Wood Prairie Farm

Early Potatoes. Date When Planting Begins. Circa 1920.
USDA map shows when planting begins East of the Rocky Mountains. West of the Rockies, variations in altitude prohibit drawing of isochronal lines.

Click on Map to Enlarge

Early Planting.

     A few days ago I spoke with one of our farmers in northern Georgia who is right now harvesting a beautiful crop of potatoes he planted back in August and called to order new seed for his Spring potato crop. Our own harvest here in northern Maine ended just six weeks ago. Yet, hard as it is to believe in the North, the new season is upon us. Early potato planting is now going on in Florida, California and beyond.
     We thought you might enjoy this vintage USDA Early Potatoes map above taken from one of our old 1920's potato books. Click here for the full size map located on our website. And yes it's not too early to think about planting potatoes wherever you are. Order now and we'll ship whenever you want them.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Wood Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter
                          Organic News and Commentary

     This Issue:

    We have been unusually busy this Fall shipping out seed  potatoes. We're also gearing up for the busy gift and food  season peak in this next three week lead up to Christmas.  Be on the lookout for our Wood Prairie Christmas Gift  Guide which we'll be emailing out to you next week.
In the  meantime if you need good organic seed or food or gifts  let us know how we can help you.

 Jim & Megan

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

Homemade Onion Rings
        Maine Potato Candies
        Photo by Angela Wotton

         Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer.
         FREE Fish Fertilizer Offer

Special Offer: FREE Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer.

     One of the best things about farming here in Maine nowadays is our proximity to the Gulf of Maine coast where waste leftover from fish processing makes for wonderful fertilizer. We've been using fish meal fertilizer on Wood Prairie Farm for many years. While we ran out of room for Fish Meal in this year's catalog you'll find it in the Organic fertilizer section of our webstore.
     Now here's your chance to earn a FREE 3 pound bag of Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer ($9.95 value) with your next purchase of Organic Seed Potatoes and/or Organic Garden Vegetable Seed that totals $55 or more.
     Please use Promo Code 1013. FREE Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer. Order must ship by May 13, 2011. Hurry! FREE Fish Fertilizer Offer ends Monday 12/6/10 and can not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for Wood Prairie Farm Organic Fertilizer

Update: Organic Wins Again! Illegal GMO
   Beets Ordered Destroyed!
     In August a Federal District court ruling made planting GMO Sugar Beets illegal (See story in the August 20 Seed Piece). Barely one month later in September, the USDA attempted to circumvent that August court ruling via the ruse of issuing GMO Sugar Beet steckling (plant) planting permits. In response to that bald defiant action, Organic Seed Alliance, its allies, and the Center for Food Safety and Earth Justice filed suit in Federal District Court (See story in the September 19 Seed Piece) seeking to stop the USDA and their partner, biotech giant Monsanto.

New Ruling
A landmark Court ruling was handed down last Tuesday November 30. The organic community was given an unequivocal solid victory when Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled that the USDA had acted illegally in their permitting scheme. In a sharply worded rebuke Judge White issued a preliminary injunction and ordered the immediate destruction of 256 acres of gene-spliced RR Sugar Beet stecklings.

Court Order Excerpts
     In breathtaking manor here are some scathing excerpts from Judge White's Tuesday Court Order:
     "To the extent Defendants [USDA-APHIS] and Intervenor-Defendants [Monsanto] contend that they would suffer any harm, it is only of their own doing. Due to their preemptive conduct, the stecklings have been planted pursuant to the permits at issue and they have created a significant risk of environmental harm....The likely environmental harm established by Plaintiffs [Organic Seed Alliance] is irreparable....In light of Plaintiffs' strong showing of likely irreparable harm and Defendants' and Intervenor-Defendants' weak showing of harm, the balance of equities tips sharply in favor of the Plaintiffs....the Court finds that the harm of which Defendants and Defendant-Intervenors now complain was caused by the Court's prior orders and their own delay....The Court further finds that neither Defendants nor Intervenor-Defendants have any cause to claim surprise as a result of any injunction....the Court finds that the balance of hardships between the parties and the public interest tips sharply in favor of the Plaintiffs and in favor of issuing an injunction....to the extent the requested injunction is a mandatory injunction, Defendants and Intervenor-Defendants created this problem...Based on the record currently before the Court, the legality of Defendants' conduct does not even appear to be a close question. It appears clear that Defendants and Intervenor-Defendants were merely seeking to avoid the impact of the Court's prior order in Sugar Beets I....the Court....HEREBY ORDERS that the stecklings planted pursuant to the permits issued by the Defendants shall be removed from the ground."
Seminal Victory
Center for Food Safety Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell said, "today's court decision is a seminal victory for farmers and the environment and a vindication of the rule of law. The public interest has prevailed over USDA's repeated efforts to implement the unlawful demands of the biotech industry."
Click here for more background on the court ruling from CFS.
     In related news, today, Friday December 3, Monsanto said it will appeal the Federal Court decision.

Old Habits Die Hard
The USDA is a slow learner. In a related story on the Organic Seed Alliance website, December 6 is the end of a brief Comment Period on the USDA's inadequate Draft Environmental Assessment, a mechanism USDA is using to try and again railroad through RR Sugar Beets prior to the completion of the thorough Environmental Impact Statement required by the Court. I urge you to read the background by OSA and submit comments by the deadline to counter Monsanto's well-financed public relations campaign.

Your Contribution Is Needed Now
 While on the Organic Seed Alliance website I encourage you to make a generous financial contribution to support the good work of OSA. As a Board member and former President of OSA, I can tell you that our three year RR Sugar Beet legal battle with USDA has been a tremendous strain on our resources and our ability to do all of our important organic seed work. Your financial support is very much needed now and it is very much appreciated! Thanks!


Update: Senate Passes Good Food Safety Bill.
     Family farm advocates celebrated the US Senate's passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) last Tuesday November 30. With wide bipartisan support the bill passed the Senate 73-25. Kept intact were amendments important to family scale operations including the Tester Amendment. That amendment, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, an organic beef farmer from Montana, exempts small farmers from new controls if they sell directly to consumers and have annual sales of less than $500,000. The House passed its own version of the Food Safety bill (H.R.2749) in July 2009. However the House version lacks the scale-appropriate measures inserted into the Senate bill. The Senate bill now goes to the House for action. Click here for a good Food Safety bill summary compiled by our friends at Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Click here for the Food Safety bill article in the November 19 Seed Piece newsletter.

Our Mailbox: Thanksgiving.

Hi Megan,
     Wanted to let you know that I am grateful for Wood Prairie Farm's commitment to the planet. I am very grateful for the Seed Piece newsletter, your catalog and certainly all you do for potatoes!!!
     Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving day.
Leesburg FL

Happy Thanksgiving to your whole family.
     We appreciate all your efforts towards organic gardening and your involvement in trying to promote farming methods in line with the natural ways we know are best. The ways of Monsanto could realistically endanger the planet and our seed stock that we count on for survival. We support your great efforts. Also, I really like your website and enjoy the human touch that comes through. Feels like you are friends we just have not met yet.
     Last but not least, we are enjoying potatoes that we grew here in Northern California from your stock. They are just the best tasting most delicious ever. Your family offers such fine products, we look forward to trying some of your other offerings. The whole organic grains, access to organic corn products, premade bread mixes, awesome!!!
Best to you,
Sebastopol CA

Click here for the Wood Prairie Home Page

             The MOF & G Newspaper
             Winter 2010-2011 Edition
Observations From 35 Years of Watching the
Maine Organic Community Grow.
     The Winter 2010-2011 issue of the Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener newspaper is now at newsstands across the State of Maine. Included in this Winter issue is the upbeat Keynote Speech "Observations From 35 Years of Watching the Maine Organic Community Grow" given last September at the Common Ground Country Fair by Wood Prairie Farm's Jim Gerritsen. If you're in Maine, you can pick up a copy of this excellent newspaper. Click here to read Jim's speech in the electronic version of the Winter 2010-2011 MOF & G located on the MOFGA website.

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