Wood Prairie Farm                                     In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                        What Folks are Saying About Our Indiegogo Project.
      Organic News and Commentary
                                        GMO Free USA Launches Campaign to Help Kelloggs Come Clean.
    Wednesday July 25, 2012                                                 Update on OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.                                                        
Recipe: German Potato Salad.                                                                      
 Special Offer: FREE The Complete Book of Potatoes.                      
Mailbox: Rain, Villians, Beef, Traits and Layers of Error.                        

   Tending Our Organic Seed Potato Crop

Roguing Seed Potatoes.  This time of year we regularly go through our fields of certified seed potatoes performing ‘roguing.’  Roguing is the age-old practice of removing ‘rogues’ or misfit plants such as off-types or those expressing potato virus.  This is done in order to achieve the highest quality seed potato crop come harvest this Fall.  In this photo, on a clear Maine morning, our Amy is driving the Oliver 770 gas tractor which is pulling our high clearance rouging cart. ‘Spotters’ work ahead of the tractor, and identify and flag the rogues to be removed. Jim has gone over to offer a second opinion on a suspect unit spotted by Michele, and Katie continues spotting besides Megan (the shadow taking the photo). ‘Diggers’ work behind the spotters and near the tractor.  With round-point shovels, the digger boys fully extract the problem ‘tuber unit.’ Offending plants from the unit are carefully piled for disposal on the rouging cart.  The recognized, unspoken short term reward of this work is the pong ball-sized potato tubers which go into the pail for a colorful midday dinner of fresh new potatoes, salt, pepper and butter.  Our Great Pyrenees, Snowball, always accompanies us, ever ready to identify two- or four-legged mammals out of place, and ever ready for a head scratch at the end of the row.

Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm
Bridgewater, Maine


What Folks are Saying About
Our Indiegogo Repair Shop Project
With just nine more days until our our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign ends we’ve recently received some timely and encouraging media attention from Revmodo and Food Democracy Now!  The new activity has brought in additional contributions and has helped push us past the $12,000 mark. As we look towards wrapping up our Indiegogo campaign we need your help: please contribute if you can and please help spread the word to your friends and family.  From the Revmodo article: "The crops they grow using organic methods requires vintage equipment which needs constant maintenance and repair in order to run properly. Thankfully their two sons are consummate mechanics and can do the necessary work - but working outdoors in Maine winters can be brutal without a proper shelter. Indiegogo believes in the project and thus is featuring them in order to help them raise the $32,000 they need to buy the materials for the shed." And from the Food Democracy Now! blog, the re-posting of a supportive article from The Mother Earth News: “For more than 36 years they have volunteered many thousands of hours to promote and defend organic and oppose GMOs.”
We're grateful for everyone's support. Below are some of the comments folks have been posting . Thanks so much!
Jim & Megan

“I consider this farm and family a national treasure and will do all I can to support them.” - Susan

“Go Maine Organic!” - Cheryl

“I'm so delighted to support the hardest working family I “know”. (If I get to choose from Lottie's pictures, #6 (3 harvesters) and #8 (3 repairers) are my favorites.) May the Spirit be with you always!” - Janice

“Good luck and thanks for all that you do for the community, state of Maine and the country!”

“I'll take an XL, and good luck. Thanks for fighting Monsanto.” - Bruce

“They have the BEST potatoes I have ever eaten”

“Good luck building your repair shop. Thanks for all you do to raise awareness about Monsanto and GMOs. T-shirt size: medium.” - Doreen

“I love Wood Prairie Farm's potatoes, & have some growing like crazy now. We need more farmers like the Gerritsens!” - Mary

“Your family and your farm are such an inspiration. Thank you for all your hard work! And the best seed potatoes!” - Jamieson

“Support your local non-GMO farmers”  - Catherine

“Happy to support this project. You and your family do so much for the farming community as a whole. And your support of DGA is appreciated too!” - Barbara

“Thank you!” - Karen

“Healthy and organic, the old fashioned way. America needs to get back to this. We need to support it.” - Michael

“So happy to see the kids involved in this project. I'm happy to support your efforts.”

