Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
             Thursday, September 29th 2016
                       Volume 24 Issue 17


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Coasting Through Harvest.

     Rail Cars Full of Maine Potatoes.  After two hundred years it’s become apparent we can grow potatoes in Aroostook County.  Until about 1890 - when the railroad first came into Bridgewater - potatoes were mostly consumed locally or made into starch – a good way to concentrate the raw product and increase value making transportation of product from isolated northern Maine feasible.  In a way this was akin to how making whiskey elevated the value from corn.

    Once from the railroads came along, East Coast population centers were but a train ride away from Maine.  In the good ole’ days potatoes were a staple food everybody ate.  Maine, potatoes and trains were a marriage made in heaven.  And the good times went on for many, many decades here in Maine’s Potato Empire.

     Now this year’s Maine potato crop appears to be a very good one.  We’re happy with the excellent quality and yields.   We in the North escaped the terrible dryness – from reports we’ve received the worst drought in 20 to 60 years depending on locale – experienced elsewhere in Maine and the Northeast.  In fact, the 2016 growing season (Jun-Aug) is going down as the 11th wettest on record in Caribou (15” total).  As is common, Bridgewater had even more rain than Caribou – 18” over those same three months.

     Now, two weeks into potato harvest and the weather has been cooperating very well.  Students go back to school in twelve days and we should be done by then. 

     We hope your harvest is going well.

 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
.Our Long Wait is Over: Caitlin Shetterly's New Book Modified Has Launched.

     Last week Jim let Caleb takeover running the potato harvester as he escaped from our potato harvest and drove down the 300 miles to the organic Broad Turn Farm in the Portland area.  The occasion there was the book-launch-reception of Maine documentary journalist Caitlin Shetterly’s long-awaited new book, Modified – GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future.

      It was several years ago Caitlin gained national notoriety when her heartfelt essay about GMOs appeared in Elle magazine, The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn.   Caitlin had written about her trials to uncover what was causing her debilitating, stubborn illness.  In time, she came to the discovery it was her family’s consumption of supposedly “safe” genetically engineered (GE) corn that was behind her serious malady.  The earnest and honest Elle article became an overnight huge and popular success to readers.

      Meanwhile, the breakthrough article in Elle also caught the attention of Monsanto and the dark, misanthropic biotech industry.  Then a bitter, horrendous, orchestrated firestorm ensued.  Elle courageously stood behind Caitlin and defended her article from attack.  Soon, the same sort of fierce, calculated, character assassination campaign which has plagued honest scientists - who raised genuine concerns over GE crops - was targeted directly at Caitlin.

      Smoking-gun-documents – formerly secret - secured by US Right-to-Know’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests would eventually prove it was none other than Monsanto which had paid the hired-gun shills to mount their vicious attack on Caitlin.  Monsanto’s sleazy, brutish efforts were to discredit her powerful essay which had been refreshingly written primarily for an audience of mothers and women concerned about the well-being of their families.

      Brave, bold and undeterred, Caitlin’s next step was to commence investigating the GMO subject more thoroughly and then write a book about what she had learned.  Caitlin’s travels in search of the truth about GMOs are carefully and interestingly related in this new extremely readable memoir, Modified.

     In the Fall of 2013, Caitlin’s travels brought her up here to Wood Prairie Family Farm where she helped us with our organic seed corn harvest.

     Just before lunchtime, we made our way to the corn patch where I was, ostensibly, meant to walk behind the tractor and pickup corn that the tractor left behind.  But the old, antique tractor – the kind you remember from your childhood, with big wheels and a small seat kind of like tractor in the Otis the Tractor children’s books – was not working properly.  And so Jim, Megan, Sarah, Amy and I all walked along the rows and literally hand-harvested the corn – shucked it – while Caleb drove the tractor, pulling the wagon behind him, into which we lobbed our cobs as we went along.  Thinking back to that moment as I was driving across Iowa, I almost laughed at the difference between Jim’s “put-put-puttety chuffing” tractor and the enormous and powerful computerized control room of Zach’s operation.  What stopped my guffaw was the realization that there is nothing in the way that Jim and his family live that is not completely tied to their piece on earth.  And there’s a temerity and also a dignity to that.

     This new book of Caitlin Shetterly’s is MUST READ for everyone – for all of us concerned about our food and our families and our world.   Jim is most of the way through his first reading – a notable achievement during this busy time of the year amid potato harvest.  Caitlin is a talented writer who warmly and effortlessly draws one in and succeeds at turning the inherently complicated subject of genetic engineering into an enjoyable opportunity for learning as well as entertainment.

