Wood Prairie Farm

I miss back when
The bug deflector on our neighbor's log truck hints at a popular Maine winter pastime: "I MISS BACK WHEN"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wood Prairie Farm Newsletter

This Issue:

Maine Tales

Recipe: Pan Fried Potatoes

Offer: Free Cookbook

Q & A : Monsanto - Free

Maine Tales. Winter Hot Spot.

   No doubt about it, a lot of time here in northern Maine is spent thinking and talking about the past.  The past may not have been too awful good but after all we did get through it and who knows about the future?  Truth be told we have very little hard experience with the future and that can be powerful scary to just about anybody, most especially a Mainer.

   Now one thing you can say about the past is that it has a tendency to get better as time goes by.  Hereabouts, the pains of hardship and humiliation  just seem to lessen with the passage of time as the mind dulls and glosses over events that some would just as soon have everybody forget, like remember the time that wet Fall during digging when Linnwood just barely missed that bridge and drove that truck full of potatoes clear into Whitney Brook?

   But sometimes the past is chockful of goodness through and through and here's one example.  One of the popular features in our local (well, about twenty miles away) weekly paper, the Houlton Pioneer Times (“The Only Newspaper in the World Interested in Houlton, Maine”) is From Our Files – News From 100 Years Ago where items are lifted verbatim from an issue exactly one century before and brought to the attention of us modern readers, raw and untainted by the rewriters of history.  Now some might quibble with the usage of that term “news.”  A neighbor once allowed that he liked to read the Houlton Hen – the Houlton paper's other less than complimentary name - every night before bed so that he could fall asleep with nothing on his mind.

   Well, in last week's paper this little nugget from January 7, 1910 caught the attention of most everybody here in our little farming town of Bridgewater (Pop. 612): “Miss Adelle Burpee, teacher at the grammar school returned from a week of vacation   in Bridgewater.”  Nowadays,  Bridgewater no longer has a railroad station, no more jewelry store nor hotel “The Central House” (named because it was halfway on the rough state road between Houlton to the south and Presque Isle to the north).  But here was indisputable prima facie evidence that in the eyes of one young adoring school marm that our town was a rare pearl that conjured up the fun and excitement evoked by a vacation.  And in the depths of subzero snowy January in Maine, no less!  Fact is we have been left speechless for nigh onto a week, full of civic pride and and the contentment that comes with recognition.  To think that before folks discovered  the beaches of sunny Florida, our humble little frontier potato town was a winter destination hot spot for light-hearted frivolity.  Bridgewater may well have a future, but for now we'll just keep enjoying our past.  Jim

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Pan-Fried Potatoes

Thinly slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes such as Prairie Blush or Butte

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes until just cooked through and tender but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and let dry and cool for a few minutes.

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a cast iron pan and add the potatoes when when oil is hot. Cook over medium heat, stirring and tossing regulary until golden, about 15 minutes.

Season with salt, fresh herbs such as rosemary, dried tomatoes or crispy bacon.

Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters - pioneering cook, restauranteur, and food activist.

More recipes on Wood Prairie's Facebook, including Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prairie Blush Panfried potatoes
Photo of Prairie Blush Pan-Fried Potatoes by our friend Russell French.  Come see more of his beautiful food photos here.
FREE Classic Cookbook

Food for Friends by Barbara Kafka
Receive a FREE softcover copy of revered Food writer Barbara Kafka's classic Food for Friends cookbook when you place an order of $65 or more!  Please use code WPF908.  Order must ship by 4/29/10.  Hurry!  Offer expires when cookbook supply is exhausted but no later than Tuesday 1/19/10.  Cookbook Offer can not be combined with other offers.  

Question and Answer : Monsanto - Free
   Received your catalog. I'm interested in ordering. Before I order, I'd like to confirm you're seeds are "non Monsanto /Seminis". I'm trying to find a seed source that I can rely on to "stay clear" of Monsanto / Seminis or any of the other GMO companies.
Steuben ME

   Before I place my order I have a question on your beet seed.  I've talked a lot with my Oregon Tilth inspectors, and they seem to feel that organic certification is not sufficient to guarantee a lack of GMO contamination. Nor is signing on to the safe seed pledge by itself a guarantee. What can you tell me about your beet and chard seed?
    I've showed your catalog around my area in Washington, and it is generating a good deal of interest as we form our own "neighborhood" seed network. Thank you for your good work.
Kennewick WA

 Monsanto has been on a buying spree of seed companies and Seminis is one of their latest victims, which is sad because Seminis has some really popular vegetable varieties in their line.
   We have been signatories to the Safe Seed Pledge for well over ten years: “We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seed or plants.”  Our Products section in our Catalog (p.22) states our policy:  “We do not support Monsanto and we do not offer any seed or crop varieties under Monsanto’s control.” 
   We are very conscious of the potential GMO (gene-splicing or genetically modified organisms) contamination in organic seeds issue.  At our cost we are testing at risk varieties for GMO content (10,000 seed PCR test - the industry's best).  We do not sell seed that tests hot (threshold 0.01% or 1 seed out of 10,000 threshold) - Our policy is that test results must be zero or we will not sell a seed lot as organic seed.
   While there is a long freight train of pending GMO crop and vegetable applications at the door of commercialization the vegetable families focused for concern now are beets and corn. 
1)    Our Organic Rainbow Chard seed has tested clean.
2)     Our Organic Sweet Red Bliss Beet seed was grown before the introduction of GMO sugar beets, hence free from contamination.
3)    Our Organic Dorinny Sweet Corn seed is grown here on our isolated Wood Prairie Farm and our crops have always tested clean.

   I believe it is a basic right for a farmer (gardener) to be secure on their own farm, to be free from the threat of farm invasion by biotech's uncontrolled GMO pollen.  And I believe customers like you have a right of access to good clean organic seed free of GMO contamination.
   This is a real David and Goliath battle.  I serve on the Board of Directors of two grassroots organizations (OSA /  Organic Seed Alliance - seedalliance.org & OSGATA / Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn - osgata.org) on the cutting edge of this work and financial support is urgently needed.
   Thanks for your interest.  Your caution is justified and commendable.

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