“Thanks for all your efforts!!” - Kelcey

“I have had personal contact with Jim and Megan and know them and people like them to be the foundation upon which this country stands” - William

“Jim and Megan Gerritsen and family are ALL agricultural leaders who daily promote the values in agriculture that we need so much today.” - Nancy

“Great work!” - Earl

“No perks necessary. Just happy to support you.” - Lisa

“I hope others will support the Gerritsen's, dedicated farmers of the highest quality.” - Amber

“No perk needed . . . just wanted to say “Thanks” for all you folks do!” - Harlan  

“Large shirt please” - Robert

“The Gerritsens have been tireless advocates for organic agriculture and they are making real change in the world!” - Lynn

“It's an honor to be able to play a small part in helping the Gerritsen family with this wonderful project!” - Janet

“Great idea Jim and family. Good luck to you all and full speed ahead!” - Darrell

“Good Luck, you do good work.”

“Am glad that we're able to help. Have used your wonderful seed potatoes for years and want to be a part of your future.” - Patricia

“Best of luck. I hope my children turn out like yours – you must be very proud.” - David

“I'm from Maine, I have some idea of what you're up against. Your site is beautiful and very comprehensive, I think it's the most compelling cause on the platform. Wish I could afford to give more but I'm retired.” -Jeanne

"Past the quarter mark! Congratulations!" - Janine

"Congrats! Wood Prairie Farm Organic Seed Equipment Repair Shop is now featured on Indiegogo's home page thanks to all your great efforts! Share this excitement with your funders and fans. Glad we could give a boost to your efforts. Congrats!" - The Indiegogo Team

“I support organics. NO GMOs!!” - Wanda

“Many thanks for continuing to stand up against Monsanto and for the rights of all of us, large and small growers/farmers!” - Felicity

“If each of us chooses to help…even just a little, we can make a huge difference. We are small but we are mighty!” - Colleen

“Thank you, may we win this war against Monsanto and others who are destorying our farmland.”

“Good luck and Congrats on keepin' em going!”

“I love what you are doing!” - Kevin

“Where do I begin to explain how much this matters, and to how many people? I buy seed potatoes and more from Wood Prairie. The Gerritsens are a treasure, as providers of high quality seed and other products, as examples of what it means to do good and real work, as people who are friends to many, some of whom they may not have met. Helping with this project is one tiny way to express gratitude, and become part of the great work they do.” - Diana

“I support Organic!” - Christopher

“Good luck…We feel so grateful to have your family as advocates for organic and family scale farming. You are such an inspiration”

“We are looking forward to your awesome seed potatoes for many years to come.” - Edward

"Thanks for your many years of commitment to sustainable agriculture and family farming. Good luck with the project.” - Yellow Birch Farm

“Jim and Megan, When we started here in 1968, clearing the forest, grubbing out stumps, rolling out rocks and trying to create fertility, we divided the potential growing area into 20-foot by 40-foot sections (1/50th of an acre) and gave ourselves a week to get each one done. It was avery productive system. So here is approximately 1/50th of your shop. Go for it." - Eliot

“Thank you for your hard work and service to the organic community. I wish I could contribute more.” - Philip

“Great work you are doing. Thank you all.” - Mary

“To God be the Glory…great things he hath done!” - Patty

“Awesome people deserve a blessing for all the good they do.”

“I greatly appreciate everything you do for organic farmers everywhere!” - Amy

“I hope this small amount helps you all towards your goal…wish I could do more.”

“Good Luck, Gerritsens! I know this will make a huge difference for your repairs.”

“I grew up in Maine & Support Maine farmers!”

“It's great to see that Mother Earth still has stewards who are willing to fight for her and protect her! God Bless you!”

