Wood Prairie Farm                                               In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                    Farmers' Journey For Justice
      Organic News and Commentary
                                   Great Trials Potatoes Available to Share.
           Friday January 27, 2011                                                FREE North American Potato Variety Inventory Download.
                                                                                                                 Recipe: Beet and Carrot Soup.
                                                                                                                 Special Offer: Great Organic Fertilizer Offers and FREE Stuff
                                                                                                                 Mailbox: Our Small Strong World

Wood Prairie Farm Display at the Organic Seed Growers Conference. Last week Jim, Peter and Caleb braved the quirky snow in Seattle and the Olympic peninsula to attend the organic seed community's bi-annual conference, this year in Port Townsend, Washington. You can click to the Organic Seed Alliance website for the Conference Proceedings and soon they will have loaded video recordings of several great organic seed sessions for you to view and enjoy from home.

Farmers' Journey For Justice

     Over fifty Plaintiffs will be present in Federal District Court in Manhatten next Tuesday January 31, to hear our legal team, led by Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation, present Oral Argument in the landmark organic community lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. The topic to be argued will be Monsanto’s motion to dismiss which Monsanto filed back in July in their attempt to deny family farmers access to the court system.  The Plaintiffs filed a strong written rebuttal in August asserting Monsanto’s motion lacked merit and was little more than a corporate delaying tactic. In late December Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald granted our request for Oral Argument on the motion to dismiss.

     OSGATA v. Monsanto is a historic pre-emptive lawsuit filed last winter under the Declaratory Judgment Act.  The lawsuit seeks to gain court protection for family farmers who through no fault of their own and because of Monsanto trespass, become contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic/GMO seed.    In cases of GMO contamination, not only is the value of the farmer’s organic crop extinguished, but in a perverse legal injustice, the farmer would then be subject to a patent infringement lawsuit by Monsanto for ‘possessing’ Monsanto’s transgenic technology without having paid royalty on that ‘possession.’

     With this lawsuit, family farmers are fighting on the front lines trying to defend ourselves from an aggressor that seeks to control the seed system and at the same time we are trying to preserve your family’s right of access to good clean food and seed.

     Our plaintiffs are not seeking one penny from Monsanto.  Early on, our lawyers asked Monsanto for a binding legal covenant not-to-sue and Monsanto refused. This refusal made clear to all that Monsanto was unwilling to give up its option to threaten and pursue innocent family farmers for patent infringement in the case of their contamination of our organic crops.  Monsanto has left us no choice but to petition the court for legal protection.  We will argue for this court protection through the assertion of four separate self-standing legal arguments.  We have a strong case and we are prepared to prove that the patents given to Monsanto by the US Patent Office were improperly granted and that Monsanto’s transgenic patents are invalid.
     For those of you in the greater NYC area, we ask you to consider attending the Citizen’s Assembly on January 31 which is being organized for outside the courthouse.  Please bring your friends and show your support for innocent family farmers who need the protection of our court system. Please learn more and RSVP the Citizen’s Assembly by clicking here.
     Also, we encourage everyone to sign the petition from our friends and co-plaintiffs at Food Democracy Now! lending your support to the cause of our family farmers in this battle. It will take you less than one minute to sign on.
     Jim is President of lead Plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.  He will be in the courtroom along with plaintiff farmers from twenty other states and provinces including Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Wisconsin and Iowa.

     Further information on OSGATA v. Monsanto may be found on woodprairiefarm.com, osgata.org and pubpat.org. Thanks!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm
Bridgewater, Maine

Farmers v. Monsanto. We need your help. Please sign the petition above and RSVP if you can attend the Citizen's Assembly. Thanks!

French Fingerling.

Beautiful red fingerling potato with golden flesh lightly splashed with red. Delicious roasted or boiled.

German Butterball.

Widely known as one of the best tasting potatoes anywhere. Golden and buttery German variety.

Great Trials Potatoes Available to Share.

With the help of Peter and Caleb and our crew, we've finished cleaning and grading out our supply of trials organic potatoes. The good news is we now have some of our favorites to share with you.
     * German Butterball
     * French Fingerling
     * Yellow Finn
     * Katahdin

     These varieties will be part of our offerings in the upcoming February, March and April Potato Samplers of the Month. Additionally, they are available as organic eating potatoes for you to prepare in your kitchen, as well as organic (but not certified seed) seed potatoes for you to plant in your garden.

     Check them out on our Wood Prairie website - we have newly listed these organic potatoes. You may call or click now to order some but you better hurry because they are available only while limited supplies last.

Click here for our Wood Prairie Organic Kitchen Potatoes.

Yellow Finn.

Very dry and floury golden fleshed potato with delicious flavor. Originally grown in Finland.


This is the potato that made Maine famous. Round White variety released in 1932, this somewhat moist heirloom sets the standard for taste and quality.

