Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                  Friday, October 14th 2016
                       Volume 24 Issue 18


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Almost Done.

     End of Wood Prairie Harvest Now in Sight.  Above, a circa 1906 photograph of another successful Aroostook County potato harvest. With our solid streak of dry weather in October, we were able to finish up potatoes last week which is on the early side for us.  2016 will go down as one of the two best Falls for digging we’ve had in Northern Maine over the last ten years.
      Reports we’ve heard from up and down Aroostook County are that most everybody has grown an excellent potato crop with very good quality.  County potatoes are now for the most part harvested and safely under cover.  While it has turned dry, of Maine’s sixteen counties, only Aroostook has escaped designation as suffering from some level of drought.
       If everything goes right we should just about finish with harvest this weekend.  We hope things have gone well for you as well.  We are now almost caught up shipping out your orders – so please do us know if there is something you need that we can send out to you.

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

Travels with Quigley. The Great American Journey. Powered by Quigley's high energy.

 Briana Moore is an ambitious and talented young New England photographer and writer.  Traveling with her personable – and high energy – dog, Quigley, she has embarked on a cross-country journey closely re-tracing the path trod by John Steinbeck in his cross-country expedition during fall of 1960.  The tales from that journey were recounted in his best-selling 1962 book, Travels with Charley

     Beginning in Long Island, New York, Steinbeck first hurdled his three-quarter ton GMC pickup and camper towards Maine.  His traveling companion for the long journey was, famously, Charley – his wife’s poodle.

     One of Steinbeck’s early stops was here in Aroostook County during that Fall’s potato harvest.  With shades of The Grapes of Wrath, he spent the night beside a potato field with a family of French-speaking potato pickers who had come over from Canada to work the potato harvest. 

       After traversing Maine, Steinbeck headed to the American West.  His book remains a classic and memorable travel log.  Jim is a fan of Steinbeck’s writing - and has read Travels with Charley though it’s been forty years.

     With a well-thought-through design and with meticulous execution, Briana decided to closely replicate Steinbeck’s trip.  So it was no mere coincidence that she and Quigley came up to visit our farm during our last week of potato harvest.  The duo’s plan is to savor the places, people and flavor of our country, take loads of photographs, share the trip on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blog) and then write a book about her long-trailblazed-journey.

       Over the summer, Briana held a successful Kickstarter campaign to help pay for gas and other expenses.  Her mechanic-husband helped her secure a reliable pickup truck (a Toyota similar to one we run on our farm) and wedded camper. 

       Arriving in Aroostook County after Acadia National Park, they spent the night parked beside our Big Pond.  By noon the next day Quigley and Briana were on the road again and headed for wide open spaces out West.

        The photos accompanying this article were taken by Briana during their stay in Aroostook County.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Special Offer: FREE Copy of Caitlin Shetterly's New Book Modified.

     In the last issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece we introduced you to Mainer Caitlin Shetterly’s must read book, Modified – GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future.

     Modified is the most popular book we’ve offered in a long time and copies are flying of the shelves. Please don’t miss reading Modified or you’ll miss out!

     Now here's your chance to get yourself a FREE Copy of Modified (Value $28.00) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $100 or more.  Hurry because FREE Copy of Modified Offer ends Midnight, Monday October 17.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 497. Your FREE Copy of Modified may ship - Now or Later: Your Choice – but qualifying order must not ship later than 5/6/17.  Unless you request otherwise, we’ll ship Modified along with your qualifying order. 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 Vegetable Seed.

Caitlin Shetterly's Modified. Act fast TODAY and earn your FREE copy.

Winding Down Wood Prairie Harvest. Chantenay Carrots come last as the frosty nights sweeten them up.

Harvesting French Chantenay Carrots on Wood Prairie Family Farm.

     With potato harvest finished as of last week, our attention has now turned towards our hand-harvest of organic Chantenay Carrots.  For this job we use our twenty-year-old homemade “Carrot Bed Lifter”.  The Bed Lifter is attached to the 3-point hitch of one of our Oliver tractors.  It is loaded heavily with weights for good down pressure so it will glide underneath the carrots. 

       Our neighbor, Katie Finemore was helping us pick carrots that cold (low 40s), gray and windy morning.  She offered to use her phone to film (YouTube 2:48) the process of ‘lifting’ the carrots.   Since the Bed Lifter is run deep in the soil we always drive in low first-gear with our foot near the left clutch pedal should the blade ever meet up with a large hidden rock or ‘ledge’ (bedrock) and we need to stop forward travel immediately

      Once lifted, the carrots are then topped manually and tossed into a pallet box where they are stored - and then shipped out - over the course of the winter.    This year’s Chantenay Carrots grew into a very beautiful and sweet crop.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Fresh Vegetables.

Jefferson on Citizenship.

Recipe: Zucchini and Potato Gratin.
1/2 lb waxy potatoes such as Prairie Blush, sliced transparently thin
3/4 lb summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/16" slices
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 c fresh oregano leaves
1/4 fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c unsalted butter
2 c fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 c grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated on a box grater

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rub a 9x9" baking dish with a bit olive oil.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes to let them drain a bit and go on to prepare the oregano sauce and bread crumbs.

Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is fragrant and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half the bread crumbs and toss again.

Transfer the squash and potatoes to the baking pan, top with the remaining bread crumbs, and bake for 40 - 50 minutes - it will depend on how thinly sliced the squash and potatoes are. Remove from oven and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.

Serves about 8 as a side. Megan.

Click Here For Our Specialty Organic Kitchen Potatoes.

Zucchini and Potato Gratin.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Mailbox: Monsanto Behind the Lies and When To Dig.

Monsanto Behind the Lies

Involved in a debate...is the following accurate:

Truly 100% organic produce farms would have their crops mostly decimated by insects.


False. Healthy soils = healthy plants = naturally resistant to insect and disease pressure. Agriculture has been successfully practiced by our ancestors for 10,00 years. The chemical industry has been around for 100 years. Miraculously, we were able to feed ourselves for 9,900 years before monopolistic multinational chemical corporations arrived on the scene. It has been documented Monsanto is behind the war of vitriol being waged against organic farming.


When to Dig.

Hi Jim,

Most of my potato plants have been taken down by Colorado Potato Beetles and leafhoppers and I'm wondering if I should dig them all now, before the root cellar is cool enough, or leave them in the ground until October? I see pros and cons to each, but would appreciate your advice.

Thanks and I hope all is well up north.

Unity, Maine

     Probably best to leave them in soil for cellar to cool down, assuming you want to store them for the better part of the winter. However, two possible cosmetic risks to consider (most especially an important consideration if they are being grown for market):

1. Wet weather between now and harvest could increase Black Scurf (Rhizoctonia) on the skin.

2. Wireworm tunneling in the tubers could occur if wireworms have been a problem for you in the past.


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