Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                 Friday, September 04 2015
                        Volume 22 Issue 18

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    National Heirloom Exhibition.

     'Harvest 2015 Catalog' Headed to a Mailbox Near You. As of this week, our new Harvest 2015 Catalog is in the mail so please keep an eye out.
Of late, all of our work lists – apparent on any organizing clipboard – have contained the significant division: Before NHE & After NHE.
     This weekend we’re off to California to attend - for our first time - the 5th Annual National Heirloom Exhibition.  The “Before NHE” tasks have included digging early potatoes (See video elsewhere in this Seed Piece), killing early potatoes, and combining wheat.  Within days of returning from Santa Rosa, schools in our area will be closing down for the annual Potato Harvest Break.  When schools close, we’ll have our full crew - until Columbus Day - and that’s when we’ll begin working at harvest.
     Crops are looking good here in Aroostook County.  We hope, wherever you are, your growing season has gone well and that a bountiful harvest awaits you.

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

Vandana Shiva. Speaking from our experience of having heard her speak, we suggest you go to great lengths to hear Vandana at this year's National Heirloom Expo.
National Heirloom Exhibition Entices Vandana Shiva to Make Multiple Public Presentations.

     Dynamic, world-renowned good food and social justice advocate Vandana Shiva will be the headliner at next week’s National Heirloom Exhibition in Santa Rosa, California.  This year’s Fifth Annual Expo will run for three days beginning Tuesday, September 8.  Vandana is arguably the world’s leading spokesperson on critical issues of food and seed sovereignty, and justice for citizens and farmers

     Attendees will have three opportunities to hear the articulate Vandana speak at the Expo in the Sonoma Fairground’s Finley Hall.  She will provide the kickoff Keynote Address on Tuesday evening beginning at 7:10pm.  Then, on Wednesday evening, Vandana will be part of a Seed Summit panel.

     Finally, Vandana will appear the last evening, Thursday, on a finale panel entitled, Reclaim Your Seed Heritage, Reclaim Your Democracy: Monsanto Seed Patents and Farmers, Where Are We Now? This closing event panel will be moderated by organic food and farmer advocate, Lisa Stokke , co-founder and director of Food Democracy Now!  Joining Vandana on the panel will be Dave Murphy, co-founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now!, and Wood Prairie Farm’s Jim Gerritsen, President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

    At last year’s National Heirloom Expo, over 18,000 people attended and enjoyed the annual heirloom-themed pure food celebration.  Expo activities include massive displays of over 4,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables, scores of demonstrations and talks, old-time music, hundreds of exhibitors and vendors,  Farmers Market, Fiddle Contest, Giant Pumpkin Contest and much, much more.

   In addition to speaking on the panel with Vandana Shiva, Jim will be giving a talk on Thursday morning at 11:30am in Finley Hall.  Jim’s talk is entitled, How Real Organic is As Risk, Strong Standards Under Threat. 

    Throughout the 3-day Expo, Wood Prairie Farm will have a booth in the Vendor’s area.  We will be selling our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, our Organic Vegetable Seed, T-Shirts and more. 

     We know you will not be disappointed if you can make it to this year's the Expo - Please come by our booth and say ‘Hi.’

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Organic State of Maine Certified Seed Potatoes

Special Offer: Harvest Help FREE Shipping On All Orders! Hurry! Limited Time!

     Farmers need help during harvest and that’s a fact.  If you will help us by placing your order NOW we’ll return the favor by offering you FREE Shipping on that order!

  FREE Shipping can bring you huge savings!  We need the extra cash flow for the expense of Fall Potato Harvest.  If you act NOW you can save up to hundreds of dollars with FREE Shipping!

  Our Special Harvest Help FREE Shipping Offer is our way of thanking you for your business and loyalty and to encourage you to order at this time.

FREE Shipping ANYTIME! Place your order now for any item in our Catalog - or on our Web Store (www.woodprairie.com) - and get FREE Shipping regardless of whether you want your order to ship now, later this Fall, or in the Winter or Spring.

So, yes, this Special Harvest Help FREE Shipping! Offer does apply to our Organic Certified Seed Potatoes and includes seed potatoes for both home gardeners and Market Farmers.  But don’t worry: FREE Shipping also applies to everything, including our Organic Kitchen Potatoes, Organic Grain Goods, Organic Vegetables and Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Vegetable Seed and more!

           In short, get FREE Shipping on everything we offer!

 Please use Promo Code WPF470.  Special Harvest Help FREE Shipping! Offer order will be processed now and order must ship by 5/6/16.  Order may not be combined with other offers or deals. Special Harvest Help FREE Shipping! Offer is for retail orders only and is limited to a maximum $250 shipping credit so – farmers - you can SAVE BIG if you place your order NOW!  Please Note: Subzero transit temperatures may delay mid-winter shipping preferences. Questions? Call (800)829-9765! Special Harvest Help FREE Shipping! Offer ends 11:59 p.m. Eastern, Monday, September 7, 2015

           Please call or click today!

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm ‘Organic Potatoes for the Kitchen’ Section.

Organic Potatoes & More.
Shipping is FREE for a limited time.

Early Harvesting of Seed Potatoes on Wood Prairie Farm. These Seed Potatoes are headed to Santa Rosa to be sold at our Booth at the Expo next week.
  New Video of Digging Potatoes with Green Tops.

