coded fifty states for summary scoring.  A secondary link will provide access to your state's specific scores used in the ranking process.


Click Here for our Organic Tools & Supplies Section.

Follow-Up on Deboulie Pond.

     As reported in the last Wood Prairie Farm Seed Piece, our son Caleb, along with his friends, had a great time camping at Deboulie Pond in the Maine Public Reserved Land, sixty miles northwest of Wood Prairie Farm in the Maine North Woods.

   The Black Flys have thinned out in July compared to when the boys typically go camping after-planting in quiet June. Of course with July, the number of humans increase.  When the boys set up camp Thursday evening, only one other campsite was occupied.  By noon on Friday all dozen lake campsites had been filled up.

   In fact, the last two sets of campers arrived at the Deboulie Pond Friday noontime with just a single campsite left.  In classic live-and-let-live Maine fashion, those folks opted to share opposite corners of the one remaining site so neither one would be disappointed.  But the lesson is clear, you better plan to arrive on a Thursday if it’s a weekend campout you are planning in the months of July or August.

  Deboulie Pond is good for fishing.  Using a canoe and paddles as their trolling craft, the boys caught their limit of Brook Trout in no time.  We can vouch for how delicious that fresh wild trout tasted because Caleb brought home some of the ten-inch beauties.  These fishermen have found much more success on the South side of the lake than the North.

Jim & Megan

Click here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Certified Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Deboulie Pond. Peace and quiet in the Maine North Woods.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
6 T unsalted butter, chilled
1 c raspberries
3/4 c whole-milk ricotta
1/3 c heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt together.

Add the butter to flour mixture and cut with pastry blender until the butter is the size of small peas. Toss in the raspberries, and use the pastry blender again to break them in half.

With a flexible spatula, add the ricotta and heavy cream to the butter mixture and stir them to form a dough. Add more cream, 1 T at a time, if needed. Use your hands to knead the dough gently into an even mass in the bowl. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and pat into a circular disk about 1-inch high. With a large knife, slice into six equal wedges. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden at the edges. Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


Scrumptious Scones.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Raising the Bar and Extreme CPB Pressure.

Raising the Bar.
James Cameron
Dear WPF.

     Great newsletter. Our potato beetle population in MA (at least at our small field) is also very low this year. Here's a shot of our potato field with your excellent seed in the 2 rows to the far left (Dark Red Norland) and far right (Elba).

     Full discolusre, the other varieties in the middle are from another supplier. To tell you the truth I think your high quality potatoes have raised the bar and helped others produce a better seed potato. This is our first year using your seed pieces and we are psyched. Watched our buddy use them for years but took a while to pull the trigger ourselves. Keep up the good work!

Dover, MA

WPF Replies.

     Glad to get the report on CPBs. This positive CPB experience will make it easier to get through another tough winter like this last one. Those potatoes look really good. Nice job!


Extreme CPB Pressure.

Dear WPF.

    Hate to bother you at this busy season, BUT

We have switched away from systemics on the potatoes (second year) and I have been spraying by hand with Bullseye (spinosad based) and copper soap. Until last week we would see only a CPB or two in our five rows totaling 250 feet. This morning, after that horrendous storm, there were hundreds of CPB in every stage instar and adults.

I am perplexed, and wondering what you do for CPB. There were too many nymphs to hand pick this AM. I sprayed with spinosads and copper, may resort to rotenone dust today if they survive. Thanks.


WPF Replies.

     One year in the last 1980s when CPB were horrible up here we had a double row of potatoes isolated from the rest which was 300' long. I was determined to control them ONLY by picking and crushing. I was out there 2x - 3x/week. It was a battle, but I won. That proved to me manual control can work on a scale of up to 600 row feet.
     As to purchased organic inputs, here are three to consider in your extremity.
1. ('Pyganic 5.0') would give you the quickest knockdown at this point if you think spinosid ('Entrust') is not performing.

2. Good but slower-to-control remedies are neem ('De-Bug Turbo') and

3. The parasitic fungus Beavaria bassiana ('Mycoltrol O').

Good Luck.

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