Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                 Friday, November 11th 2016
                        Volume 24 Issue 20


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    End of Fall.

     Bangor and Aroostook Train Hauling Maine Potatoes.  Though this photo is undated, it is known to be from the 19th century, shortly after rail lines came to Houlton. Aroostook County has always been big on potatoes.
     As we approach our potato work this winter we're running short-handed, so if anyone knows of folks looking for some good honest work, please send them our way. Thanks!
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
.Storm Clouds Ahead: National Organic Standards Board Meeting Next Week in St. Louis.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Author of 1990 OFPA Organic Labeling Law. He supports banning Hydroponic from organic.

      The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the expert citizen’s advisory panel established to advise the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) over policies which govern regulation of the organic industry.  The NOSB was created upon passage of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990.  For the first time, OFPA set in motion construction of a government regulatory process designed to protect the interests of American consumers and honest organic producers such as family farmers and appropriate-scale food processors.

     In the years since passage of OFPA, the corporate capture of our government, and the growing corporate control of our economy and society has been relentless and ever accelerating.  One disastrous example of this takeover is the corporate insertion of artificial soil-less hydroponic systems into organic which many of us are now fighting. 

     In 2010 the NOSB passed a recommendation making clear that hydroponics have no place in organic.  In that ruling, the NOSB was backed up by over one hundred years organic farming experience based on in-the-soil in-the-ground food production. Organic was developed and has always been practiced exclusively as a soil-based system.  The superior nutrition and taste of organic food is a function of this inextricable connection to healthy soil.

    In fact, so foundational is soil to the concept of organic, that the very name ‘organic” refers to the crucial organic-matter-content in an organic farm’s soil.

    However, the USDA-NOP, acting against the best interests of the organic community, has allowed the false organic certification of unlabeled hydroponic food production.  In the marketplace - right now - are tremendous amounts of bogus “organic” corporate hydroponic tomatoes, peppers, greens, cucumbers, blue berries and other food.  Hydroponic “organic” sales are already in hundreds of millions of dollars, growing at breakneck speed and fooling both retailers and consumers.

    Much of the fraudulent “organic” corporate hydroponic production is being imported from countries like Mexico, Canada, and Holland.  Astonishingly – and tellingly -  it would be illegal to sell these same hydroponic items under the “organic” label in the countries where the goods are produced.

     Nationwide, the organic community is upset over hydroponics and protests have developed.  Jim is President of the national membership trade group, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA).  He and other organic family farmers will be traveling to St. Louis to urge the NOSB to maintain organic integrity and tell USDA NOP to kick out hydroponic production from organic.  Stay tuned.

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Vegetable Seed

Wood Prairie Family Farm Oat Cover Crop. Photo was taken this morning thirty days after the field was harvested of potatoes.
Special Offer: FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed.

     That photo of our organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop was taken this morning after the overnight rain was coming to an end.  A month ago we finished harvesting our crop of organic seed potatoes from this same field (“Shaw South #31”) and immediately chisel-plowed the entire field.  Bolted to the chisel plow was our 12-volt spinner seed spreader.  Knowing it would be iffy whether the cover crop would catch we spun on the oats at double-rate (200 lbs/acre or 7 lbs/1000 square feet).

     Our goal was three inches of top growth.  With our warm Fall, we’re already up four inches tall.  Just 3” of oat top growth will remove 90% of the velocity of a rain drop’s soil-erosive potential.   When temperature hit the teens this oat crop will die down and create a nice protective mat which we will then disc under next spring ahead of planting Dylan Spring Wheat.

       Here’s your chance to secure some Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop seed at no cost. Earn a FREE 2 ½ lbs. sack of our Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed (Value $9.95) when your next order totals $49 or more. FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, November, 14 2016, so please hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPF498. Your order and FREE Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed must ship by 5/6/17. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.

Harvesting Organic Swedish Peanut Fingerling Potatoes on Wood Prairie Family Farm.

     Our neighbor and longtime co-worker, Katie Finemore, was helping us one afternoon in late September when we were harvesting Swedish Peanuts.  Katie volunteered to film our process of harvesting with our Finnish Juko potato harvester.  Now that the dust has settled, Frank, our IT wizard has turned Katie’s footage into this brand new You Tube video.

     Daughter Sarah and longtime employee Chelsea are laying on the trailer grabbing up small escapees.  Jim is driving the 92-HP (horsepower) 1966 Oliver 1850-Diesel tractor.  Megan has on the blue sweater.  Tim (Chelsea’s father) and Melanie – and Katie - are helping Megan sort rocks from potatoes.  Amy had worked the morning Juko shift and was inside the packing shed helping ship out orders.  Caleb was across the field running picking rocks with our Lockwood rockpicker from ground we had already harvested.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Video of Juko Potato Harvester. Digging Swedish Peanut Fingerling potatoes this Fall on Wood Prairie Family Farm.
Sagan on Bamboozlers.

Recipe: Autumn Vegetable Soup.
2 T olive oil
3 medium Chantenay Carrots, cut into medium dice
1 large Dutch Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Red Russian Garlic, minced
2 c cubed peeled Butternut Squash (about 1 pound)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
pinch cayenne pepper
Sea salt
1 qt chicken broth
14.5 oz of diced Tomatoes
4 springs fresh Thyme
2 c lightly packed, coarsely chopped Winter Bloomsdale Spinach
1 c canned chickpeas

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the squash, allspice, cayenne, and 1 tsp salt and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes with their juice, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the spinach and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the spinach has wilted, about 10 minutes more. Discard the thyme sprigs before serving. Season to taste with salt and cayenne.


Autumn Vegetable Soup. Hearty and Delicious.
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