The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
               Friday, December 1st 2017
                       Volume 25 Issue 18


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Getting Ready.

     Look in your mailbox for our brand new Wood Prairie Catalog. Featured in this new Catalog now on its way is our 2018 Green Thumb Award Winner, The Organic Potato Plant Detective.   Read the article below for details.
      So far, the ground and ponds have frozen over, but we are mostly free of snow.  Last year, November 30 brought a foot of snow, and that was followed in quick succession by snow storm after snow storm.  By the end of December, Northern Maine had set a record for the greatest accumulation of snow early in the season.
      This year, at this time, every day free of snow is a gift.  Caleb is mostly done getting farm equipment put away and the yard cleaned up so he can plow snow.  Our cold nights are pushing the frost into the ground, freezing and destroying potatoes left behind in the harvest.  Dry firewood – almost a two year supply – is stacked and safely under cover.   We are pre-grading the potato crop every day and it looks good.    We’re taking in orders and moving out early shipments.  We’re not quite ready for winter but we’re getting there.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Wood Prairie Wins 2018 Green Thumb Award.


    The Organic Potato Plant Detective. Wood Prairie Family Farm's New Award Winner.

     Wood Prairie Family Farm has won a 2018 Green Thumb Award for The Organic Potato Plant Detective, named one of the two best new edible plant introductions in the United States.  Honored in the Edible Plants Division, the Award was presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association)

     Winners of the 2018 Green Thumb Awards were selected by an independent panel of garden writers and editors. The winning product was selected based on its uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.

       The Green Thumb Awards recognize outstanding new garden products available by mail or online. The awards are sponsored by the eighty-three-year-old Direct Gardening Association (DGA), a nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers via catalogs and websites.

     “We’re honored to have won this Green Thumb Award from the DGA,” said Caleb Gerritsen.  “This marks the fifth time our family has been recognized by the DGA for introducing exceptional plants into the national marketplace.”

     This new GTA winner is called The Organic Potato Plant Detective.  It is a special twelve tuber seed potato collection which serves double duty and features two of the best organic Maine Certified Seed potato varieties – Island Sunshine and King Harry.

    In addition to growing a bountiful crop of delicious potatoes for eating, the two unique Organic Potato Plant Detective varieties perform a detective-like bioassay function, helping growers of all sizes diagnose potato growing problems. 

    Both are traditionally-bred, Non-GMO varieties. Early-season, round white King Harry was designated king of the Cornell University hairy-leaf-potato breeding program. Cornell has been naturally breeding for potato crosses possessing hairy-leaves or “glandular trichomes” which repel and keep bad bugs at bay.
    Late-season Island Sunshine, descended from two savory Dutch varieties, was bred by two organic farmer brothers on Prince Edward Island, and is highly regarded for its substantial ability to stand up to diseases like Potato Late Blight.

    The Organic Potato Plant Detective serves as a simple and effective diagnostic tool for differentiating whether potato problems are being caused by insect or disease pressure.  The kit comes complete with How-To Plant Diagnosis Flow Chart, Organic Potato Growing Guide and Wood Prairie Family Farm Potato Recipes Booklet and sells for $19.95.

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes
Special Offer: FREE Wood Prairie Organic Potato Fertilizer.

        Potatoes – and many garden vegetables – are heavy feeding crops. Unless you have been tending and building up the fertility in your garden for a long time, you may be well-served by applying a good quality organic fertilizer.  Our Wood Prairie Organic Potato Fertilizer is a good all-purpose organic fertilizer suitable not only for potatoes but also for other vegetables, fruit and flowers.

      If you are uncertain whether you need to add fertilizer try this simple test. Once your ground is prepared and ready to plant, mark off a row.  Divide the row in half and apply our organic fertilizer to the first half at a rate of one pound per ten row feet.  Leave the other half alone as the unfertilized control.  As the season progresses compare the plant size, color and health of the plants.  At harvest, measure the yield (poundage).  If you find no real difference in the two sections of row, it’s a good bet that your garden is fertile and not in need of additional fertilizer.  On the other hand, if plant health and yields were greater in the fertilized portion, understand that this means your entire garden will similarly benefit from added fertility.

       This time, your fertility experimenting is on us!  Receive a FREE 3 lbs. Sack of Wood Prairie Organic Potato Fertilizer (Value $9.95) when your next order totals $49 or more.  Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, December 4, 2017, so please hurry!  Please use Promo Code WPFF417. Your order and FREE 3 lbs. Sack of Wood Prairie Organic Potato Fertilizer must ship by May 5, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.   Please click today!

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Certifed Organic Cover Crop Seed

Organic Potato Fertilizer. Unless your garden is well-developed and fertile, yield and quality will improve with a good organic fertilizer..

Hunter Gatherers. You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

The Case Against Civilization.

   So, who had a better life? Hunter-gatherers or agriculturalists?  I’m thinking it is a crowd much greater than simply farmers who finds this question riveting.  Now that we have great numbers of human beings inhabiting planet Earth, there is surely no going back.  However, an increasingly prevalent ‘peasant’s-eye-view’ seems to favor the idea that despite all of our agriculturally-based achievements,  we were better off way back as hunter-gatherers in metrics important to ‘peasants’ such as  freedom from oppression, nutritionally sound diet and proportion of leisure-to-work hours.

     The recent valuable book Sapiens by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, among other things, lends credence to this pro-Hunter-Gatherer  thinking.  One July evening a couple of years ago, I was plowing down sod and had the tractor radio tuned in to a CBC.  I plowedlate and caught the entirety of  CBC’s Paul Kenndy interview with Professor Harari.  Fascinated by the content, I immediately ordered and then read the best seller, Sapiens.  It’s definitely a good read.

    Now a new article this Fall in the New Yorker by John Lanchester, The Case Against Civilization, further explores this subject and offers additional good insight.  Below is an excerpt taken from the New Yorker article.


“ Anatomically modern humans have been around for roughly two hundred thousand years. For most of that time, we lived as hunter-gatherers. Then, about twelve thousand years ago, came what is generally agreed to be the definitive before-and-after moment in our ascent to planetary dominance: the Neolithic Revolution. This was our adoption of, to use Scott’s word, a ‘package’ of agricultural innovations, notably the domestication of animals such as the cow and the pig, and the transition from hunting and gathering to planting and cultivating crops. The most important of these crops have been the cereals—wheat, barley, rice, and maize—that remain the staples of humanity’s diet. Cereals allowed population growth and the birth of cities, and, hence, the development of states and the rise of complex societies.”

Notable Quotes: Mark Twain on the Majority.

Recipe: Maple Syrup Scones.

1/4 c Organic Maple Syrup
6 T Milk
2 1/4 c Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 c Rolled Oats
1 1/2 T Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
11 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 400ºF degrees.

Whisk together the maple syrup and milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a food processor, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt and pulse to mix together. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles sandy flour (about 20 quick pulses). Add the maple syrup milk. Pulse just until the dough comes together. If the batter is too dry add more milk a bit at a time.

Turn onto a floured surface, knead once or twice just to bring the dough together. Arrange the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Slice the dough into nine equal-sized squares. Arrange the scones next to one another on a baking sheet, 1/4-inch distance between each of them.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden along the bottom and tops. Yummy.


Delicious Maple Syrup Scones.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox