Wood Prairie Farm               In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter      New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
      Organic News and Commentary
                 FREE Downloadable Copy of Vintage 'Potato Breeding and Selection' USDA Bulletin.
           Friday February 10, 2012                            Creative Toppings for Tonight's Mashed Potatoes.
                                                                                               Recipe: Lemon Sesame Seed Cookies.
                                                                                               Special Offer: FREE Wood Prairie Organic Cotton T-Shirts.
                                                                                               Mailbox: Legal Gardens, Illegal Trespass, Bintje & Birke.

Maine Ingenuity. No trick photo or tall stories here. This logger in Northern Maine befriended this bull moose when he was just a young orphan. Over time, trust was established and their friendship blossomed. With the help of a leather workhorse logging harness modified-to-moose-specs these two became partners in their own family Maine logging business.

 New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Good Map. Fresh update of the valuable USDA Hardiness Zone Map which helps one to determine which perennial plants have sufficient winter hardiness to survive in a given location. Click on map to enlarge.

FREE Downloadable Copy of
          'Potato Breeding and Selection' 1915 USDA Bulletin.

Almost one hundred years old, you will want to download from our website this excellent 35 page USDA Bulletin.  Entitled 'Potato Breeding and Selection' this classic USDA work headed by William Stuart has its home on the shelves of our Wood Prairie Farm library. What follows is an excerpt.  Jim

     The early fame of Luther Burbank rests very largely upon the Burbank
 potato, which he originated in 1873. This potato was introduced by Gregory in 1876 as Burbank's Seedling. The story of its origin is not a record of any particular effort on the part of the originator. Indeed, according to Burbank's own version it reads like this: In the summer of 1872, in a small plot of Early Rose potatoes in his mother's garden at Lancaster, Mass., Burbank observed one plant upon which a seed ball was developing. When he next visited the plant the berry was gone, but after diligent search of the ground in the vicinity of the vine he was fortunate enough to find it. The seeds of this berry were planted the following spring and from them grew 23 seedlings, one of which was later named Burbank's Seedling. In Burbank's Seedling we again have the third-generation progeny of the Rough Purple Chili.

Click here for our Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes


US Potato Production. Circa 1929. Each dot represents one thousand acres. In this era, Maine's leadership in national potato production was widely acknowledged.  As a result of this potato renown, many years earlier Northern Maine had been dubbed 'The Potato Empire.'  Maine's dominant role in potatoes continued on for many more decades.  Meanwhile, our friends in Idaho were beginning to figure out that they would have a future role to play in potato production in coming years.

Creative Toppings for Tonight's Mashed Potatoes.

From the folks at idahopotatoes.com come these toppings ideas for turning the next batch of mashed potatoes into a memorable main meal.  Megan

* Sour Cream
* Chopped Scallions
* Black Caviar
* Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
* Olive Tapenade
* Crumbled Hickory Bacon
* Finely Shredded Cheese
* Steamed Broccoli
* Garlic Sauteed Rock Shrimp
* Whipped Butter
* Sauteed Turkey Sausage with Cranberries and Sage
* Hearty Basil Pesto
* Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash
* Caramelized Onions
* Spicy Duck Sausage with Cilantro and Spices
* Artichoke Hearts
* Freshly Grated Parmesian
* Chopped Tomato Salsa with Capers, Basil and Cilantro
* Sundried Tomatoes
* Julienne of Rosemary Chicken
* Caramelized Jewel Colored Peppers
* Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage
* Crisp Potato Ribbons
* Roasted Japanese Eggplant Slivers
* Onion Confit
* Poached Lobster
* Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
* Jalapenos
* Norwegian Smoked Salmon
* Hearts of Palm
* Grilled Tri-Tip Sliced Thin
* Horseradish Creme
* Onion Crisps
* Country Gravy
* Salt and Pepper

Recipe: Lemon Sesame Seed Cookies

1 1/4 c rolled oats
3/4 c unbleached white flour
1/4 c toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Toast the sesame seeds by heating in a dry skillet for a few minutes until they start to brown slightly; remove them from the pan. Mix together the dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, stir together:
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 T grated lemon zest

Add the liquid mix to the dry ingredients, mixing well. Chill dough for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes in a 375 F oven. 

