Wood Prairie Farm                                                                                   In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                                                             Maine Tales: Planting Another Crop of Potatoes.
Organic News and Commentary
                                                                                                  Incredible Ag Photos From Space.
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011                                                                                        Recipe: Cornmeal and Quinoa Skillet Bread.                                                                                                                                                                Special Offer: Incredible Fishmeal Sale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          What Did I Miss?
                                                                                                                                                                Our Mailbox: Good Seed & Good Work.


                                      Tuber Unit Planting on Wood Prairie Farm. Michelle, Michelle, Sarah and Derrin finishing our last field.

Maine Tales.                               Planting Another Crop of Potatoes.                 Bridgewater, Maine Circa 2011.                                                 
     Here in northern Maine we’ve had yet another wet and long drawn out Spring.  And now we have just finished up planting potatoes. The photo you see above is a frame that shows how we do our planting.  We ‘tuber unit’ plant our potatoes. We think that this age old but now rarely practiced seed potato growing technique is one of the reasons why our organic seed potatoes perform so well for you.
     The principle behind ‘tuber unit’ planting is that each daughter seed piece cut from a mother tuber is planted sequentially as a group or ‘unit’. Tuber unit planting is laborious and time-consuming in this hurry up world. Tuber uniting greatly facilitates our work later in the season when it promotes a superior job of removing ‘rogues’ (‘roguing’) which are off-types or plants affected by problems like yield-stealing potato virus. It’s much easier to spot those rogues from a full tuber unit than it is to find a random rogue here and there mixed in among the good potato plants.
     Twenty years ago we rebuilt and transformed a McConnell conventional pick-style planter into this segmented two-row tuber unit belt planter that you see above.  Using our tractor-drawn planter we creep down the field at one-half mile per hour. With four workers sitting on back of the planter (each pair shares a single row) we grab greensprouted whole tubers from the (rear) ‘seed box’ and cut them with mounted seed potato knives into 1.5 ounce seed pieces.  These cut seed pieces are laid out carefully in cut-order on the belt and the belt in turn places them in that same tuber unit order into the furrow slit in the soil. Rear covering disks then gently cover over the seed pieces and the fish meal fertilizer (calibrated to meter out at 1000 pounds per acre) dispensed by the front ‘fertilizer boxes’. On days when the ground is dry enough to work - few and far between this Spring - we plant up to an acre and a half, mostly at a density of 26000 hills per acre.
       Now that we’ve explained to you the basics of our potato planting, you can watch our live action tuber unit planting process on You Tube by clicking here. These were the last hours of the last day of planting this year’s last Wood Prairie Farm potato field.
     And three hours after we planted that last unit at 9pm the rain set in again and by morning we’d had another inch. But that’s alright.  Because now that we’re done planting we are happy and buoyed by thousands of years of tradition.  We know that a new crop is now in the making and that holds promise.  The cycle continues and in faith and in keeping with farmers who for many millennia have come before us, we are hopeful and expectant of the good harvest ahead.

Jim & Megan 
Incredible Ag Photos From Space.

     We think you will enjoy viewing this remarkable series of color photographs of world agricultural production regions taken by satellite. The explanatory captions identify the content. The series was compiled by the UK's Telegraph. Jim.

Cornmeal and Quinoa Skillet Bread

Photo by Angela Wotton

Recipe: Cornmeal and Quinoa Skillet Bread.

1 c whole wheat or spelt flour (I used spelt in this recipe)
3/4 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c cooked quinoa, room temperature (quinoa is cooked just as you would oatmeal)
3 T unsalted butter, barely melted
3 T natural cane or brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 c milk
1 1/2 T white or white wine vinegar
1 c heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roughly ten minutes before you are ready to bake the skillet bread, while you are mixing the batter, place the skillet in the hot oven.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and dried herbs.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, quinoa, and melted butter until well-blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and stir again. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together. It will be quite thin.

Pour the batter into the heated skillet. Pour the heavy cream into the center of the batter - do not stir. Carefully place in oven and check after 45 minutes. The skillet bread is done when the top becomes lightly browned and the center just set.

Best served warm from the oven. Megan.

Special Offer: Incredible Fish Meal Sale.

