September 29, 2014
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Organic Seed Potatoes on Wood Prairie Farm.
September’s dry – and recently hot – weather has allowed us to make
steady and good progress on potato harvest. This year’s
crop is pretty typical of a dry growing season: high quality and good
With ten days digging under our
belt the end of potato harvest is nearly in sight. Today was
drizzly 50ºF. However, recent days have been
haying-weather-hot. The temperature yesterday peaked at 84ºF
smashed the old record high of 77ºF for the date. In fact,
according to the Caribou Weather Office, yesterday “was the warmest
temperature ever so late in the season.” The weather this
forecast to return to cooler and more "normal" levels.
We expect to be back on the ground
digging potatoes tomorrow. Following potatoes we will still
left to harvest.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Video: How We Dig
Potatoes on Wood Prairie Farm.
It is not that unusual for us to have
visitors during our colorful Aroostook County potato harvest.
Just a few years ago it was author Richard Horan and his daughter doing
research for his engaging book, Harvest.
This year, talented Portland food
French stopped by our harvest while on assignment
photographing local Northern Maine organic dairy farmers.
Then last week, a film crew from WABI-TV traveled the
150 miles north from Bangor to Bridgewater (Pop. 610) and filmed
(1:55) our organic seed potato harvest as a news story for the 6
For decades Aroostook County has been
known as the "Potato
We are one of the last areas in the United States to still close
schools in the Fall for the three-week "Potato Harvest Break."
Our Harvest Break tradition goes back to World War II and
students the opportunity to help get the potato crop in under
cover. In the post-World War II 1940s, Maine education took a
leap towards consolidation, began closing one-room rural school houses
and adopted a universal 175-day-standard-school-year. Prior to that
schools logically enough started up at the end of the farming season in
and then closed for the year when mud season arrived in the
Spring. Now, to keep the number crunchers happy in Augusta,
Aroostook kids start school three weeks “early” in August to allow them
the three weeks off for “digging.”
Experience in the real world means a lot. Our four children
a combined 70 years of dusty, first-hand experience with the Aroostook
potato harvest. The beneficial work reputation gained from an
Aroostook potato harvest is nothing short of legendary in New England.
Historically, any local student wanting a Summer job down on the
touristy coast of Maine has only to mention that they have worked the
potato harvest in Aroostook County and they will be hired on the spot.
As you will see in the WABI
the steady potato work requires fast hands and determination, day after
day. For the last seven years we have been digging our crop
a well-built Juko “Super Midi” potato harvester we imported directly
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Megan on Juko Harvester. A hot-cold-hot-cold potato harvest so far.
| Study: Organic
Agriculture is Capable of Curing Climate Chaos.
one week ago, New York City hosted the historic People’s
Climate March which some reports indicated
involved 400,000 participants. Following soon after was the United
Nations Climate Summit, also held in NYC.
In the lead up to these
Radio in NYC conducted an interview (5:25) with Jim.
He described how agriculture and food are big players when it comes to
the environment and climate change. Good farming is able to
correct the problem of misplaced Carbon in the air. Removing
Carbon from the air and sequestering it in the soil as organic matter
has a huge impact, not only on climate but in the enhancement of farms
and food. Capturing Carbon and increasing soil organic matter increases
soil fertility, tilth, aeration, water holding capacity, Nitrogen
fixation and mineral availability.
Our friends at Rodale Institute provide excellent background on this
Carbon connection in the form of recently published research.
Their study, Regenerative
Organic Agriculture and Climate Change documents
how a shift to organic farming would serve as a central solution to the
looming problem of climate chaos.
Organic farming is good for
the climate, good for the soil and good for people. Buying organic not only is good
for you and your family, but it is also good for our
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crops.
| Notable Quotes:
John Muir on Connectedness.
and Corn Soup.
by Angela Wotton
and Corn Soup
1 T extra
1 T butter
1 medium Dutch
1 clove Red
Russian Garlic, diced
2 thyme sprigs
Blush Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 c vegetable
or chicken stock
1/2 - 1 c water
2 c fresh or
frozen sweet corn
Heat the oil
and butter in a
large saucepan until melted. Add onion, thyme, pinch of salt, and
garlic and cook over medium low until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.