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Source: The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, Dec 2011 - Feb 2012

Lemon Sesame Seed Cookies
Photo by Angela Wotton


Special Offer: FREE Wood Prairie                                       
                                                            Organic Cotton T-Shirts.

Who wouldn't like to own a new high quality T-Shirt made entirely from 100% organic cotton and adorned with a colorful Wood Prairie Farm graphic?

  Here’s your chance to earn a FREE Wood Prairie Organic Cotton T-Shirt ($14.95 value) - Your Choice of Size - with your next purchase which includes 15 packets of our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

  Please use Promo code WPF 1114. FREE Organic T-Shirt must ship with order and entire order must ship by May 8, 2012. Offer may not be combined with other specials.  This offer ends Valentine's Day, Tuesday 2/14/12, so better hurry.  Please call or click today!

Our Mailbox: Legal Gardens, Illegal Trespass, Bintje & Birke.

Dear WPF.

Is it true that there is a law, no home gardens? Can this be true? We are just now learning to garden and I do not want all of this work to be done for nothing. Do you have a simple plan to start?

Belchertown MA

WPF Replies.

     1. No, this is not true. One or two years ago there were some wild and incorrect rumors to this effect floating around when the federal food safety bill was being revised and that rumor may go back to those days.

     2. Here's a nice little link to get you started. https://www.thegrowspot.com/index.php?pageid=tips and here's the Organic Garden Seed part of our website. https://www.woodprairie.com/category/organic-vegetable-garden-seeds.


Dear WPF.
     Thank you Jim and Megan for sending the text of the OSGATA v. Monsanto lawsuit. Please continue to do so, as I would like to follow this case closely. Years ago, we were plaintiffs in a class action suit against St. Regis Paper Co. for spraying Tordon 101 (Agent Orange with a different name) on timber, which then drifted over 5 towns and many water sources, including sections of Cobscook Bay in Washington County, ME. It affected our gardens, we all became very sick, and there was the threat of birth defects for future children. Eventually we had to settle the suit, but BEWARE!!

     The following can happen at the end of your suit as it did with us. Some of our plaintiffs did not accept the settlement money for their children, based on the belief that the children could sue later if their own children had birth defects. However St. Regis sold the company to Champion Paper and the children's future claims became moot. Don't let this happen to your group! You are doing the right thing by suing Monsanto; just be sure to protect yourselves AFTER the suit is over.

Very best regards.

Dennysville ME

WPF Replies.

     Yes I very much remember your spray incident as occurring back in the late 1970s.  That year, I recall bringing down some organic vegetables to MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair to donate to folks in your group over in Washington County

     Back in 1979, despite having filed legal notification and gaining official project exemption status from the State of Maine our farm was illegally sprayed in 1979 by the massive 'emergency' 4 million acre Spruce Budworm Suppression Project. Well, this 'emergency' had gone on for 23 consecutive years and by annually winking-an-eye and renewing the 'emergency' status, the State of Maine - and the multinational paper companies working their puppet strings - evaded the legal requirement to file an Environmental Impact Statement.  As a result of getting sprayed, we lost our organic certification for three years.

     So, we like you are also very sensitive to the matter of corporate misbehavior and illegal trespass.  Those were very tense times and the spray abuses were so flagrant and commonplace that angry farmers were threatening to shoot at airplanes they found spraying their land against their wishes.  You probably remember, as we do, the Governor of the State of Maine holding an angry press conference and threatening that any Maine farmer firing at a plane which resulted in a death would be charged with first degree murder.

