Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter
FREE Organic Feta Cheese and Season's Greetings from 'Way Up North'
SPECIAL OFFER – Add to this month’s holiday
festivities with a FREE 8
oz. brick of our new Organic Cow Milk Feta Cheese ($8.95 value) with
your next order of $70 or more. Perfect for a family treat or to share
on a cheese and cracker tray at a holiday party. Offer expires Tuesday,
December 12th and must ship by Monday, December 18th. Please use coupon
* * * * *
The main topic of conversation for the last month, as happens every
year at this time, is about how much snow we'll be getting. Fresh on
everyone's mind is last winter's mild weather and half-hearted snowfall
that was substantially less than our normal 100 inches. Here at Wood
Prairie Farm the snow plow is on the pickup and Caleb, our twelve year
old, becomes highly motivated at getting his homework done when his
reward is being able to plow snow - a job he loves to do. In the
meantime, December is a busy month for us and we look forward to easing
up your shopping list with our unique gifts such as our Potato Sampler
or Bread Mix of the Month Clubs or our popular Chef's Potato Sampler.
We believe that you, our co-producer, is as dedicated to fresh organic
goods grown in a sustainable manner as we are and we are proud to have
you as part of the Wood Prairie Farm community. We believe this can
translate into a world-wide cooperative support system that benefits
the producer, the purchaser and the community at large.
Along with this month’s special of Feta Cheese,
we’ve also provided a
recipe for carrot pie that guests will swear is squash and information
on this month’s potato highlight, Caribé, a
variety that can be
found in this month's December Potato Sampler of the Month. Continuing
with Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference theme for our
With…’ section, don’t miss this month's
interview with Georgian (the
country) Tamaz Dundua. Tamaz is part of a young, energetic movement in
Georgia that is working to restore traditional sustainable agriculture
in a country that once lived under Soviet rule.
On behalf of the Gerritsen family, we wish you all a wonderful holiday
season and thank you for choosing to be part of the Wood Prairie Farm
community. – Jim and Megan
CLICK HERE TO GO TO WOOD PRAIRIE FARM'S HOME PAGE
We've always noted that Caribé (Spanish for "Carribean")
be in every garden. It's true - it is a top performer almost everywhere
it is grown this side of the tropics. Caribé is a striking
potato with its lustrous purple skin, shallow eyes and snow white
flesh. As a new potato fresh out of the garden, its taste is
unexcelled. It is also an early variety with high yields. In the
kitchen, it's waxy, mid-dry texture makes it suitable for boiling,
baking or frying. The dry heat of baking will hold the color of the
skin while moist heat from boiling or steaming will wash some color
out. Try a bag and try them out - you'll be sure to be a fan yourself.
CLICK HERE TO READ INFORMATION ON WOOD PRAIRIE'S OTHER SEED VARIETIES
Q & A - White Grubs and Potatoes
Q: Almost 60% of our potato crop this year had at least one large bite
taken out of it What could be eating them? We have a rabbit problem,
but a lot of the potatoes that were chewed on were under ground until
we dug them up. They even have what looks like teeth marks on them. -
DC, Anderson IN
A: Your problem is the White grub (Phyllophaga species) which is the
larval stage of the June Beetle aka May Beetle or Daw Bug. They are the
diameter of a pencil and about one inch long, white, ugly and short
legged. They live in sod and can be found in newly turned soddy garden
soil. We’ve never had a big problem with them and their
lessens significantly as the soil is worked and the time interval away
from sod increases. They can cause very impressive damage, often
localized in one or two adjacent hills. They can consume one-third to
two-thirds of an entire tuber and leave behind distinctive
marks that do look remarkably similar to damage caused by a hungry
mouse or rabbit. - Jim
FOR MORE SEED RELATED QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE
The Potato Bin
*EATING HABITS CAN CAUSE MEANINGFUL CHANGE…
Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, recently shared his
thoughts with the Sierra Club on modern day U.S. agriculture and why
food can be too cheap. The summation below shows how any one person can
make a difference. To read the article in its entirety, go to
“It would be wonderful if our government cared more about
and environmental health than about the profits of a handful of
corporations. Meaningful change, however, isn't going to come from the
top. It's going to come from people who realize that there's a direct
link between the food they eat and the society they inhabit. Changing
your eating habits can send ripples far and wide in support of
agricultural practices that are humane, diverse, and sustainable." "The
condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic
condition," Wendell Berry writes. "One reason to eat responsibly is to
* * * * *
*...AND WHY THE WORLD NEEDS THIS CHANGE
The biotech industry has officially celebrated the planting of the
billionth acre of genetically modified (GMO) crops with 75% of those
GMO crops grown in the U.S. and Argentina. More than 90% of the world's
GMO seeds were developed and sold by the Monsanto Corporation (planted
predominantly with Monsanto's genetically modified corn, cotton,
soybean and canola seeds). Monsanto's GMO seed sales alone brought the
company over $4 billion last year.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Outside of GMO seeds,
Monsanto's past and present product-line has included Agent Orange,
DDT, PCBs, rBGH and aspartame. Source: organicconsumers.org
* * * * *
*GOT PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND?
