Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                Friday, August 21 2015
                        Volume 22 Issue 17

      Enjoy Receiving The Seed Piece?
      Please Donate today and
      support our continuing educational
      work which includes The Seed Piece.         Thanks!


 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Beating the Heat.

     The National Heirloom Expo - A Community Celebration of Diversity & the People's Rightful Ownership of Good Food and Seed. We hope you'll join us for this year's Expo - which begins in California the day after Labor Day - as many, many thousands of us come together and commemorate the phenomenal seed work performed by our common ancestors going back hundreds of generations. Learn more about this not-be-missed annual event in the next article of the Seed Piece.
     Through last week we imagined we were trending into the cooler weather of Fall. Then, this week - BAM! In recent days we've seen the hottest days yet this Summer - a heat wave in which we approached 90ºF for several days. This week as we moved irrigation lines sweat poured off our brows.
     The best antidote we know of for this week's hot weather in Maine is to think about January - just as come January we'll warm up thinking back to these dog days of August.

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

Fiddle Contest at NHE. No need to resist the temptation. We'll see you there!
This Year's National Heirloom Expo: Don't Miss It!

     In just a couple of short weeks the 5th Annual National Heirloom Exposition will be held at the Sonoma Fairgrounds, in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco.  The event runs for three days and begin the day after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 8. 

   Every year, the Expo draws over 18,000 visitors.  The three day event is jam-packed with unbelievably diverse displays: over 4000 varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables and more; interesting talks by over 100 speakers – including this year, the incredible Vandana Shiva ; over 300 vendors;  loads of old-time family music; Art of the Heirloom Exhibit; Farmers Market; Giant Pumpkin Contest; great seed, delicious food, practical tools for down-to-earth living and much, much more!

   The crew from Wood Prairie Farm will be headed west for this National Heirloom Expo.  We will be selling our organic seed and organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes - all three days - from our booth located in the Vendor’s Arena.  We hope you will make every effort to attend.  You won’t be disappointed!  Please bring along your kids, bring your friends, and stop by and say ‘Hi!’

   Jim will be presenting twice at the Expo.  First, he will offer a family farmer’s perspective on a panel discussion moderated by Lisa Stokke of  Food Democracy Now! The panel will examine the negative impact GE crops have on food and farming.  Then, Jim will deliver a talk entitled, How Real Organic Is At Risk, Strong Standards Under Threat.

   The wildly successful National Heirloom Expo is the brainchild of our friends, Jere and Emilee Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri.  Jere started Baker Creek Seed eighteen years ago when he was just 17 years old – after having saved seed since he was three.

    Jere has been trying to get us to present at the Expo since its inception.  Last winter, when Jim spoke at the Missouri Organic Association conference in Springfield, he took some time to visit nearby Baker Creek Seed, part of Jere and Emilee’s famous destination historic village – Bakersville - located in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. That visit of Jim’s led to our decision to accept Jere’s long-standing invitation.

    This year we hope you will be able to follow our lead.  Come and join your many friends who will be at this remarkable National Heirloom Expo.

See you there,
Jim & Megan

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

Special Offer: FREE Smart Bag Growing Container.

     In recent years, gardening in containers has really taken off.  Why?  Because containers allow anyone anywhere to get their hands dirty and grow some good food.  Our friend, Janet, has outfitted every window in her New York City apartment with window boxes – easy to tend and easy to plant with herbs and greens.  

   We’ve found these ingenious Wood Prairie Smart Bags to be a sensible and practical solution to container gardening needs. The fiber bags are rugged and re-usable.  They allow one to successfully grow even the bigger plants like tomatoes and potatoes. 

      Here’s your chance to get a FREE Wood Prairie 15-Gallon Smart Bag (Value $12.95) on your next order where the goods total $55 or more.  Please use Promo Code WPF469.  Your order and FREE Wood Prairie 15-Gallon Smart Bag must ship by 11/15/15. Offer Expires 11:59p.m., Monday, August 24, so please do hurry!

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed Section.

Smart Bags. The perfect container which gives you the freedom to garden almost anywhere.

Alabama Family Farmer Michael White. In ten minutes this powerful video shows why Monsanto can't be trusted.
  Neil Young's Powerful Video of Farmer Michael White.

    This MUST WATCH video (10:42) – Seeding Fear: The Story of Michael White vs. Monsanto - produced by rocker and vocal anti-GMO opponent, Neil Young, provides critical insight into desperado Monsanto Corporation and their ruthless attacks upon American family farmers. Michael White and his father were farmers in Alabama.  Monsanto - in a chapter from their well-known campaign of farmer intimidation - decided they would make a lesson of the White family.