     We appreciate your concern about our OSGATA v. Monsanto lawsuit and thanks for the words of caution. I'm sorry that some of you folks Downeast were denied justice by a corporate shell game. In the case of our lawsuit, we are not seeking monetary compensation.  Instead we are pre-emptively seeking court protection under the Declaratory Judgement Act from patent infringement lawsuits initiated by Monsanto should Monsanto seed contaminate our farms and then perversely claim we are in 'possession' of their technology without having paid royalty on that 'possession'. In order to gain this needed court protection we will be presenting to the court four self-standing legal arguments of patent law which will prove that Monsanto's transgenic/GMO patents were improperly granted by the US Patent Office and are therefore invalid. All we must do is win one of the arguments and we win our case.  Monsanto has to beat us on all four arguments in order for them to win.  We believe we have the law on our side and that we have a strong case.  This explains, despite their public posturing, why Monsanto is fighting so hard to keep this important case from getting to trial. 


Once More Dear WPF.

Hi Jim, 

It's funny how we work together even though we might not be aware of it. You brought potatoes for us in Washington County, and I didn't know it. And I sent all our class action info to folks in Oregon who were going to sue another paper company for the same reasons. And now there's Occupy! 

Again, good luck with your suit against Monsanto. Please continue sending the important parts to me, so I can mentally join you in the fight.

Very best regards.

Dennysville ME

Again WPF Replies.

     Yes, for sure we'll keep you and everyone updated on this modern biotech version of corporate abuse and unwanted trespass. 

     If I recall, back then, the trouble involved folks in the Alsea River watershed, a forested region of Oregon which was sprayed annually with 2,4,5-T (the major component in Monsanto's Agent Orange). Researchers eventually came to make the connection between the high rate of Spring miscarriages experienced by local women and the annual Spring spraying of 2,4,5-T. The federal government then banned 2,4,5-T.

     The dysfunctional regulatory system, full of conflict-of-interest, which America had back then - where the manufacturer of a new product provides all the information the 'regulators' (often revolving door individuals plucked from private industry) utilize in their product approval process.  'Regulator' decisions are based upon superficial literature review - without any independent testing. The dysfunctional system we had back then is the same dysfunctional system we have today for both chemicals and biotech crops. It didn't work then and it doesn't work now.

     USDA-APHIS, the 'regulator' of biotech crops is grossly biased in favor of biotech. Of all the many biotech crops that they have approved for their friends back in the biotech industry, only once has USDA-APHIS done an Environmental Impact Statement, a thorough study which is required by law.  And that one time, in the case of Monsanto's transgenic/GMO Roundup Ready sugar beets, was only performed because the court ordered USDA to stop breaking the law and conduct an EIS. That court order which forced USDA to cease illegal activity came as a result of the lawsuit launched against USDA-APHIS by Organic Seed Alliance (I was president of OSA at the time) and Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed, working with lawyers from our good allies at Center for Food Safety.  Interestingly, Wild Garden Seed and Center For Food Safety are now two of our 83 plaintiffs in the landmark OSGATA v. Monsanto, and OSA is a member of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

     The sad fact is we have a fraudulent regulatory system that serves the corporations.  It does not serve the people.  It does not serve the environment. It is bald corporate collusion of our government and it serves the narrow interests of the 1%.  The 99% need to unite, we need to retake the power from greedy irresponsible corporations and make sure that the people come first.  We owe this to ourselves and to our children. The machinery of government must be re-aligned to serve the needs and interests of the American people.


Dear WPF.

     Hi, I just wanted to tell you how excited I am to have found you, and to thank you for the work you're doing against Monsanto and GMO - it is vital for us all. I'm looking forward to trying some of your wonderful seed potatoes soon (Especially Bintje -I'm from Sweden and that was the potato we always grew when I was growing up!)

Brookline MA

WPF Replies.

     Thanks so much for your support. We are all in this together and we need to stand united to defend family farmers' right to farm and eaters right to choice in the marketplace.
     Unfortunately we no longer grow Bintje - Carola would be the closet variety we have to Bintje. We also have the fingerling known as Swedish Peanut, which you may know as mandelpotatis or Almond potato.


Dear WPF.

     FYI in case you have not already seen it; a friend sent this YouTube video about a school girl's potato project.

Keene NH

WPF Replies.

     Yes this is great video and we've posted it before. Here is another must watch YouTube video: 11 year old Birke Baehr on the Food System.

Wood Prairie Farm Quick Links

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