“yay!” - Jerry

“I'm happy to support those who are working in the campaign against GMO's.” - Carol

“You inspire me, Jim. Thank you.” - Holly

“Awesome project for some awesome folks!” - Michael

“Keep up the good fight!” - Deborah

“I'm a new customer. very grateful for the wheat and five grain cereals, which need to be cooked. I like them so much I'm even eating them in the summertime. I'm retired, on fixed income, so I can't send much, but I want to help. I don't want a perk--just want to contribute a little. An organic gardener!” - Louise

“I believe the organic farming is the right way to grow food and firmly support this initiative”

“Thanks so much to the Gerritsens for the wonderful food and seeds that you provide, and for your tireless resistance to biotech giants.” - Heather

""This is a great campaign." - Dwayne

“Bravo, Jim!” - Holly

“Happy to help support our Maine family businesses!” - Tina

Click here for our Indiegogo Farm Equipment Repair Shop Campaign.

    Pastor Chuck. In this short YouTube video Waite Maclin (aka 'Pastor Chuck') explains why he supports the folks at Wood Prairie Farm.

Make Your Choice Count. Support the grassroots action to force accountability and good behavior in the cereal aisle.
Channel Your Energy and
Help Kelloggs Come Clean.

      After having thumbed its nose several times at the Federal court, last week USDA-APHIS – biotech’s branch office for governmental collusion in Washington D.C. - ruled once and for all that GMO Sugar Beets are without concern and that farmers can grow gene-spliced sugar beets without restriction.  Furthermore, USDA does not want to hear any more whining from the taxpayers, proclaiming, “this is APHIS’ final regulatory determination in this matter.”

Sadly, we’re afraid USDA-APHIS doesn’t understand the people. Fact is, we’re not going away. APHIS needs to learn that they work for the people. The taxpayers will have the last word. We will protect our families. We will demand GMO labeling.  We will divert our dollars away from your revolving door brothers in biotech.
Now, thankfully, we have our chance to channel our anger in a positive manner that will let biotech and their surrogates getting a government paycheck know that our families’ welfare is not for sale. Our friends at GMO Free USA have selected cereal giant Kelloggs as their first GMO-booster corporation to become the target of a massive letter-writing  and social media campaign aimed at convincing Kelloggs to reverse their pro-GMO purchasing and business practices. Kellogg's recently contributed funds to the biotech disinformation campaign in California's Right-To-Know GMO Labeling Initiative (Prop 37).
 The GMO Free USA action is founded on the principle of voting daily with your wallet.  Spending dollars in the right direction creates market opportunities for business activity we would like to see grow and flourish.  Conversely, withholding dollars from business entities working against the people’s interest is speaking in a language corporations will understand.  GMO Free USA has amplified the impact of the dollar shift by employing the additional step of communicating to a wayward corporation that we expect their behavior to change, and until they do so, we will be spending our dollars elsewhere. Here are some of the brands under the Kelloggs name: Kellogg’s, Keebler, Pop-Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, All-Bran, Mini-Wheats, Nutri-Grain, Rice Krispies, Special K, Chips Deluxe, Famous Amos, Sandies, Austin, Club, Murray, Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger, and Pringles.  Let's support the effort of our friends at GMO Free USA and spend our dollars wisely with companies that support the people's interests.
 Please invest a few minutes in your family’s future and utilize GMO Free USA’s easy letter-sending system to let Kelloggs know how you feel.  Help their effort go viral by sharing with your friends far and wide and posting comments on Kellogg's Facebook wall.
Thanks. Jim & Megan

Update on OSGATA et al v. Monsanto 

  Media articles are beginning to appear following recent developments in the organic community lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, in which we are challenging the validity of Monsanto’s GMO patents and seeking pre-emptive court protection for family farmers from allegations of patent infringement should Monsanto’s GMO seed trespass and contaminate our crops.

   On July 5, plaintiffs filed their Appeal brief seeking reversal of Federal court Judge Naomi Buchwald’s dismissal of the case in February. One week later two significant Amici briefs were filed in behalf of the plaintiffs, one by a group of eleven prominent law professors and another by fourteen respected food safety and consumer non-profit organizations.

One of the more thoughful and perceptive articles so far appeared recently in the GMO Journal and was written by Deniza Gertsberg. An excerpt: “The burden of keeping crops, soil and seed businesses from genetic contamination by GMOs is onerous and is shouldered disproportionately by plaintiff farmers, seed businesses and agricultural organizations, not by the maker of those GMO seeds whose products trespass onto and into plaintiffs property as the wind blows or trucks drive by.”

We will keep you posted . Jim

German Potato Salad. A real winner.
German Potato Salad

6 Prairie Blush potatoes, peeled
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled (save the grease)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
2 T flour

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Fry bacon, saving grease; Set bacon aside to cool. Add sugar and vinegar to bacon grease, gently stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Slice cooled potatoes about 1/4-inch thick and place in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Crumble bacon and add to potatoes, along with chopped onions and celery seed. Sprinkle flour over potato-bacon mixture. Pour sugar-vinegar-grease mixture over all, and toss lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

This recipe is a real winner in our house.


Special Offer: FREE The Complete Book of Potatoes.

Over the years it's been pretty common for us to be asked by friends and customers to recommend a good book that covers potatoes and how to grow them. The sad reality is that there have been few pertinent potato books to offer. That has changed! We are happy to report that with the publication of The Complete Book of Potatoes we now have a great book for you. This is a book that should be in every farmer's and gardener's library. The book was written by three of our favorite colleagues and highly esteemed members of the potato world: Hielke De Jong (Canadian breeder of Caribe'), his son Walter (Cornell breeder of King Harry) and Joe Sieczka (professor emeritus, Cornell University’s Riverhead NY research center on Long Island). Everyone will want a copy of this wonderful book and it is available for all on our Wood Prairie Farm website.

  Here's your chance to earn a FREE copy of The Complete Book of Potatoes ($34.95 value) with your next purchase of $150 or more. FREE The Complete Book of Potatoes Offer ends Monday, July 30.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 1124.   Book will be shipped separately at time of credit card processing.  Ordered items must ship by 5/7/13, so this includes potatoes from the upcoming harvest.  For this Special Offer, if you want potatoes please list your desires in the Comment Field.  Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Seed Potato Section

Our Mailbox: Rain, Villians, Beef, Traits and Layers of Error

Rain for South Dakota.

Dear WPF.
Say, Jim!

Could you send some of that rain our way? We could really use some here in South Dakota!

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Last summer we had twice as much rain as normal and had plenty we wanted to get rid of. So far, this is a different year with sporadic rain, a little bit shy of what we need. Wish I could help. My mother grew up on a cattle/wheat ranch in Midland SD which my cousin continues to run with his sons. The first 320 acres of the ranch were two 160 acre plots homesteaded in the 1870s by my great grandmother and her sister. They built a house on one plot and a barn right next to it on the second plot to meet the requirements of the Homestead Act. The ranch is now 5000 acres which sounds like a lot to an Easterner who can graze a cow on one acre. Their dry part of South Dakota requires 10 acres to carry one cow, and that's in a 'normal' year.


Villians in Farmers Fields.

Dear WPF.

     It's interesting what Monsanto has gotten away with over the years. So if Monsanto sues farmers who's crops have been compromised by Monsanto grown crops polinating via the wind, does that mean I can throw glitter in the air and sue everyone it touches for not giving every single speck of it back to me?