Add potatoes, stir, and cook for another five minutes. Add stock and
water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook
until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add corn just before the
potatoes are done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
here for our Wood Prairie Kitchen Potatoes
| Special Offer: FREE Sack of Organic Red
world it would surely be if it were not for good garlic. If
are less than excited by the thought of garlic it may be you have never
experienced high quality culinary garlic. The ho hum garlic
everywhere in the grocery store aisle – much of it now imported from
China - does not do garlic justice. If
you have never
tasted it, our excellent Organic
Red Russian Garlic will be a real treat and eye-opener for
your and your family or as a gift to a friend.
Now here's your chance to earn
yourself a FREE
1 lb. Sack of
Organic Red Russian Garlic (Value $19.95) when the amount
of goods in your next order totals $75 or more. FREE 1 lb. Sack of Organic Red
Russian Garlic offer ends Midnight Friday, October 3,
2014, so better hurry!
use Promo Code WPF1190. Your order must ship by 11/19/14. This offer
may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click
Farm (800) 829-9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fresh Vegetable Section.
Cartons of Carola, Scab on Potatoes? and Illegal GE Wheat.
Cartons of Carola.
Will you be selling 50lb cartons
of Carola potatoes this year? If so, when do you plan to allow
we expect to have 50s of Carola and we'll know for sure when we dig
them. They are one of the last varieties to be dug. You can go ahead
and order Carolas right now.
Scab on Potatoes?
We have some serious scab on our
we bought from another company. I don't suspect that the scab came with
One reason we
got into raising organic Maine Certified Seed potatoes many years ago
is that we could not get from other growers the seed quality we wanted.
In terms of potato scab we are convinced - after discussions and
experience with different seed lots of the same variety from different
farms planted in the same field on the same day - that seed potatoes
can carry subclinical levels of scab which will be invisible to the
human eye. Then, when conditions are optimal for the development of
scab (including dry or alternating dry and moist soil) a crop grown
from such seed can produce a scabby and unsalable harvest. We are
grateful our farm has never had a problem with scab. If someone has a
recurring scab problem here are three conditions for them to avoid.
1) Shortfall of available Phosphorus.
2) Shortfall of soil fungi.
3) Low mycorrhizae.
We have learned seed varies in quality. Production
seed is mostly centralized with a relatively small number of farmers
growing a given variety of seed. At the other end of the continuum are
Certified Seed potatoes where you have a relatively large number of
farmers growing the various varieties.
line is that a farmer should not buy Certified Seed potatoes as though
they were a generic commodity. Once you find a good supplier of seed
potatoes (grower identity will be on the government-issued seed tag
sewed to the bag of seed) go to great lengths to assure that your seed
comes from that specific seed farmer.
Illegal GE Wheat.
Discovery of GMO Wheat Reveals 'Failed Policy' That Threatens Farmers:
I remember about seven years ago when the state of North Carolina voted
to allow trial plots of GMO rice. I spoke before the legislature and
told them I was positive the genes would get out into the rice seed
bank plot 15 miles away despite industry promises that they couldn't.
Then, a few months later when the genes got out into the seed bank
plot, the legislature declared it an "act of God". I wrote them a
letter reminding them of my prediction and stating that they should
therefore recognize me as a prophet, but I'm not sure if they got the
I expect the Legislature's thinking may well have
clouded by benevolent "gifts" from Biotech largesse, specifically
designed to massage favorable treatment. I've seen it work that way in
Maine. That's Biotech's standard operating procedure. They have little
faith in their products and won't leave their fate to independent due
Now USDA's fraudulent concept of harmonious
between polluter GE crops and innocent-victim-non-GE crops, such as
organic, should be once and for all acknowledged as the illegitimate
fabrication of corporate-government collusion. The long and costly
history - paid for by taxpayers and victimized farmers - of
fallout from episodic GE contamination, like Liberty Link Corn, GE
Rice, GE Alfalfa, GE Soybeans, GE Canola, GE Sugar Beets, GE Papaya,
and now TWO GE Wheat discoveries, amply illustrate the reality that
Biotech and it's government cheerleaders are completely incapable of
responsibility and maintaining segregation of their unwanted transgenes
from the world's food supply.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm