Thursday August 29, 2013
Issue of The Seed Piece:
& Fall Upon Us.
and Dodging Showers.
We mailed our Harvest Catalog
week. So keep an eye out because it will soon be in your mailbox.
Amid sad tales of winter wheat crop failures in
due to just too much rain this Summer, we are getting our Roblin
successfully harvested in between
days of rain or showers. You'll find in the first article following
this letter, a YouTube
video of our grain combining
taken earlier this
week - before yesterday's rain.
Despite the hot weather of early July,
has been a cool Summer. In terms of growing degree-days, this year
we've been 10% behind both the 5-Year and 10-Year average for Northern
Maine. So we're finding the heat-loving crops like corn are a tad
behind. Our first Fall frost typically comes later than it did back in
the 1970s and 1980s so we expect we'll be OK and our organic
seed corn crops
and organic squash seed
should mature and dry down just fine.
We began flame-killing
this week as the first step in getting ready for Harvest ("Digging")
next month. We have equipment yet to get ready for harvest including
putting a new clutch in one farm truck. Last week our 1973 Massey
Ferguson 300 grain combine had its turn and we installed a new clutch.
Good equipment, well-designed and well-maintained can peform admirably
for a very long time. Detroit, are you listening?
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
Jim in the
Combining our Roblin HRS Wheat.
| Combining Wheat on
Wood Prairie Farm.
| Hundred Year
Hailstorm Devastates Half of Montana Seed Potato Crop.
A massive hailstorm on August 1 plowed through the
of Montana’s seed potato growing area and caused widespread destruction
of much of that state’s certified seed potato crop. Estimates
are that 5000 acres – nearly half of Montana’s seed potato crop – were
insurance adjusters rate this crop damage in southwestern Montana as
the worst seen in over 100 years.
Maine and Montana are generally recognized as the
of the highest quality certified seed potatoes in North
It is expected this hail storm will impact seed potato supplies for up
to three years. The toll on individual farms will be significant.
Reports indicate much of the damaged Montana crop
greened back up and, if the weather cooperates, farmers are hoping
to achieve an overall yield 60-70% of normal. They are planning on
letting the crop grow as long as they dare into September to allow the
tubers to size up. Growers also plan on retooling the
chains on their potato harvesting equipment – reducing the gaps to
accommodate the predictably smaller sized tubers.
Our central Aroostook County, Maine was hit with a similar –
though much smaller in geographic size - intense hailstorm twenty years
ago. That year, around August 10, a vicious wind-and-hail-storm-swath
mile-wide came out of the North Maine woods just a few hundred yards
north of Wood Prairie Farm. That storm cell proceeded ENE
farmland and forest for six miles until it dissipated somewhere past
the Canadian border. Grain was flattened, potato plants were
entirely stripped clean of leaves, and west-facing windows and
windshields of homes and trucks at the truck stop in Blaine and beyond
were shattered. Days later, the accumulated hail could still
seen in the shoulders of area roads.
potato varieties, like ‘Superior,’ were suddenly finished growing for
the year and never came back. Late varieties, like ‘Russet
Burbank,’ eventually leafed back out and grew again but yields were
seriously impaired. Crop hail damage amounted to $5.5
remember this because a Federal Disaster Declaration could only be
declared if the damage exceeded $6 million. Our neighbors took it on
the chin. Hopefully our friends in Montana will make out better this
Jim & Megan
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potatoes
Monsterous Hail Storm.
Destruction on farms and forest.
Click to see larger version.
Wheat and Traditional Uses
We came across this chart and found it
helpful for understanding uses of different types of wheat.
is what we grow on Wood Prairie Farm. Spring Wheat is best
in our potato-centered four-year crop rotation. Hard Red
wheat generally provides a higher level of gluten or protein than
Winter Wheat and has a better and more robust flavor than bland White
Wheats. Of course, since it is the only wheat we grow, we use our
Roblin Wheat Flour in our kitchen as our ‘all-purpose’ flour in
everything from breads and pies to cakes, cookies and even pasta. It
does just fine for us for all these varied uses.
Jim & Megan
here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Grains Section.
| Notable Quotes:
American Patriot Thomas Paine.
"There are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their
country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man
and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have
this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more
glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly:
it is dearness only that gives everything its value."
1737 - 1809
Patriots. Sad Specimens.
Zucchini Cookies. A delicious and healthy treat.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
Lemon Zucchini Cookies
c unsalted butter, room temperature
c confectioners' sugar
tsp pure vanilla extract
tsp packed finely grated lemon zest
oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a
wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and
salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add
zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.
dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined
baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25
to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool on wire racks.
| Special Offer: FREE The Organic Seed Grower Book.
has rolled in for Dr John Navazio’s recent encyclopedic work, The Organic Seed Grower.
Navazio has made a keystone contribution to the future of the
grassroots organic seed movement. The Organic Seed Grower is
fundamental resource for the preservation and improvement of
agricultural biodiversity.” – Jeff McCormack, founder, Southern
Exposure Seed Exchange
Navazio has written a fantastic guide for organic seed breeders and
producers. He has taken organic seed production to a higher
level.” - Suzanne Ashworth, author of Seed to Seed.
