Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                Friday, December 2nd 2016
                       Volume 24 Issue 21


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Everything is White.

     Caleb Gerritsen Blowing SnowIt was nice to see the sun again this morning after we’ve gone through three back-to-back snow storms since Sunday.  In total, the storms dropped 20” of new heavy wet snow this week across Northern Maine.
     In the photo above taken just this morning, Caleb is using our tractor-mounted seven-foot-wide snow blower to clear out the entrance to our barn.
     As you will see in the new You Tube video (0:42) linked in our first article, early on, not everyone was convinced life in our big, bright and dry translucent-tarp-barn was preferable to living outside during a Maine winter.
     Hopefully proving yet again, experience is a good teacher.

 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
.Herding Piglets in the Snow.

Herding Piglets Slightly Superior to Herding Cats. See the action in this short video.

      Winter’s first snow can become confusing to anyone.  Now imagine if you were one of a drove of Wood Prairie American Guinea hog piglets, born earlier this Fall and had never seen snow before.

      Maybe you, too, would escape from the pen outside the dry Winter Barn and head back to the Apple Orchard where you - and your siblings and cousins - were born and have lived their entire short lives.

       Deep snow, little piglets and short legs made for a bit of follow-the-leader comedy as you will see in this short cell-phone-now-You-Tube-video (0:42) Megan shot this week.

       Ever clever, Megan used the ruts created by tractor-tires – along with a sprinkling of grain - to entice the leaders-of-the-pack back to their new winter home, the safety and warmth of our barn.

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Organic Cover Crop Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Garlic.

     One of the delicious Fresh Organic Vegetables we continue to offer on our website is the excellent Red-Russian Garlic.   Garlic is one of those important vegetables that make food worth eating.  What a bland world it would be without garlic!   For many years, our customers have raved our Organic Red Russian Garlic is the best.

       Here’s your chance to receive some Organic Red Russian Garlic at no cost. Earn a FREE 1 lb. sack of our Organic Red Russian Garlic (Value $19.95) when your next order totals $79 or more. FREE Organic Red Russian Garlic - offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, December 5 2016, so better hurry!

     Please use Promo Code WPF499. Your order and FREE Red Russian Garlic must ship by January 9, 2017. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click Here for our Delicious Fresh Organic Vegetables.

Wood Prairie Family Farmer to Speak in the Key Stone State.

         In not much over a week Jim will be headed down to Harrisburg for the 3rd Annual Growing Pennsylvania’s Organic Farms Conference on December 13 & 14. Registrations are now being accepted.

     Jim’s Dinner Keynote presentation on the first evening is entitled Growing Our Organic Community.  He will speak about the promise - and potential pitfalls - which lay ahead as the organic sector develops and matures.

     Earlier that same day, as might be predictable, Jim will present a workshop entitled How We Grow Organic Potatoes.

     Finally, on the morning of the conference’s final day, he has been tapped to present and explain Why the Future of Organic Rests Upon Organic Seed.

    .  If you are near Pennsylvania and able to attend, Jim would love to meet you there.  Please do say Hi.

     Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Speaking at the Growing Pennsylvania's Organic Farms Conference. Jim gives three talks in two days.

National Organic Standards Board Members. At left two member who are strong allies and Certified Organic farmers: Francis Thicke (Iowa) and Emily Oakley (Oklahoma).
NOSB Meeting Report: USDA Voices Strongman Paternalism During St.Louis Meeting.

     Last month, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met in St. Louis MO for three days of public meetings.   The expert citizen’s advisory board, representing the diverse interests of the organic industry, was tasked by Congress - under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 - to determine and inform the USDA National Organic Program of its position on policy matters critical to the integrity, success and development of organic.   As President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), Jim attended the St Louis NOSB meeting and prepared this report.

      The NOSB acted boldly, and by a margin of 10-3-1 (one abstention) voted to ban the dubious food ingredient Carrageenam from use in all organic food products.   Our allies at the Cornucopia Institute deserves the credit for this victory.  Cornucopia waged a six-year-long battle during which they exposed serious concerns over the negative impact of Carrageenam on human health.  In a massive display of power, pro-Carrageenam corporate forces deployed scores of scripted hired guns to promote their position during the public testimony sessions.

     Additionally, on a vote of 14-0, the NOSB accepted in its entirety the three-part Excluded Methods Terminology proposal developed and championed by certified organic farmer and NOSB member Zea Sonnebend for the past five years. “Excluded Methods” refers to the various incantations of genetic engineering or gene-splicing.  In recent times, Monsanto, its Biotech allies and some turncoats now filling corporate lobbying roles in the organic industry have asserted some of their NBTs (New Breeding Techniques) ought to be allowed in organic.  In fact, three Biotech lobbyists – including speakers representing the self-serving American Seed Trade Association and Dupont-Pioneer - testified along those lines.  The NOSB decision slams the door shut once and for all on GE crops.  The remarkable unanimous vote made clear to everyone in attendance – including USDA National Organic Program (NOP) employees – that there is absolutely no way genetic engineering is - or will ever be - appropriate for organic.

     Sadly, the NOSB was outmaneuvered by the unseemly behavior of USDA on the issue of allowing bogus, artificial, soil-less corporate hydroponics in organics.  Congress intended organic agriculture – via the OFPA law it passed in 1990 - to be defined as the soil-based system it has been recognized as for 100 years. OFPA requires that the primary source of plant fertility must come from the soil.  Obviously, it is impossible to meet this legal requirement in hydroponic operations because by definition they are soil-less.

     In this video interview, Living Maxwell's Max Goldberg speaks with Jim on the last day of the NOSB meeting.

      It is extremely troubling that USDA has worked defiantly and behind-the-scenes to implement a politically-motivated agenda which allows hydroponics into organic when it is so blatantly illegal to do so.  However, even more despicable was the utterance by USDA NOP Program Administrator Mr. Miles McEvoy during the NOSB meeting, that it didn’t matter what the NOSB voted because it would be the USDA which would be making all of the decisions.

     The clear Congressional intent by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) - who authored OFPA - and to the many hundreds of people who worked hard to get OFPA passed in 1990, including Jim, was to create a balanced partnership between the NOSB and USDA NOP.  USDA’s power-grabbing paternalism represents bullying of the worst kind.  As taxpayers we should expect – and receive - respect for the law and respect for the public interest as represented by the NOSB.  This illustration of the corporate capture of USDA by Industrial Ag is outrageous.  It should not go unchallenged.

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Organic Specialty Potatoes for the Kitchen.
Orwell On The Media.

Recipe: Maine Potato Candies.
     Also known as Needhams, the widespread belief in these parts is that Maine Potato Candies originated here in the potato country of northern Maine. You'll often find recipes for Needhams in old time Maine cookbooks. And what could be better and richer than chocolate, coconut and potatoes! Megan

 3/4 cup of mashed Elba (or equivalent) potatoes
 2 lbs of powdered Sugar
 1/4 lb of butter
 1/2 pound flaked coconut (about 2+ cups)
 2 tsp vanilla

     Pare, cook and mash the potatoes to make 3/4 cup. In a double broiler on top of the stove, melt the butter over boiling water. Add the mashed potato, powdered sugar, flaked coconut and vanilla. Mix well. Spread the mixture evenly in a buttered cookie sheet. Place in a cool place to harden - such as a cool garage. When hard, cut the mixture into small squares for dipping in the chocolate.

Chocolate Dip

 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
 1/2 cake paraffin wax

     Melt the paraffin in the bowl of a double broiler. Add the chocolates and melt. Stir well. Dip the Needham squares in the chocolate with a toothpick and place on waxed paper to harden. Makes 66 good-sized Needhams. The recipe may be cut in half.
Click here for Wood Prairie Organic Kitchen Potatoes

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