Wood Prairie Farm

 Wood Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter    In This Issue of The Seed Piece:    
   Organic News and Commentary
                  The Change in Winter.
           Friday, March 18 2011                                    Recipe: Carrot Cake Muffins.

         Ready to Go. Wood Prairie Farm underground potato storage


The Change in Winter.

      Keeping up with grading potatoes and having them ready for shipping is always a challenge. It’s pretty likely that we are the only ones in northern Maine who wishes our winter were longer than it actually is so we could keep up with the flow.   And this year has been extra busy for us ever since way back in the Fall.
     Now among my duties as President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn (www.osgata.org) is that of keeping in touch with our members and keeping up with seed industry trends.  The OSGATA membership is comprised of organic seed farmers, organic seed companies, organic seed professionals and organic seed supporters. The OSGATA mission is to protect and develop the organic seed trade. Last week I spoke to a member who reported that after just so-so moderate growth last year their company’s seed sales are up 30% this year over last, rivaling the record seed boom years of 2008 and 2009. Gardening at every scale is hot and so is organic seed.
     At the same time this good growth is happening conventional agriculture is getting bigger and bigger.  Conventional seed companies are becoming more consolidated.   And the ag corporate industrial complex along with their cheerleaders in government with more gusto try to shove GMO seed and food down the world’s throats.
     Well, here’s how we interpret these seemingly conflicting trends in agriculture.  Home and market gardeners are getting serious about growing food and their hunger for good organic seed challenges the available supply. This reality means new opportunities for family farmers willing to dedicate themselves to growing excellent organic seed.
     Focus on good food is intense. Farmers markets abound. Opportunities for family farmers has never been greater. When we grow food for our famililes or buy direct from a local organic family farmer we know with certainty what we are getting. Good food is becoming the leading environmental issue of our time.  American consumers are demanding with stunning clarity that GMO food MUST be labeled - 96% according to a recent MSNBC poll. The entrenched corporate and government power elite are blind to the revolution going on all around them.  They need to do their homework. They are on the wrong side of history.
   Spend your dollars where they will do good.  Remind your representatives at all levels of government that you eat and that you vote. Live right. Do good. We the people will ultimately prevail against the forces that would oppress us.

Jim & Megan

Recipe: Carrot Cake Muffins.

2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup chopped pecans or raisins

1 1/2 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 375 degees. Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix together with dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in carrots and pecans or raisins. 

Bake 25 minutes. Makes 12 - 16 muffins. Megan.

Source: NY Times online

Click here for Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetables

         Carrot Cake Muffins.
         Photo by Angela Wotton


Special Offer: FREE Organic Potato 
                                           Blossom Festival.

     Our new Smart Bag containers allow you to plant your garden any place you like. With this Special Offer you’ll be able to grow wonderful potatoes anywhere and enjoy double barreled aesthetics.   While the potatoes are growing you’ll enjoy a pretty rainbow of potato blossoms. Then come harvest time simply tip over the Smart Bags to expose a bounty of beautiful and delicious colored potatoes.
     When you purchase three of our 25-gallon-size Smart Bags (you’ll find a picture in ‘Our Mailbox’ section) for the discounted price of $53.85, we’ll toss in FREE one of our popular Organic Potato Blossom Festivals ($19.95 value).  Every year we send out thousands of these Festivals to happy gardeners all across America.  Now you can join in the fun wherever you are. No backyard needed! 
     FREE Potato Blossom Festival offer ends Monday March 21.  Please use Promo Code WPF 1021.  FREE Potato Blossom Festival offer may not be combined with other offers.  Please call or click today!


Our Mailbox: Growing in Containers.

Q.     I have never grown potatoes and would like to try. I found your site and it is wonderful! I would like to try Yukon gold and plan to plant in a garbage can due to very limited space. How much Yukon gold should I worder for one can? I live in zone 6, when is the best time to plant?

Delmar MD

.    For years folks have been growing in innovative containers like old whiskey barrels or your idea, garbage cans.  New space age materials like the fabric in the Smart Bags that we sell have helped propel container gardening to a much higher level of popularity and success.
     To insure that you've got adequate fertility use a good organic fertilizer such as our Organic potato fertilizer. Mix into your soil mix.
     For a standard 35-gallon garbage can, four seed potato pieces is about the right amount.  In that way a one pound bag of seed potatoes will yield 8-10 seed pieces or enough for two garbage cans or two Smart Bags. Place 8 inches of soil in the bottom of the container and space out the seed and  cover with 2" additional soil. Once the plants are 6 inches high start to add soil mix taking care to cover as few leaves as possible.  When you are finished have 15-18 inches of soil in the container to cover the developing tubers.
     Right now is a good time to plant in Maryland.  
     Here’s a good informative article on growing potatoes in containers written by AP garden writer Dean Fosdick.

     Here are some helpful Rules of Thumb:

* One pound of our Seed Potato Plants 10 feet of row or 10 'hills'.

* One pound of our Organic Potato Fertilizer feeds 10-12 feet of row or 10-12 'hills'.

* 15 Gallon Smart Bags are big enough for 4 plants.

* 25 Gallon Smart Bags are big enough for 5 plants.

*Use 1/10 lb of our fertilizer per plant.

     An example of what to do with this info: If you use a 25 gallon smart bag plan to plant five seed pieces in it and mix 1/2 lb fertilizer (5 x 0.10lb) into the soil mix.
     Here's  a link to a fun 3 1/2 minute YouTube video by our friend Kerry Michaels that simply and quickly shows you  how to plant potatoes in containers. Jim.

Growing Organic Bread Wheat in New England and Beyond.


       Farmers and researchers from Maine and Vermont are working together on a USDA funded four year project to help create an organic bread wheat system for northern New England.  We are advisors to the project.  The Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener newspaper has posted online the article we wrote about one of the farms we visited on our group research tour of Denmark last October.
      The results of Organic Bread Wheat 2010 Variety Trials are now complete and posted on the web.  The reports cover both Winter Wheats and Spring Wheats at locations in both Maine and Vermont. Among the varieties tested were our Roblin and FBC Dylan both of which performed well.
     Click here for your FREE downloadable copies of these readable excellent reports.
     Did you know that on a 60’ x 100’ plot of land you could grow enough wheat for your family’s yearly needs (300 lbs) from only 25 lbs of seed?  You can and folks are doing it!
     Here's a helpful bulletin from our friends in Vermont that will help you get started growing grain: "Spring Cereal Grains: Getting Ready to Plant". Jim & Megan.

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