Wood Prairie Farm
 The Seed Piece Newsletter
             Organic News and Commentary
                  Friday November 01, 2013

 In This Issue of The Seed Piece:

 The Changing Seasons.

 Look For Our Holiday 2013 Catalog Soon in Your Mailbox. The photo above is the day after a December snowfall on Wood Prairie Farm.Catalogs are mailing this week.
      Right on schedule, we harvested the last of our organic Chantenay Carrots last Friday. Since harvest we've been working on getting our firewood in. Jim interrupted that effort to spend one day at an excellent Soil Health Conference held at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum. Most notable was Ray Archuleta, a dynamic speaker from USDA NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service). He spoke frankly of major problems now being encountered nationally by what we would call a wrong-minded concept of agriculture and mis-management of our soil. Of course, we've been hearing about this land crisis for many decades at organic conferences. But now to hear it from the mouth of a USDA circuit-speaker - representing new re-directions in policy from the highest levels of the USDA in Washington DC - was really quite something to behold.
     The dead end of chemical agriculture has become an acute problem and brought our nation risky food insecurity. We think you'll enjoy this YouTube video (1:30:15) which captured Ray's similar presentation last year in South Dakota. Ray has given this soil health class to over 5,000 farmers in well over 30 states on his way to traveling to all 50 states. His approach is effective. He deserves credit for being a straight shooter delivering a message that some in the audience would find hard to swallow.

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
(800) 829-9765

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.

John Bunker. His legacy is heirloom apples.

John Bunker Maine's Heirloom Apple King.

     Part-time Maine resident Martha Stewart has written a fine article on our friend John Bunker and his lifelong search for the finest heirloom Maine apples. Included in her article is "John Bunker's Apple Pie" recipe designed for comparing apple-to-apple excellence as a pie apple. "For the past 40 years preservation pomologist John Bunker has turned four of the 100 acres of his Super Chilly Farm, in Palermo, Maine, with its more than 200 heirloom varieties, into a living testament to the history of apples in New England. Not only does the 62-year-old's land preserve varieties that are more than 200 years old, but Bunker also aims to revive an appetite for them with a CSA that delivers 12 pounds of unusual heirloom apples every other week to its 70 devoted shareholders...Red Delicious these apples are not; their flavors are so far from what we would come to expect from the produce aisle that they are seldom something we would just chomp into. 'Our customers actually want the apples no one else has heard of,' says Bunker.
     John is also the main force behind creating MOFGA's phenomenal ten-acre legacy Heritage Orchard of over 500 extraordinary heirloom apple trees. Read about and view some of those great heirloom apples in the orchard in this MOFGA article.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Pommes de Terre (Apples of the Earth)

 Denmark Happiest Country in the World.

     We find this news easy to believe. A new study shows Denmark on top as the world's happiest country.

     Three years ago we were part of a research team from Maine and Vermont which traveled to Denmark to study their organic bread wheat system. From what we could see Denmark is a strong model which America can learn a lot from. Danes have every right to be happy. "The six factors for a happy nation split evenly between concerns on a government- and on a human-scale. The happiest countries have in common a large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth and a lack of corruption in leadership. But also essential were three things over which individual citizens have a bit more control over: A sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity." 

     After our travels to Denmark we wrote a paper on one of the organic farms we visited. Find that paper here.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Grain Section. 


Copenhagen, Denmark. Happy bikers. Half of Copenhagen commuters get to work by riding a bicycle.

Mahatma Gandhi. Guiding the way.
 Notable Quotes: Gandhi on Fear.

     "The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear."

- Mahatma Gandhi
1869 - 1948

Recipe: Roasted Fall Vegetables & Ricotta Pizza.

In a shallow baking dish, roast the following vegetables with 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper in a 400ºF degree oven for about one hour:

2 medium carrots, diced into 1/2" chunks
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 Delicata squash, cut into half moons (skin can be left on)
2 onions, quartered
1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves with skins removed

For the pizza:
olive oil, for baking sheet and drizzling
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
Roasted vegetables
1 c ricotta cheese
1 T fresh rosemary leaves, (optional)
Sea salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Brush a large baking sheet with oil. Roll and stretch dough into a 12-by-16-inch oval and transfer to sheet

Sprinkle dough with half the mozzarella. Scatter vegetables on top, and dollop with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and, if using, rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve.