The Organic Seed Grower, well-respected scientist and organic seed
expert Dr John Navazio has written the definitive bible on organic seed
production. At once encyclopedic, well-written and
Navazio's seminal work deserves a place in every grower's
library. The organic seed farmer wanting a comprehensive
seed production reference book, the family farmer wanting to learn how
to grow and guarantee his access to a favorite variety, and the serious
seed saver committed to progress and consistent success will find this
book an indispensable guide and Navazio a trusted partner in organic
seed improvement.” - Jim Gerritsen, owner, Wood Prairie Farm
Here's your chance to earn a FREE The Organic Seed Grower
(Value $49.95) when your next order totals $300 or more. Market Farmers: Yes this offer
does apply to you! FREE
Seed Grower offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday,
Labor Day September 2, 2013, so better hurry!
Please use Promo Code WPF1153.
Organic Seed Grower
can ship immediately, independent of when we ship your order. Offer may
not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!
Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Seed Potato Section.
The Organic Seed Grower.
FREE new and complete resource.
Vigilant Battlers, Reading Tea Leaves, Farmers' Rights, Bright Enough?
Jim, I see much saying that certified organic can
up to 5% pesticide/gmo's/insecticides...and that the only true poison
free is 100% certified organic. What do you say about that? I certainly
go for certified organic, and I know that it is better than
matter what, but just wondering your thoughts.
We grow organic oats and mill them here on our
farm in our
milling operation and sell rolled oats that are 100% organic. We also
grow organic hard-red-spring wheat. We mill that into flour and sell
that as 100% organic. According to USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
regs, manufactured organic products may contain up to 5% APPROVED
(listed) non-agricultural ingredients. For example, we make and sell
Organic Whole Wheat Pancake mix by combining 98% organic WW flour, 1%
sea salt and 1% baking powder (Baking powder is not available organic.
We have sourced a baking powder which is corn-based and the corn is IP
- identify preserved - nonGE). Obviously raw foods may be 100% organic.
unlike our organic rolled oats and organic whole wheat flour, most
processed foods will contain small amounts (under 5%) of these approved
'processing aides.' Watchdog groups like Cornucopia are VIGILANT in
battling outsider corporations who seek to weaken organic by adding
self-serving bogus materials to the approved List of non-agricultural
processing aids. While these matters quickly get complicated, this is
OUR organic community, and we MUST fight for what's right and support
our allies - like Cornucopia - who do the heavy lifting. They need more
members and they need more donations to keep up their good work. https://www.cornucopia.org/
Reading the Tea
Could you say something about canola growing in
County? All I know is that there are a lot more yellow fields than
there were even a few years ago. Not exactly in-depth knowledge. Thanks!
Connecticut passed its Right-to-Know GMO Labeling
June. Governor LePage issued a written promise to the Legislature that
he will sign Maine's GMO Label bill, LD 718, in January. Vermont's
House has passed their GMO Label bill and the Senate will take up the
House bill in January and pass it shortly thereafter. Similar GMO Label
bill efforts are underway and have momentum in NH, MA, NY, PA, NJ and
elsewhere. In November, Washington State voters will decide on the I-522
GMO Labeling referendum.
What is clear is that citizens are demanding their
Right-to-Know whether the food offered to them has been genetically
engineered (GE, the same thing as GMO) or not. Transparency is
essential to democracy and for the proper functioning of a free market.
Consumers and retailers alike are looking for products free of GE. GMO
Labeling will - for the first time - provide differentiation in the
marketplace and the new demand for non-GE products and oils will be
Because of our isolation, farmers in
Aroostook County have a unique opportunity to read these tea leaves now
and act decisively on this HUGE developing market opporunity. Aroostook
County growers would be well advised to cooperate with one another and
secure a production and marketing unity. They will need to source clean
(free of GE contamination) non-GE Canola seed - even if they have to
source it from Europe. Aroostook has every chance to become known as
the region which produces high quality non-GE Canola which can then be
pressed to make non-GE Canola oil. There is no doubt the demand for
non-GE grain and seed inputs is about ot explode. However, the big
question remains, will Aroostook County farmers anticipate and respond
to the developing unprecendented market demand for non-GE crops?
Rights of our
First, thank you for all you do, not only
food but all of your work and time fighting for the rights of our
We have a tiny yard in a small city but with
planning and quality seeds we have a wonderful garden. Only 140 square
feet yielded salads all season, potatoes, and enough tomatoes to can
salsa, sauce, and crushed tomatoes.
more people knew that even with a small space that fresh vegetables can
be theirs! From onion and radish to beans, cucumbers and even melons.
I wish I had more room for potato plants but as I
this year, they will get the smaller plot in the front yard. Thanks
Appreciate the report. Thanks for your support.
Jim & Megan
Not Bright Enough?
What do you know about this? Is it true?
Farmers to Face Fines or Jail
Time for Dealing Directly with Customers
The article contains many examples of the long
conflict between the government's perceived 'responsibility' to act in
the public's behalf in the striving for 'food safety' and our right as
citizens to make the food purchases we desire. Of course in this case -
as in many others - the government activity operates in a haze of
conflict of interest and includes often unquestioned bias in favor of
unlabeled GE food, inadequately-tested chemical agriculture and
concentrated corporate control by Big Ag and Big Food. Citizens want
the right to decide for ourselves what to feed our families. The
government is afraid we're not bright enough to make that
determination. The battle continues.
Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm