Wood Prairie Farm                                     In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                        Maine Tales: A Short History of Wood Prairie Farm.
      Organic News and Commentary
                                       Two Great Articles About Our Indiegogo Shop Project.
         Thursday June 28, 2012                                                      Seeds of Discontent - OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.
                                                                                                                     Recipe: Potato Rosemary Fougasse.
                                                                                                                     Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed.
                                                                                                                     Mailbox: Potatoes From Sea to Shining Sea.

   Caleb Gerritsen Speaks About Farm Life & Indiegogo

      Caleb and Farming. Click here to watch Caleb’s short video. Caleb is our second oldest son and he just graduated from Central Aroostook High School.    This Fall Caleb will begin earning his degree in Diesel Hydraulic Mechanics at nearby Northern Maine Community College.  Caleb and his older brother, Peter, have become accomplished mechanics and the two of them do most of the repairs on Wood Prairie Farm.

     We have just put together an Indiegogo Crowdfunding Project and we need your help in order to build our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Seed Equipment Repair Shop so that our boys will have a safe and dry place to maintain and repair our farm equipment. If you are able, we would be grateful to receive your contribution to our Project. In return you’ll receive a unique ‘perk’ from us. In the first six days of our Indiegogo Project we've already raised $7145 towards our goal of $32000 needed for building materials.

     We can also use your help in the following ways:

     * Spread the word about our Project to your family and friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

     * “Like” our Project on our Indiegogo Campaign Homepage (“Like” button is directly beneath the opening frame aerial photo shot of our Project video).

     * Submit a Comment on Indiegogo (Click here to read the wonderful Comments submitted so far).

Thanks for helping our boys!

Jim & Megan.

Maine Tales.                 A Short History of the Beginnings of Wood Prairie Farm.                                 Circa 1976.

     Both of Jim's parents grew up on farms - his father on an apple farm in Moxie, Washington (near Yakima), and his mother on a cattle and wheat ranch outside Midland, South Dakota (near Pierre). They were of the generation encouraged 'to get a better life' off the farm. Megan's family was another generation removed from dirt farming in Maine, but she grew up in the country with gardens and goats and a best-friend-pony who accompanied her on a childhood of adventures exploring the countryside.

     As a kid raised in town all Jim knew then was that he surely did not fit in. A refugee from the land, he grew up as a fish-out-of-water and sought solace by hiking and camping in the woods. We both started working on farms in college. For Jim, it clicked and he came to quickly understand the farming that had skipped a generation was his calling. Soon, of course, Jim allowed he wanted to have his own farm and not work for someone else. He dropped out of school to work and save farm-buying money. Megan, younger and smarter, stuck with college, got a biology degree and kept finding organic farms to work on.

     Jim researched his options. Northern Maine had excellent soil, woods, isolation, rainfall, abandoned farms and cheap $150/acre farmland. In 1976, he set off and drove to Maine with his tools and books in a one-ton Chevy flatbed truck as a 21 year-old with amassed savings of $7000 in his pocket. Sometimes one is guided. This farm we're on happens to be the very first Maine farm Jim ever laid his eyes upon. It rang true. He followed his designed plan of searching among many other farms, but found himself comparing each one back to the first one. In the end, he did buy the first 40 acres for $6000, which became the beginning of Wood Prairie Farm. That first year Jim lived for five months in a Coleman tent, dug a 12' x 20' cellar-hole by hand, poured a full concrete root cellar, then built a cabin over the cellar, all the while working off farm jobs. That November after the first snows, he moved into the unfinished cabin.

     Some years later, Megan was working on a organic farm 80 miles south. Mutual friends introduced us and we were married that next year in 1985. Five years later, Peter, the first of our four children was born. Then four years after that, Caleb: then four years later, Sarah: then four years more and change, Amy. That we farm with a four year potato rotation should now come as no surprise to anyone.

Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Farm
Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Farm homepage.

Two Great Articles About Our
                                            Indiegogo Repair Shop Project

A pair of well-written articles appeared yesterday – both originating from the state of Tennessee - which highlight our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Farm Equipment Repair Shop project.

 Jim & Megan

   Sage Hill Farms' Bea Kunz, did a nice write up about our Repair Shop project in her piece The Perfect Giving Back or Paying It Forward (post date Wed June 27) on her Bea's Beatitudes/All About Herbs blog. Once in a while, the perfect chance presents itself that allows us to give back in a manner that makes a difference to the whole and not just a chosen few. This is one of those times, Jim Gerritsen in Bridgewater, Maine-an organic farmer and advocate for all organic farmers against the damaging actions of the chemical giant...Monsanto-needs our help. Let me make clear...farmers are not wealthy people...most of us work on a very tight budget, often working against all odds to make a goal and keep our farms and businesses out of the red…I grew up with the knowing that we help our neighbors when help is needed....Jim is our neighbor, just living in another state…this is a worthy plea...I'm asking...a little or a lot, will be greatly appreciated .”

   Journalist Anne Brock also wrote about our Indiegogo project on her wonderful Flour Sack Mama blog (entry date Wed June 27):  "’We've been shade tree mechanics for 35 years, having to work outside,’ explained Maine potato farmer Jim Gerritsen.  Now that his sons, Peter and Caleb are taking on key duties in keeping older equipment running, a shelter would be ideal for the tedious tasks like welding that farmers often do.  ‘The shop will help us get our work done,’ said Caleb, who'll be studying diesel hydraulic mechanics this fall at Northern Maine Community College while still helping out on the farm.”

Shop Location. Where our Indiegogo Repair Shop will be built.

OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. The battle continues.

Seeds of Discontent - OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.

   There are new developments in the landmark organic community patent lawsuit Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. In March we filed our Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, against Federal Judge Buchwald’s pre-trial dismissal of our suit filed under the Declaratory Judgement Act. OSGATA et al v. Monsanto challenges Monsanto’s GMO patents and seeks court protection from Monsanto for family farmers.  We believe the dismissal ruling contained both errors of fact and errors of law which led Judge Buchwald to make an erroneous ruling.   We are now preparing our Appeal brief opposing the Judge’s position that our family farmers lack standing to sue. We are not seeking one dollar from Monsanto.

   A recent article about the lawsuit in food magazine Gourmet, Seeds of Discontent, contained this observation: “’There’s a saying that good fences make good neighbors,’ says Jim Gerritsen, the president of OSGATA. Gerritsen has been farming organic potatoes in a small town in northern Maine, 6 miles south of the Canadian border, for more than three decades. ‘If I’m growing clover at my farm, and your farm next door has cattle, it’s your responsibility to build a strong enough fence to keep your cows from coming over and eating my clover. It is Monsanto’s responsibility to ensure their seed doesn’t contaminate the organic farms.’”

     Finally, an article posted this week on patent law journal blog Patently-O, reported that the US Supreme Court has decided it will hear Already, LLC dba Yums v. Nike, a trademark case that is likely to have implications on standing in patent lawsuits.  The journal described Already v. Nike as “an appeal carrying the potential for profound implications for patent law.”

  Soon we will have new OSGATA et al v. Monsanto developments and we will report them to you right here. 

Click here to the Wood Prairie Farm website for background on OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.

Potato Rosemary Fougasse.

2 c cubed peeled dry baking potato such as Swedish Peanut Fingerling.
1 package dry yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 c warm water (100 to 110 F)
6 c all-purpose flour or  whole wheat flour, divided
2 T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp sea salt

Place potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender. Drain, reserving 1 c cooking liquid. Return potato to pan and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a separate bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 c flour, mashed potato, reserved cooking liquid, oil, rosemary, and salt to the yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Stir in 3 1/2 c flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 45 minutes. Punch dough down. Roll into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle. Place on a large baking sheet. Cut 5 4-inch long diagonal slits in dough on alternating sides of dough. Be careful not to cut through edge of dough. Gently pull slits open. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Use your hands to gently pull slits apart so they remain open during baking. Bake dough for 25 minutes or until browned. Cool on wire rack. 

Source: Cooking Light, December 2001


Potato Rosemary Fougasse.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

   Thick Crop. Chopping Down Buckwheat 56 DAP (days after planting).
Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat
                                                                Cover Crop Seed.

     One of our favorite cover crops for improving the tilth of the soil is Organic Buckwheat.  It is a fast growing and warm season (susceptible to frost) cover crop or grain (source of Buckwheat flour for Buckwheat pancakes).  Tolerates poor quality soil better than most cover crops.  Plant Buckwheat in the Spring after the soil has warmed and after risk of a 32oF frost has passed.  Plant up to and as late as 8 weeks prior to expected Fall frost.  If grown as a cover crop to improve the soil, be sure to mow down and incorporate into the soil at first bloom (about 7-8 weeks) to prevent maturation of grain which could shatter from the straw and come back to haunt you as a weed. 
     And here's your chance to earn a FREE 2.5 lb sack of Wood Prairie Farm Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed ($9.95 value covers 400 square feet) with your next purchase of $40 or more. FREE Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed offer ends Monday, July 2.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 1122.  Your order and FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed must ship by 7/5/12.  Offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.

Our Mailbox: Potatoes From Sea to Shining Sea.

North Carolina Crop.

Dear WPF.
     Hey Jim, thank you very much for your time this morning. I put the notes in my log. Answer to whether or not the deer eat the potato vines is: "I don't know". We were hoping to find out with the Yukon Golds planted outside the fence but the voles got them first. I have a lot of spearmint planted alongside the potato fence and hopefully that is what kept the voles out of the potatoes. 40 lbs from 2 1/2lbs of Rose Gold seed even with all the adverse events. 20 pounds and counting from 2 pounds of Buttes, who knew?

P.S. We support everything you do for the family farmer. You are our future and our heritage.

Raleigh NC

WPF Replies.

     Those are very good yields. One of my favorite stories is a farmer who once got 750 lbs of organic Rose Gold seed from us and harvested 24,000 lbs - that's a 32x increase. That crop was a moneymaker.


Green Thumb Growing in Washington.

Snoqualmie Potatoes. Healthy seed, healthy garden, healthy food.

Dear WPF.

     Thought I'd send you a pic of the potato plants grown from the seed I ordered from Wood Prairie Farm. The blossoming row on the left of the picture is Butte and the other blossoming row is All Blue. We've been very successful with the seed we've purchased from you.

Snoqualmie WA

WPF Replies.

     Beautiful plants. You have a green thumb.


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