One of the benefits of living in Maine is our proximity to the Coast and our access to great marine resources like our organic Fish Meal (7-11-1) fertilizer.  For many years we have been using this high nitrogen, high phosphorus fish meal that has excellent nutrient availability.  It has been approved for organic use by MOFGA.
   Our fish meal is made by farmer friends who every Spring after snow melt, grind and screen the fish meal into 1000 pound tote/sling bags.  The late timing of the annual outside production run is such that we will use this year’s truckload of fish meal for next year’s potatoes.
   Fact is, we have come to find it reassuring in these uncertain times to have this foundation fertility fish meal secure and in hand a year ahead of need. It stores well if kept in a shed. The tote bags can be accessed from the top (shoveled out) or bottom (gravity flowable) so use and distribution is easy.  The fish smell is not bad and it goes away once the fish meal is in the soil. Split a tote bag with friends or neighbors and save some big money.  As a helpful guideline, we use this fish meal on Wood Prairie Farm at a rate of 1000 lbs per acre (50 lbs per 750 row feet) on potatoes. Perfect at planting time or as a side dress later in season.
  We have extra fish meal and we’d like to share some with you. Here are the incredible SALE deals for everyone in the lower 48 States:
Sale Deal #1. One-1000 lbs tote bag Fish Meal delivered to you in New England*  $595 Delivered.
                 Save $200 over our regular prices!
Sale Deal #2. Two-1000 lbs tote bags Fish Meal delivered to you in New England* $995 Delivered.
                 Save $400 over our regular prices!
Sale Deal #3. One-50 lbs bag Fish Meal delivered to you in New England. $79 Delivered.
                   Save $13 over our regular prices!
Please use Promo Code WPF 1026. Act now! Fish Meal Sale Deals end 6/30/12 and fish meal must ship by July 15.
Note: Deal cost including delivery outside New England (to the other 42 lower states) will be somewhat higher, due to higher transportation costs.  Call 800.829.9765 for details.
*Must have non-residential ship-to-address with loading dock or fork/forklift unloading capability to accept truck delivery.
Click here for Wood Prairie Organic Fish Fertilizer Section.

What Did I Miss?

     With lots going on we're using regular posts on our Facebook wall to keep you tuned into the Wood Prairie Organic Community. Here are some highlights since our last Seed Piece that you won't want to miss. Jim & Megan.

 • CBS Evening News video clip of two California organic dairy farmers concerned about USDA’s de-regulation of GMO alfalfa. Both Tony Acevado and Ward Burroughs are plaintiffs in our lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s GMO patents.
 • The clearest and best primer that we’ve seen on the politics behind GMO crops and the federal government’s fumbling behavior. Excellent article from Tikkun magazine.
 • Our friend organic farmer Tom Willey of T & D Willey Farms in Madera, California is interviewed by Slow Food USA.  Tom explains why he and Denesse concluded they must become plaintiffs in the Monsanto lawsuit.
 • Nature News blog came up with a good concise article that delves into the interesting and powerful legal claims we are asserting against Monsanto in our lawsuit.
 Please click here to become a Friend of Wood Prairie Farm on Facebook and keep connected. Thanks! Jim. 

Our Mailbox: Good Seed and Good Work

Storm Aftermath. Last week for two days wild thunderstorms and two tornados rattled northern Maine. In the photos above, near Caribou about 35 miles north of us, where once two identical quonset hut above-ground potato storages stood now only one remains. A severe storm flattened the other quonset.

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say that we planted your potatoes today. We are in our second year of running a very small CSA in northwest Connecticut and bought potatoes from you and one other vendor this year. Next year they will be all from you and we'll try some of your other seed too. Everything looked great and we're excited to see the results of your crop. Thanks for your commitment to producing a quality product.

New Milford CT

Thanks for your note and thanks for your support. We consider raising organic seed a sacred trust. Doing our best is important because we want you and organic to succeed. We recognise that you and we are partners in this work. We won't let you down. Jim & Megan. 
Q. Thanks for letting me know about the lawsuit! Is there any way for me or others to help out? I know plenty of "eaters" who'd be quite invested in this issue.

Orono ME


1. Spread the word to all your friends. We are getting pretty good coverage on the web but the traditional media is not paying attention.

2. Place comments on Blogs and Facebook and Newspapers to spread the word. We are fighting this battle on two fronts: courtroom and public discourse. The people are with us once they learn the story.

3. Support the seed and other companies involved in the lawsuit.

4. Let organizations like MOFGA and OSGATA know you support their involvement - become a member and buy from their farmers and donate if you can - we all run on shoestring budgets and volunteer labor and need all the help we can get.

5. I know OSGATA could use help if you have some hours to volunteer. Jim.

Q. I wanted to thank you for keeping me updated on your efforts to resist Monsanto. It is a huge struggle I am sure, especially against the sneering, patronizing public relations lingo you run up against all the time. I admire small farmers like you and your family. Thanks.

Reston VA

Thanks for your support Jeanne, it's appreciated. There are times when action is inescapable and now is that time. Monsanto must be challenged. We are doing this lawsuit on behalf of the entire organic community so please do let your friends know and help spread the word. Here's a link to the most recent lawsuit development.  Thanks. 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