FREE North American Potato Variety Inventory Download

   In our last Seed Piece issue we provided you with a valuable link to a downloadable exhaustive Compendium of World Potato Varieties put together by the good folks at Washington State University. This time around we offer to you an excellent free download from Dr Richard Chase of MSU and our friends at the Potato Association of America which compliments the WSU work. Entitled North American Potato Variety Inventory, this list of 339 potato varieties contains important supplemental information, such as Parentage, Breeder, Year of Release  and citation of Published Release Data as it appeared in the American Potato Journal.  Jim

Potato Association of America. Building America's farmer libraries.

Beet and Carrot Soup

Photo by Angela Wotton

Recipe: Beet and Carrot Soup

1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/8 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c sliced shallots (2 large)
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lb Chantenay carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 lb trimmed beets, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
4 c water
1 T red wine vinegar
Grind toasted coriander seeds in spice grinder or mortar and pestle
Serves 6

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook shallots with thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, beets, ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Discard bay leaves and any tough thyme stems. Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth, then return soup to pot. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and additional water if needed to thin soup. Megan.

Click here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Section.

Great Organic Fertilizer Offers
                                                     and FREE Stuff!

     Despite the frozen ground and snowy weather here in Maine it’s time to think about organic fertilizer for this year. Healthy plants, good yields and happy farmers grow from sufficient organic fertility and Wood Prairie is here to help.

Offer #1. FREE Potting Soil.  Earn a FREE 6 Quart sack of Vermont Compost Soil Mix – Your choice of Fort Vee Potting Soil, Fort Light or Compost Plus ($12.95 value) when your next purchase includes a bag of Wood Prairie Organic Fertilizer – Your choice of Organic Potato, Organic Fish Meal, Organic All-Purpose or Organic Pelletized Poultry Compost and totals $50 or more. Please use Promo code WPF 1111.
Offer #2. FREE Long Handle Tool.
  Earn a FREE Long Handle Tool – Your choice of Garden Gopher Hoe, Three Point Scuffle Hoe or Cobrahead Long Handle Hoe ($39.95-$59.95 value) when you buy a 1000 pound sling bag of Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer. Please use Promo code WPF 1112.
Offer #3. FREE Long Handle Tool Collection. Earn a FREE Long Handle Tool Collection (One each of Garden Gopher Hoe, Three Point Scuffle Hoe and
Cobrahead Long Handle Hoe ($139.85 value) when you buy two (2) 1000 pound sling bags of Organic Fish Meal Fertilizer. Please use Promo code WPF 1113.

Offer items above must ship with order and entire order must ship by May 8, 2012. Offer may not be combined with other Specials. These offers end Friday 2/3/12 so hurry!  Please call or click today!

Fish Meal in Sling Bags. Fish Meal in Hands. Long Handle Garden Hoes in Garden.

Our Mailbox: Our Small Strong World

Dear WPF.
     I'm a semi-retired independent small grains researcher. I'm trying to move to Vermont this spring. (Maine? And if those don't work out...Bulgaria!) I have been doing historic and genetic work on small grain varieties that organic and low-input farmers use - sometimes for decades! In conversation with Dr. Heather Darby some very interesting things have surfaced. I found the video of you in NYC holding up a small bag of wheat. On your site I found that you grow 'AC Barrie' but also on the cover crops page you grow "FBC Dylan'. I've very curious how both of these (or any other) have done for you. I am also interested in which variety was in that bag in New York City. Please let me know. I hope to have something ready about all this for the Vermont Grain Conference in March, but will happily send you a copy if you don't make it there.


Lopez Island WA

WPF Replies.

     Currently we grow both AC Roblin and FBC Dylan Hard Red Spring Wheat. I brought a bag of both to the Occupy Farmers' March in NYC for the seed swap and I don't remember which one I grabbed out of my coat pocket to hold up at Zucotti Park. And yes we have grown AC Barrie, and had good experience with it as well. Lots of organic farmers grow Barrie in New England with success. We opted for Roblin because it is equally good milling quality as Barrie and is a week earlier. That's valuable to us because we like to get our wheat harvested before we begin to dig potatoes in September and Roblin's earliness helps.
     All three varieties have done well for us in Maine and I can recommend them. Interestingly, I've spoken with farmers in north Florida and New Mexico who had good luck with some Roblin seed they got from us.
     Also interestingly, last week my two sons and I were in your neck of the woods in Port Townsend WA attending the Organic Seed Growers Conference.  One day we had a bus tour and took the ferry to Whidbey Island and then onto the WSU Research Station in Mount Vernon, now run by our friend and courageous organic advocate Dr. Steve Jones. Despite the five inches of snow in the Skagit Valley we did see several fields of overwintering cabbage plants - being grown out for seed - poking up through the snow.
     Washington State support for organic is strong and reminiscent of what we saw in Denmark. They are making a wise investment in the future of agriculture and it was satisfying to see. May the rest of our country learn from the good thought in Washington. Jim.

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