    One can not watch this video but be moved with anger.

    Do watch and share widely.  Then please call each of your U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose Monsanto’s ‘DARK” Act.  The DARK Act would forever outlaw mandatory GMO Labeling and is Monsanto’s cynical power play calculated to permanently hide the truth about GMOs from the American people.  This article from Civil Eats does an excellent job summarizing the radical effects of behind Monsanto’s DARK Act


Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Kansas Organic Turkey Red Winter Wheat Harvest Now Complete.

     Our good friends Bryce and Linda Stephens, and daughter Demetria, of Stephens Land & Cattle Company, near Jennings in western Kansas, have completed a successful winter wheat harvest.  These fifth generation Kansas wheat farmers harvested an excellent crop of landrace Organic Turkey Red Winter Wheat – their best crop since 2010.

    Here is a short video (0:34) of this year’s Turkey Red harvest in Kansas.

    The Stephens family, longtime organic farmers, is widely credited with saving Turkey Red Wheat – once grown on millions of acres around Kansas - from extinction.  The famous heirloom Turkey Red was brought to Kansas by Mennonite Colonies in 1874 and is renowned for its exceptional baking qualities and taste.  The Organic Turkey Red Winter Wheat seed we sell was grown by the Stephens. Now is the time to begin planting winter wheat at Maine’s latitude.

    The Stephens are very active in the organic community.  As President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), Jim works closely with Bryce who serves as OSGATA Vice-President.  Demetria is longtime Secretary on the International Board of Directors of pioneering farmer-owned and farmer-run organic certifier Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

   Here’s a video (1:01) of  camera-shy Demetria driving a loud John Deere 4430 tractor last October as she was re-planting some ground to Turkey Red.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Turkey Red Winter Wheat Seed.

Demetria Stephens with 2015 Turkey Red Wheat. The yardstick shows that this Turkey Red is four feet tall.
Recipe: Zucchini-Oatmeal Muffins.

1 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c chopped pecans
4 eggs
1 medium zucchini, grated
3/4 c salad oil

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease (12) 3" x 1 1/2" muffin pan cups.

In large bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat eggs slightly; stir in grated zucchini and salad oil. Stir egg mixture into flour just until flour is moistened.

Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.


Zucchini-Oatmeal Muffins. Moist and delicious.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Chantenay Canape and Potatoes Pounded by Hail.

Chantenay Canape.

Dear WPF.

     Hi Megan,

Wanted to thank you for selling me carrots this past winter. You did a good thing. Ordway Grove Farm is doing very well this summer. Baby and big Chantenay carrots are selling like penny candy. We plant fairly thick and thin when baby carrots are ready so the remaining grow full size. I remembered your request to share our canape idea to use Chantenay carrots. It's simple and a real good idea.

Mix cream cheese, sour cream and several chives: onion, garlic, lemon, Kosher coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Make the spread creamy. Keep it creamy and firm enough to spread.

Scrub Chantenays, slice coin thin and spread with cream cheese mix.

Keep cold till served.

Ordway Grove Farm
Norway, ME

WPF Replies.

     Albert, thanks for the hors d'oeuvre recipe. Glad it is going well this summer. Have fun!


Potatoes Pounded by Hail.

Dear WPF.

    Hi again folks,

I have a question about hail damage in our potato patch. We planted our Dark Red Norland and fingerling potatoes 12 weeks ago. The Red Norland was first to emerge and flower, with the fingerlings abotu 2-3 weeks behind.

The Red Norland foliage was starting to die back at about 10 weeks, then last Tuesday we were hit with a big thunderstorm with 1/2 inch hail. All the vines are pockmarked where the hail hit, and all of the foliage has been completely stripped off the Red Norland, although the fingerlings seem to have held on to their leaves.

With no leaves left on our Red Norlands (just bare pockmarked vines remain laying on the ground) should we be harvesting them now since there is no more photosynthesis going on?

Buxton, Maine

WPF Replies.

     You can harvest the DRN now or leave the tubers in the soil for a month if you want to keep the harvest for winter storage. At this stage of maturity I think the DRN are all done growing leaves for this year.
     If the fingerlings are late varieties like Russian Banana and Swedish Peanut there is a 50/50 chance they will regrow leaves. If you are in no rush to harvest - and the tubers are not grown to the size you desire - I would give the plants this chance to re-leaf and size up the tubers for another 4-6 weeks. The potatoes suffered trauma so prepare yourself for some yield loss.


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