Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                  Friday, October 30th 2015
                     Volume 22 Issue 22

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 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

    Harvesting Wet Ground.

     Aroostook County Potato Harvest Crew.  Hand potato pickers on Washburn’s H.E. Umphrey farm in 1939.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
Maine Tales. Last Day of Potato Harvest. Bridgewater, Maine. Circa 2015.

Potato Harvest Break had ended and school kids were back in school a week before on  a Tuesday.  It was a good thing we decided to work late into this dark Tuesday night  in order to finish digging the last of our crop of All-Blue potatoes.  The wet October soil had taken on a black color virtually the same shade as that of the moist All-Blue potatoes.  Surprisingly, it was the distinctive oblong All-Blue tuber shape which most helped rapidly-sorting-hands distinguish spud-from-stone under the swaying halogen lights of the Finnish Juko potato harvester. 

    With new rain promised in the forecast for Thursday, our relatively substantial acreage of Butte Russet – the last organic seed potato variety in the ground - was all of a full day’s work to harvest.  Based on the 30ºF forecast low for Wednesday morning,  we were geared up to start early that next morning.  However, the reality of a crisp 24ºF morning freeze ended that hope.  The night of cold forced frost an inch-and-a-half into the potato hills.  We knew from prior experience we need not need to worry of frost damage at this temperature because Butte has proved itself as the most rugged of varieties and shrugs off the cold that would melt down other potatoes.  

  We used the delayed start to finish repairing 4’ x 4’ x4’ wooden potato pallet boxes.  The near perfect growing year brought all the potato farmers in Aroostook County big yields and challenged everyone’s capacity.  Older pallet boxes, which had been idled for years began receiving new attention, screws, boards and strapping.  Our full scale box-repairing enterprise began with the harvest interruption caused by 3” of snowfall the previous Saturday  The result of our efforts  was rejuvenated boxes which groaned and creaked under  their two-thousand pound loads but did not break.

   By 9:30 in the morning, the frozen ground had thawed enough to dig.  We began chugging along digging the main Butte seed lot with the Juko.  Son Caleb ran a second crew on the far side of the field using a tractor pulling our 1950’s John Deere 30 potato digger.  Caleb’s hand crew – including 12-year-old Amy who ditched school in order to help us - first cleaned up an early-generation foundation seed lot which will provide most of the Butte seed we’ll need for planting next Spring.   After he had put those potatoes  away into storage.  Caleb continued digging with the digger on his side of the field chipping away at the remaining twenty-four rows we all had left to dig.

   That Wednesday was a beautiful sunny Maine Fall day in the low 40s with only a light wind.  Only the absence of red and orange leaves - which had blown off the trees following the snowfall - gave away the calendar reality we were well into the second half of October.  True to form, by the end of this potato harvest all the bugs had been worked out and the equipment hummed along flawlessly, this despite pretty heavy wet ground. 

   Compared to the difficult-to-see near black All-Blues, the Butte boiled up out of the hills clean and beautiful with their Russet-skin almost as brightly colored as tennis balls.  The tubers were good-sized, the yield was strong and we filled box after box.  By 5:00 in the evening it was apparent that there were few enough rows left and the Juko would be able to finish digging the last of the Butte.  Caleb shifted to loading full pallet boxes on the truck.  By dark all but two of the repaired pallet boxes had been filled.  A half hour later every full box had been sent to safe storage in the underground cellar.

   The rain started in that night as predicted.  It would be the next afternoon before we could get back on the field to begin harvesting beets and carrots.  But that’s another story.

Special Offer: FREE Organic French Chantenay Carrots.

     We’re now harvesting our new crop of  Wood Prairie Farm Organic French Chantenay Carrots  It is a beautiful crop!  The cold weather we have already had has made this year’s crop especially sweet.  Our Organic French Chantenay Carrots are a superb carrot for eating fresh, steaming or baking.

      We'd like you to enjoy the fruits of our carrot harvest.  Receive a FREE 2 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic French Chantenay Carrots (Value $12.95) on your next order where the goods total $45 or more.  Please use Promo Code WPF474.  Your order and FREE 2 lbs Sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic French Chantenay Carrots must ship by 3/31/16. Offer Expires 11:59p.m., Monday, November 2, so better  hurry!

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Fresh Vegetables.

Garden Betty. Author of One of the Ten Best Gardening Blogs..
  Discovering the Best Garden Blog.

     Our friends at Dripworks have posted a good article listing their Top 10 Favorite Gardening Blogs. Be sure to check it out and see if your favorite is among them.


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

Recipe: Crispy Rosemary-Parmesan Potato Wedges.

Boil in salted water until just barely tender:
3 Butte potatoes, sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges each
Drain and cool slightly.

On a plate, combine:
1/3 c Panko breadcrumbs
2 T minced fresh rosemary
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Brush potato wedges with olive oil and press them into the panko mixture until coated on the cut sides. Bake in a 400F oven 10-15 minutes. Flip the wedges and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and golden.


A Delicious Fall Snack.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: True Value of Food and Organic Food: The Gold Standard.

True Value of Food.

Dear WPF. 

     People need to know the true value of food - not the corporate welfare version. I actually had a person come to my business and ask if I would match a big box stores price. I replied no. They should match my price and let's see who has the better product. The end.

Homer City, PA

WPF Replies.

     Widgets produced in one factory and sold in different retail venues are one thing. Organic food grown on well-tended soil and free of synthetic and transgenic inputs is dramatically superior to conventional crops grown on disregarded soil with synthetic and/or transgenic inputs. That these two food products are priced differently is another thing and should be no more surprising than Cadillacs costing more than VW Bugs.


Organic Food the Gold Standard.

Dear WPF.

    According to the geo engineering table...nothing really is organic because of the toxics from the sky.


WPF Replies.

     And they have found DDT in the Arctic. Proving the point that we live in a polluted world and the polluters will not contain their toxins. That said, organic farming, by design, avoids the use of persistent toxins. Meaning organic food will be virtually free of toxins. That means a lot. Thus, organic food represents the Gold Standard for food available anywhere in the world. In fact, if chemical agriculture would cut their addiction to toxic chemicals and switch to organic, our world would become a MUCH less polluted place. Buying and eating organic is the best way to provide for one's family AND clean up the environment.


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