Maine Women's Agricultural Network (WAgN) will hold its annual
conference in Bangor, Maine this Saturday and Sunday. Among the
attendees will be Megan Gerritsen and Angie Wotton of Wood Prairie
Farm. Angie will participate in a workshop looking at the relationship
of reverence for the land from a Slow Food perspective.
* * * * *
*CIRCLE THE DATES FEBRUARY 1 - FEBRUARY 3, 2007
One of the largest sustainable agriculture conferences in the USA, the
Pennsylvania Assocation for Sustainable Agriculture's (PASA) Farming
for the Future, will be held at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
at State College. Jim Gerritsen will give a presentation on growing
organic seed potatoes in the seedsaving session at the pre-conference
on Thursday, February 1. Jim and Caleb from Wood Prairie Farm will be
manning our booth so come by and say hello.
* * * * *
*MYTHS AND REALITIES ABOUT GOING ORGANIC
The Nov-Dec 2006 issue of ATTRA News (www.attra.org) published a
helpful chart which dispels the myths against converting to organic
production. The chart was constructed by National Center for
Appropriate Technology (NCAT) staff member Ann Baier.
Myth - Yields will be miserable.
Reality - Yields are comparable under well managed systems.
Myth - Pests will eat you up.
Reality - Most pest problems can be prevented using integrated
Myth - Weeds will take over your farm.
Reality - Weed management requires constant attention.
Myth - Transitioning is impossible.
Reality - Transition can be challenging: plan cash flow with budget
Myth - The paperwork will kill you.
Reality - Recordkeeping can help your operation in many ways in
addition to organic compliance.
Myth - You'll never make any money.
Reality - Organic certification expands your market options and often
gives premium prices.
Myth - It can't be done.
Reality - It can be done if you plan, persist, and ask for help when
you need it.
CLICK HERE FOR THE WOOD PRAIRIE FARM WEBSITE
Recipe: Carrot Pie
This carrot pie recipe comes from my much-used Better Homes and Gardens
Cookbook. Once you bake this, carrot pie will become a wintertime
favorite, I'm sure! - Megan
2 c cooked Wood Prairie Farm Chantenay Carrots, pureed
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 5 oz can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk (or cream)
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a pastry crust for a single crust
pie and line a 9 inch pie plate with it.
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and blend well.
Place the pastry lined pan in the preheated oven. Carefully pour
filling into pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of the
pie with foil. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake another 25
minutes or so until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out
FOR MORE RECIPES, CLICK HERE
Conversations With...Tamaz Dundua
Tamaz Dundua is the Program Manager for the organization Biological
Farming Association based in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. The
organization works in the field of sustainable agriculture development
within their country. Founded in 1994 – just three years
gained independence from the Soviet Union, Tamaz has been involved
Wood Prairie Farm: Can you explain what traditional agriculture there
was in Georgia and why the founders of the Biological Farming
Association felt the need to begin an organization to promote
Tamaz Dundua: Traditional agriculture in Georgia was the production of
crops without the use of chemicals and pesticides. When Georgia was a
republic of the Soviet Union, Georgian farmers lost their knowledge of
traditional farming because of the rules under communism. Farmers no
longer owned their own farms. This is why it is necessary to have this
type of organization that can teach and train farmers how to manage
their farms. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and
subsequent independence, there was privatization of land and now,
although there are farms again, many of the farmers have little
knowledge on how to traditionally manage the land. We work with them
and try to change their mentality, which can be a difficult task.
WPF: Pre-Soviet times, what crops were grown in Georgia? When your
country became part of the Soviet Union, how did those types of crops
TD: Before the Soviet Union, we had different varieties of local wheat,
beans, many local varieties of fruits and wine. During Soviet times,
they tried to cultivate more monocultures of corn and tea plantations.
Non-local varieties of wheat were also planted with seed from Russia.
We started to lose our cultural heritage because of this. This was
terrible for many reasons, an important one being that our country is
known as the cradle of wine making. Scientifically, Georgia is the area
where wine was first made. We have many special local varieties of
wine, once totaling 600. Many of those are now lost. Wine and Georgia
are similar. It is impossible to understand Georgia without wine
because we have a deep, tradition to the wine making system that we
once employed. Wine was always a big piece of life for Georgians.
very important to keep these traditions. Now, we work to try and
WPF: Can you talk about a couple of the projects that the Biological
Farming Association is working on now?
TD: Our organization is now quite large. We have several projects going
on and our main goal is to improve social economic situations in
Georgia with development of organic agriculture and community
mobilization. There are some other components such as developing
marketing for farmers, agricultural biodiversity projects, rural
tourism development and a training system. This is quite a large
program and we have been quite successful in implementing the different
projects. In our organization there are about 450 member farmers and we
work closely with them. Just recently, we developed a draft law
regarding organic agriculture and organic certification in Georgia and
after a lot of work with the Ministry of Agriculture, this law was
adopted by Parliament. Beginning in 2007, this law will be implemented.
WPF: What stance does your organization have on genetically modified
organisms (GMO’s) and does the government of Georgia support
TD: Personally, I believe, as does the Biological Farming Association,
that Georgia should be free of GMO’s. This is a very
and I think it is necessary to give consumers the choice. Food should
be labeled if it contains GMO ingredients. As consumers, people have
the right to make a choice for themselves. We will fight for that.
We’ve had experience with that before when Monsanto tried to
GMO potatoes to Georgia. It was not simple to fight against them but
nature helped us. It appeared that the Colorado Potato Beetle
eat the GMO potatoes but a fungal disease destroyed a large percentage
of the potato plants instead. The farmers blamed the GMO potato and
they refused to plant them again. I’m sure Monsanto will try
to come to
the country again with other GMO plants and we will do our best to
We do have fairly good cooperation with our Ministry of Agriculture.
There is a new, young team and the minister has an open personality and
is open to cooperation with us as an organization. I think that they
support the idea, along with the Ministry of the Environment, that
GMO’s should be regulated. They believe that it is necessary
a law to regulate any GMO’s in Georgia. I hope that such a
soon and that Parliament will adopt it.
WPF: Is there an organization in your country that has a seed bank that
will help promote some traditional seed varieties?
TD: There are some institutes working in the seed saving field. They
have some seed banks but they are in bad shape. We have started our own
small seed bank and we want to distribute the traditional varieties
among farmers as part of our biodiversity project. The most important
focus is what kind of impact we will have once the farmers get the
seeds, grow them out, successfully market them and in turn provide
themselves an income. Even now, we try to help with the marketing by
organizing at one market where one section is solely for the selling of
heirloom varieties of different Georgian crops.
Editor’s note: Tamaz is the tall fellow in the center of the
the right. Other Georgian delegates to Terra Madre included a
beekeeper, chef, winemaker, cheesemaker and vegetable producer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BIOLOGICAL FARMING ASSOC, CLICK HERE
ARTING WORDS: MAINE SPEAK - PARTING WORDS: Muckle: v., to grab onto
Usage: “Muckle” is used when you really need some
strength to get
Example. Muckle: Persistence
Orman: “I’m having an awful hard time getting this
old rusty tooth
off’n this cultivator.”
Bucky: “Well, muckle on to her and get her off!"
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(c) Jim and Megan Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Farm, 49 Kinney Road,
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
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