     Last week – right before Wednesday’s 2 1/2” rain storm event – we harvested modest amounts of ten varieties of organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.  After sorting, sizing, bagging and cooling, we shipped the sacks of Seed Potatoes out ahead of us to Santa Rosa where they will be sold at our Wood Prairie Farm booth at the upcoming National Heirloom Exhibition.

     Last week the potato plants were still growing and the tubers still sizing, so the potatoes have “green tops.”  We dug carefully by hand to prevent damage to the tender tubers.

     Catch all the potato field action in this short You Tube Video (2:01) we made of the harvest process.  You’ll also get a chance to hear the mix of songs from the tractor radio tuned into our local Country Classics radio station up in Presque Isle, Maine.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Farmer’s Workshop:  Build Yourself a Bedlifter.

     If you are handy at welding and fabrication – or have a friend who is – it is not difficult to build a Bed Lifter. The Bed Lifter is a versatile harvesting aid mounted to a tractor by the three-point hitch which raises and lowers it into the soil.  Heavy buckets full of concrete help with down pressure.
  In the Bed Lifter, the angled bottom blade is called the “spade” and it does all the work of lifting up the soil and crop.  Harvesting of crops is made dramatically easier when the soil is fluffed up by the Bed Lifter.  Once you use a Bed Lifter, your life will be better and you will wonder how you ever got along without one.

   About twenty years ago, we fabricated our Bed Lifter following a design from one owned by a friend in Vermont.  We made ours from used “grader blades” that were gifted to us from the generous fellows at the Town Garage in Bridgewater.  Grader blades are the replaceable wear plates bolted to the bottom of heavy-duty dump truck-mounted snow plows.  “Road Graders” also utilize such replaceable grader blades.  If you can find them, grader blades are an excellent resource.  Note that grader blades are made of cast iron and will therefore need special welding rods designed for welding cast iron.  Do build your Bed Lifter extra heavy duty!

   In operation we always take it slow and easy – medium throttle in low gear with one foot always near the clutch.  By design, the spade digs deep.  In our glacier-deposited country one never knows what unseen “ledge” (bedrock) or boulder may be lurking hidden below the soil surface with a maniacal secret mission to trash invading farm equipment.

  We designed our Bed Lifter to be 6 ½ feet wide to work with our six-foot-centered tractors.  This width allows us to lift a single four-row-bed of carrots or, alternatively,  a double-three-foot row of parsnips, beets, onions or – as the You Tube video in the article above shows – potatoes.  If your planting beds or tractor are narrower than our set up then, you would want to scale down the Bed Lifter down.


Click Here for Our Farm-Direct Certified Organic Fresh Vegetables.

Homemade Bedlifter. Indespensible for lifting beds of carrots, parsnips, etc. Tape measure is extended to 3' for scale.
Recipe: Potato Pepper Spanish Tortilla.

1 T olive oil, plus more for serving
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
1 pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add potatoes, pepper, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 14-16 minutes. Uncover, and cook off excess liquid, about one minute.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, parsley, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables in skillet, and gently stir to distribute evenly. With the back of a spatula, press down on vegetables so they lay flat and are submerged.

Bake in oven until set, about 15 minutes. To unmold, run a rubber spatula around edge of skillet to release tortilla; invert onto a serving plate. Drizzle with oil. Serve hot or room temperature.


Click Here for Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed.

A Delicious and Healthy Meal.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Fall Planting Texas Tips and Varieties For Fall Planting.

Fall Planting Texas Tips.

Dear WPF.

     Hi Megan,

     You people are heroes. Fighting for what is right against big business.
     Here's how I plant Fall potatoes: I used to just put them in the ground and then the rains came and the tubers rotted. Now when I get them, I put them in trays and mist them with water. They stay in a dark closet for about three weeks.
     At the end of three weeks they usually have sprouted. If there are some dead potatoes or sick ones or rotten ones I take them out of the tray.
     Then I leave the remaining healthy potatoes for about another three weeks. At that point they usually have grown cute web like rootlets on the bottom side of the potato.
     Next I take the trays out in the sun and let them stay outside day (full sun) and night for a week. I don't know what that does to them physically but it seems to pep them up and make them resistant to disease.
     Finally I put them in the ground. It doesn't matter what side is up or down. I have used no herbicides or pesticides or fungicides or other such stuff and in over 40 years I have never had trouble with blight, beetles, or viruses.
     The yields are big and they come on fast. All the best.

Seabrook, TX

WPF Replies.

     Thank you so much. You are a good teacher Old-timers have also swore greened-up Seed Potatoes resisted disease.


Varieties For Fall Planting.

Dear WPF.

    I live in western Pennsylvania, Zone 5. I am interested in planting this Fall, what would be a good variety that you have to plant?


WPF Replies.

     In planting Fall potatoes you will want to select short dormancy varieties such as Reddale, Onaway or Adirondack Blue which will sprout/grow sooner than later. One customer in southern MI has done this Fall planting for years. She is careful to use plenty of straw over the bed as insultation from Winter's cold. The safest practice is to keep seed potatoes inside at room temperature in the dark until they break dormancy and sprout. Then, after you see growth,  plant away. Good luck.


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