No Pizza Rut Here.
Roasted vegetables rock.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Rose Finn Apple. Finnish old-timer.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes.

     If you would like to taste a great potato that was enjoyed nearly two centuries ago then you should try our Rose Finn Apple Fingerling. Our research about this wonderful heirloom potato has found documentation that Rose Finn Apple has been grown continually since at least the 1840s. Roast Rose Finn Apple with olive oil and thyme and you will know why it has been a favorite for centuries. 

     Now here's your chance to earn a FREE (Value $15.95) - 2 lbs Sack of Organic Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes - when the goods on your next order totals $55 or more. FREE 2 lbs Sack of Organic Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes offer ends Midnight on Monday, November 4, 2013, so you better hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPF1161. Your order and FREE  2 lbs Sack of Organic Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes must ship by 12/10/13. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fingerling Section.

Our Mailbox: New Hampshire Progress, Bona Fide Organic, Public and Consistent.

New Hampshire Progress on GMO Labeling.

Dear WPF.


With a motto of "live free or die" NH should have been the first to pass anti-GMO legislation.

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

      The goal of strong & sound GMO Food Label legislation in the UNited States is to come up to the world standard for the labeling of food made from GMOs, the acronym for genetically modified organisms. It is unrealistic to imagine one can leap frog past the European level of transparency. We in the USA will be fortunate when we can match the European/world standard which is what our GMO Food Label law effort's are all about. Consistent with world standards, if GMO salmon becomes allowed it will have to be labeled as GMO because it is a genetically engineered organism. Consistent with world standards, the products from a cow (milk, meat) itself NOT genetically engineered would NOT be labeled because that food does NOT originate from a genetically engineered organism. The principle is to label food which is derived from genetic engineering. That is the world standard we in the USA are seeking to emulate.
     It is expected that next week (likely November 7) the full NH House Enviornment and Agriculture Committee will discuss and vote on HB 660. If you are in New Hampshire, now is the time to telephone members of the full Committee and urge their support of Right-to-Know GMO Labeling in NH. Find all the details you need here from our friends at NOFA-NH.


Bona Fide Organic Production.

Dear WPF.

     Trouble for regular organic consumers is the bad guys have co-opted the language and they lie, so you end up paying more for the same poison.

World Wide Web

WPF Replies.

     That concern is not correct. In the United States the word 'organic' is now (since Oct 2002) regulated by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In other words, unlike the meaningless 'natural,' organic has a legal definition and it is a good one. Those of us who are certified organic farmers must comply with a public and transparent set of production standards which meet the world norm for bona fide organic production. Our operations are carefully monitored by our USDA-accredited certifier and the certifiers employ an independent inspector to inspect our farm and our paperwork in an annual mandatory review process. Organic food processors undergo a parallel process of USDA-accredited organic certification. The organic certification system was created decades ago (we have been certified organic for 31 years) by the organic community to protect its members from fraud in the marketplace. I served as a volunteer on the MOFGA Certification Committee for over 20 years and I can vouch for how well organic certification is run. I believe 'certified organic' continues to be the best system assuring genuine food integrity which serves the American consumer very well.


Public and Consistent.

Dear WPF.

     A guy is claiming that organic potato farmers use DOW chemicals to treat the potatoes and they aren't organic. What say you?

New York, NY

WPF Replies.

     Your 'guy' is mistaken. Certified organic farmers are strictly regulated by USDA-accredited certification agencies who, along with independent third-party inspectors and a verified paperwork trail, make sure we adhere to USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards which are public and consistent with the world norms for practices and inputs appropriate for organic production. This regulation includes the monitoring and use of authorized organic inputs. As is common knowledge, the Ag industry has been undergoing consolidation for decades. The point where we now find ourselves is that there is monopoly control of many basic Ag inputs like seed and even organic biological inputs. I am not familiar with the man you refer to nor the inputs he in turn is referring to. However, if a certified organic farmer is using an input, that material must be approved and consistent with the norms of world organic production, as reflected by NOP regs. Certified organic potato farmers, of course, must adhere to these same solid organic standards.


Wood Prairie Farm Quick Links

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