Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                 Friday, October 16 2015
                     Volume 22 Issue 21

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Good Problems Here.

     Sunset Last Week on Wood Prairie Farm.  This photo - of a spectacular billowy cloud at sunset - was taken one evening last week as we dug Prairie Blush potatoes in the West-of-Waterway field. With overall pretty good weather this Fall we have been harvesting almost every day for the last month. Organic Dry Beans, Organic Seed Corn and Organic Table Onions are harvested and drying down. Harvest of our crops of table Carrots, Beets and Parsnips will keep us busy next week. This last Tuesday, Potato Harvest Break ended and schools went back into session.
      Of our five fields of potatoes this year, we are now onto our last field (East-of-Waterway) and left with just two varieties to finish digging - late varieties, Butte and All-Blue. With snow in the forecast for tomorrow - Saturday - today we are dodging showers, pushing through muddy conditions to get as much done as we can before things turn worse.
     With one of the best growing seasons in many, many years, Aroostook County is setting records with high yields of excellent quality potatoes. The sheer, huge volume of potatoes has had the impact of lengthening out harvest. In Aroostook County virtually no one has yet completed harvest. Area farmers are filling their potato houses completely full and yet running out of storage space. So shops and garages - and any available building - are being converted into temporary potato storages to handle the big crop. If one has to have problems, a nice, big crop of potatoes is a good problem to have.

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

Delicious Potatoes. The best reason for growing and harvesting potatoes.

Ten Sensational Recipes from NY Times.

     Do not miss this great New York Times article by Rikki Snyder  - complete with beautiful photographs from the New York times of 10 excellent potato recipes. Now we remember what potato harvest is all about.


Special Offer: FREE Organic Carola Certified Seed Potatoes for Your Garden.

     Yesterday we got done digging a beautiful big crop of the golden-fleshed variety, Carola.  Carola is a variety originally from Germany and a reliably good yielder.  In the kitchen, Carola is one of the best potatoes for eating that we’ve ever come across.  It is medium moist as measured by specific gravity.  Carola has a high percentage of Amylase starch which means, used in a Potato-Leek soup-like recipe, the soup will come out remarkably thick and velvety.

      We’d like to share our bounty of Carola with you for your family’s next garden! Receive a FREE 2 ½ lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Carola Seed Potatoes (Value $16.95) on your next order where the goods total $49 or more.  Please use Promo Code WPF473.  Your order and FREE 2 1/2 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Certified Carola Seed Potatoes must ship by 4/30/16. Offer Expires 11:59p.m., Monday, October 19, so please hurry!

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Recipe: Zucchini and Tomato Gratin.
For the onions:
2 T olive oil
2 medium onion, thinly sliced

For assembly:
1 1/4 lb small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick slices on the bias
2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4" thick slices on the bias
3 T olive oil
1/4 c fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Spread the onions evenly in the bottom of an oiled 2-quart shallow gratin dish.
Heat the oven to 375F. Put the tomato slices on a shallow plate to drain for a few minutes and then discard the collected juices. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini and squash slices with 1 1/2 T of the olive oil, 2 T thyme, and 1/2 tsp salt. Reserve half of the cheese for the top of the gratin. Sprinkle 1 T of the thyme over the onions in the gratin. Starting at one end of the baking dish, lay a row of slightly overlapping tomato slices across the width of the dish and sprinkle with a little of the cheese. Next lay a row of zucchini, overlapping the tomatoes by two-thirds, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with a row of squash, and then repeat rows, sprinkling each with cheese, until the grain is full.

Season lightly with pepper and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Drizzle the remaining 1 1/2 T olive oil over all. Combine the reserved cheese with the remaining thyme and sprinkle this over the gratin. Cook until well browned and the juices have bubbled for awhile and reduced considerably, 65 to 70 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.


Delicious Harvest Meal.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Biological Enhancements and Lessons from Doss.

Biological Enhancements.

Dear WPF. 

     What is it specifically about your soil that makes for such great potato growing? (pH, mineral composition, etc.)?


WPF Replies.

     When it comes to potatoes, Aroostook County is helped with its vast expanse of well-drained loam soils, warm Summer days and cool nights. On Wood Prairie Farm, we do not cut corners and for 40 years we have made improved organic soil health our top priority. Our efforts include a long, soil building crop rotation, full mineralization of our soil with rock powders, and the addition of biological enhancements to benefit the soil biota - and our potatoes.


Lessons from Doss.

Dear WPF.

    The article on Pick-Your-Own Potatoes in Vermont mentioned that a family of 11 picks their potatoes for a year. How do you store potatoes for the year without them sprouting? This farm is only 15 miles from my son and his family, I'm thinking of going next year.


WPF Replies.

     Through the Fall, Winter and Spring, potatoes store best in soil-like conditions (cool 38-40ºF; dark, moist). But a change is needed come May. Years ago we learned from our potato farming neighbor, Doss Morse - born in 1899 - that to keep potatoes through the Summer, one must remove them from the moist cellar. In May, when the potatoes want to sprout, move them to a 'cool' DRY place. Doss's woodshed was on the north side of his house and that's where he'd keep a barrel (165 lbs.) or two of potatoes to get through the Summer until the new crop was ready. The woodshed never got above the 60s. He and his wife Etta (married 67 years) would eat potatoes twenty meals per week year-round. Their home-grown diet was centered around potatoes, biscuits and Jacob's Cattle dry beans. We just harvested the last of our Jakes last week - Doss taught us how to grow them, too, over 35 years ago.


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