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     The way the law reads, it doesn't matter HOW one comes into 'possession' of patented material. If you 'possess' it without license and without having paid royalty - including if you are trespassed upon and contaminated - you are infringing upon that patent. In patent law there is no 'fair use' exemption as there is in copyright law. If a villain were to come onto a farmer's field in the dark of night and throw fistful's of patented seed on the ground, that farmer would be infringing upon the patent holder's rights. Our farmers want nothing to do with Monsanto - we don't want their seed, we don't want their technology, we don't want their trespass and we don't want their contamination of our farms. We have gone to court seeking justice and protection for both our families and for the customers who buy our crops and want access to good clean food and seed.


You Have The Beef.

Dear WPF.

     Jim, Greetings from Nebraska, where it does not rain anymore...anyway, I was involved with the Nebraska LEAD program a couple of years ago. At one of our many seminars, there was a speaker at UNL talking to us about the new Roundup/Dicamba technology. This seed is due out in 2014 according to our speaker. This technology will cover corn, soy, wheat and whatever else they can mess up. I was one of two organic farmers in our group of 28 LEAD fellows. I listened from the rear of the room and took it all in. LEAD fellows are there to learn not to cause a problem, but I had to ask...Dr. Weaks, I respect your technology, but how can you keep it on your side of the fence. He was all of a sudden not friendly to me, he stated "what are you complaining about, you still have corn" (even if it is now GMO contaminated, it is still corn). Being the good LEAD guy I was, I was polite and sat down. Here is what I should have said, and it took me some time to think this up, here is the argument, "Sir, I was deer hunting on my property, and the biggest buck I have ever seen was walking along the fence line, on my side of the fence. Your ground is on the other side of the fence. I pull out my trusty 308, and down the buck. The bullet travels through the animal and proceeds to hit your prize bull, you know, your $25,000 animal that is your pride and joy, your main source of income. You are really angry, and you come looking for me. Now, using your own argument, I do not understand the problem because sir, you still have hamburger"

Hope all is well!

Clarkson NE

WPF Replies.

     Good one. We now universally understand that slavery is wrong and immoral. However, it's not like it was fine and dandy until one day it turned bad. It was always bad. The societal understanding is what had to change: maturation of thought. It took many many years to correct erroneous public policy and to bring it into alignment with what had always been true: slavery is bad. Period. There exists a parallel here with transgenic/human engineered crops. They are bad, and have always been bad. In time this will be universally apparent.Our job is to hasten that day of universal understanding. Once we identify a wrong it is our moral obligation to work to correct it.


Patents on Traits.

Dear WPF.

     Here is the article that a friend told me about. He felt it indicated a move by Monsanto to over take the heritage seed market with a 70% goal of GMO/heritage seeds.


St. Louis, MO

WPF Replies.

     Thanks for the article. It was scant on details. Reading between the lines I would guess Melorange and Beneforte' were F1 hybrids produced via traditional breeding techniques, without transgenic technology. It is possible there are utility patents involved with these varieties.
     The Monsanto biotech sweet corn which is being sold (unlabeled) this summer does possess transgenic technology and one would assume that transgenic corn has been patented. We recommend that folks only purchase organic sweet corn from trusted organic farmers from this point forward should they want to purchase and eat sweet corn.
     We have ongoing concerns that Big Ag may try to secure utility patents on specific 'traits' - for example, the red trait in your grandmother's heirloom red lettuce variety. Should this unfortunate and unreasonable patent request be approved, we could be required to pay royalty to the patent holder trait-holder for the priviledge of growing our grandmother's seed containing the 'red lettuce trait.' Of course such a patent claim would be a form of piracy and such a misuse should be challenged in court. However, as in all cases, it comes down to where will the resources come from to perform this legal challenge?
     In a dysfunctional system such as we now have, the problems created by the bad players outstrips our ability to challenge and remedy.


Layers of Error.

Dear WPF.

     Bravo!! Thank you...we are all behind you and applaud this good news. I, for one, will continue to farm organically and to write for organics...keep it up. Thank you.

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     Thanks. The two Amici briefs make for interesting reading and in a short hour one will gain an understanding of the layers of error that led to an incorrect ruling by a New York judge.


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