      Sadly, biotechnology’s self-serving successes have been predicated upon keeping the people in the dark and in decades of buying political favor.  Biotech’s absolute worst fear is that the truth will emerge about their fatally flawed technology.  Caitlin’s book shines the light of truth upon GE crops.  Why wouldn’t her new writing again agitate the biotech bullies into attack mode? 

      The happy fact is, as a superbly-written book, Modified deserves to be on every Best-Seller list.  You can help that effort for Best-Seller-status by purchasing copies today for yourself and friends.  Upon becoming a bonafide Best Seller, the mainstream media will no longer be free to comply with Monsanto’s behind-the-scenes manipulations to keep this valuable landmark book unmentioned, unnoticed and out of mind.

      You may find Caitlin’s book at your local bookseller or you may today order from our Wood Prairie online book store.

Jim & Megan

Click Here to the Caitlin’s Book, Modified, Available in Our Wood Prairie Online Bookstore.

Mainer Caitlin Shetterly's New Book Modified. MUST READ book about a journey to understand GMO Foods.

Adirondack Red from Cornell. Beautiful, good tasting and worth trying.

Special Offer: FREE Sack of Organic Certified Adirondack Red Seed Potatoes.

     This week - in the thick of potato harvest - we dug up our beautiful crop of the new variety, Adirondack Red potatoes. Adirondack Red - a long potato which sports a striking deep red skin and solid pink flesh - was bred by our friend Dr. Walter De Jung of Cornell University. It is a Cornell cousin of remarkable blue/blue potato Adirondack Blue, another hot variety which is becoming famous for its high levels of health-giving antioxidants.

     Now here's your chance to try some Adirondack Red with our compliments. Earn yourself a FREE 1 lb. Sack of Organic Adirondack Red Maine Certified Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $40 or more. FREE 1 lb. Sack of Organic Adirondack Red Maine Certified Seed Potatoes offer ends Midnight, Monday October 3.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 496. Your order and FREE 1 lb. Sack of Organic Adirondack Red Maine Certified Seed Potatoes must ship by 5/6/17. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call us at Wood Prairie Family Farm (207) 429-9765.

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

Rodale's Organic Life Broaches The Best Potato Varieties.

And What is Your Favorite Potato?

     Author Betsy Andrews posed this question to us: “What are your favorite potato varieties?”  We carefully discussed how best to respond to Betsy’s inquiry.  In the end, we decided our best reply would be to send down over a dozen delicious potatoes we grow organically on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  That way, Betsy could see for herself.

     So the shipment and several interviews over the phone became the substantial elements to her  article.  Betsy boiled down our suggestions to eight notable potatoes.  Her article just published in the magazine Rodale’s Organic Life.  A substantially expanded electronic version of the print article was posted online on the Organic Life website .  The article features not only great photographs of the potatoes, but also wonderful recipes well-suited to each variety.

Just about the only potato in U.S. stores used to be the Idaho. Not anymore, says Cornell University potato expert Walter De Jong. “Every breeding program has a project on unusual potatoes. It goes hand in hand with the rise of local food production, and it’s tied to the organic movement.” Intriguing organic spuds appear at farmers’ markets, but they’re also available online. Jim and Megan Gerritsen of Maine’s Wood Prairie Family Farm have grown many varieties for more than 30 years. Like other mail-order farms, they offer seed potatoes to sprout at home. From October to April, they also sell ready-to-cook kitchen spuds.

Here are the eight potatoes which made the cut on Betsy’s list and links for find their Kitchen Potato availability on our website.

    Adirondack Blue

    Adirondack Red

    Butte Russet

    Huckleberry Gold

    Dark Red Norland

    Island Sunshine



Do check out the recipes and the great photos!

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Specialty Potatoes for the Kitchen.

Woody Guthrie on Work.

Recipe: Tomato Tarte Tatin.
Rye Pie Crust
1/3 c rye flour
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 c salted butter, cut into cubes
3 - 4 T cold water

Pulse ingredients together in food processor or mix by hand, cutting in the butter. Drizzle cold water and mix until dough comes together.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while preparing tomato filling.

2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs mix of tomatoes
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a bit of flour
zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat to saute' the onions and a couple pinches of salt in the oil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

While the onions are cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half and leave the smaller ones whole. Add tomatoes to the caramelized onions along with the sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a deep pie dish. If you get the sense that the tomatoes are quite juicy and might release a lot of liquid, you can toss the mixture with a tablespoon or two of flour at this point. Sprinkle mixture with lemon zest.

Roll out the pie dough, and use it to cover the tomato mixture, tucking in the sides a bit. Cut a few slits in the crust and bake in the top third of the oven until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are bubbling a bit at the sides, 25-30 minutes.
Serves 6-8


Tomato Tarte Tatin. Late Season Treat.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm