Issue of The Seed Piece:
Bridgewater Town Meeting.
Yes We Have Seed Potatoes.
Recipe: Shepherd's Pie.
Special Offer: FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic
Potato Blossom Festival.
Mailbox: Trust Potato Coincidence
Bridgewater Town Report.
Elden Bradbury on Oliver tractor pulling a Thomas Potato Windrower.
Circa 1947. Owl
brand belonged to Bradbury Brothers.`
New England towns hold their Town Meetings every
March. And Bridgewater,
Population 610, of course follows suit. The Town Report comes out prior
Meeting detailing the state of important Town finances, for budget
purposes, like the Cemetery Fund (Balance $2780.57), the Library Fund
$3020.00) and the Ball Field Fence Reserve Account (Balance $678). Also
is the Town Clerk's Report documenting 2011 Births (7), Deaths (6) and
One of those six Bridgewater
2011 was that of 93-year-old iconic local potato farmer Elden Bradbury
last Fall during digging. Well, not only did Elden grace
of this year's Town Report, but our Maine Tales story "Remembering
Eldon" which we wrote for our October 18 Seed Piece Edition was
included in this year's Town Report
as a tribute to this leading citizen. Here's the
"Remembering Elden" article in case you missed it.
& Megan Gerritsen
|Yes We Have
That is the answer to
asked question we hear a lot this time of year. All winter long we
the crop of organic seed potatoes which we grew here on Wood Prairie
year, harvested last Fall and have kept in our on-farm underground
storage at a crisp 38ºF through the winter. We budget out the
as best we can so that whenever you order, from September through the
July, you will have the best chance of getting just the specific
are looking for. This Spring we still have good quantities of
varieties available for your immediate shipping. In stock varieties
Finn Apple Fingerling, Swedish
Click here for our Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes.
Plenty of Seed
Potatoes Left. Yukon
Gold is one among many varieties of our Wood Prairie organic seed
potatoes which we
still have in stock in quantities of from one pound to 1000 pounds.
NDSU Organic Seed Potato
Source Evaluation Research Now Available
As reported in a recent Seed
North Dakota State University has been
conducting annual Seed Source Evaluation research for several
years. The first
published results from 2008
showed that the organic seed
potatoes grown by Wood Prairie Farm outperformed those of the
competition in all important categories.
Now, the Seed Source Evaluation results for 2009
have been made available by NDSU.
Results indicate that
Wood Prairie organic seed potatoes again came out on top with dramatic
superiority demonstrated over the competition in the
are nuanced because of several anomalies that year.
Towards season end, the entire potato trial died down prematurely due
to brown spot (Alternaria alternata
Additionally, an early Spring allowed planting 10-14 days earlier than
occurred in either 2008 or 2009. This early planting decision
left insufficient time for our typically dormant-by-design Yukon Gold
seed to be warmed out of dormancy and become adequately conditioned for
growth prior to planting. The result of the slow start/early die back
combination was a preponderance of moderately sized tubers which did
not receive sufficient time bulk up and graduate from the "B"
(undersize) tuber category to that of full-size tubers.
This excellent on-going NDSU
research demonstrates the tremendous value of multi-year trialing which
allows the discernment of performance patterns amidst the 'normal'
year-to-year growing season variations.
Here for Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes.
Good Seed. Nature's
lbs lamb shoulder (or beef), trimmed and cut into 1/2" cubes
medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 c beef stock or water
T worcestershire sauce
T finely chopped rosemary leaves
T finely chopped thyme leaves
tsp freshly grated nutmeg
and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
large Butte potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and quartered
2 T of the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add one-third of the
lamb or beef and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes. Transfer lamb to a
plate and repeat the process two more times, using 2 T of the butter
each batch. Add onion and carrots to pot, reduce heat to medium, and
cook until softened, scraping up any browned bits, 3-4 minutes. Return
lamb or beef and its juices to pot along with flour and cook, stirring
frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in stock or water, worcestershire,
rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil
and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about
40 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer, stirring often, until thickened,
about 35 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in peas and set aside.
put potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a
boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes.
Drain and add 6 T of butter, half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste.
Mash smooth with a potato masher.
oven to 375 F. Transfer meat and vegetable mixture to a 2-quart
casserole dish. Top evenly with mashed potatoes. Cut remaining 2 T
butter into small cubes; scatter over potatoes. Bake until golden brown
and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
One of our family's favorites. Megan.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Offer: FREE Wood
Organic Potato Blossom Festival
What could be better than a patch
of vibrant potato plants with a beautiful rainbow of colored potato
enjoy during the summer followed by a delicious harvest of colorful
the dinner table? Our Potato Blossom Festival delivers all that and
your chance to earn a FREE Wood Prairie Farm Organic Potato Blossom Festival
Collection ($19.95 value)
with your next purchase of $55 or more. FREE Organic
Potato Blossom Festival offer ends Tuesday, May 15.
use Promo Code WPF 1120. Your order and FREE Organic Potato Blossom
Festival must ship by 5/22/12. Offer may not be combined with
offers. Please call or click today!
Click here for Wood Prairie Farm Organic Vegetable Seed
Mailbox: Trust Potato Coincidence Cost Ear to Ground.
Trust Organic Family Farmers.
your farmers, know your food. I would trust my small local farmers
whose farms I have visited above some huge corporate "farm" thousands
Most folks are not able to visit a farm. And some that do don't have
enough background to know which pertinent questions to ask of the
farmer. Our farm has been certified organic for 30 years, long before
2002 when Congress had USDA establish the National Organic Program. I
call organic 'transparent' because the same legal regulations and
standards which all certified organic farmers adhere to, is there for
all eaters and the entire world to see. I have served as a volunteer on
our local organic MOFGA Certification Committee for over 20 years. My
experience there taught me that the assurance to consumers which
organic certification provides is both valuable and necessary. The
words 'natural' and 'local' have no legal nor agreed upon definition.
Therefore, one can find instances where the terms are misused. Despite
what biotech would have us believe GMO products are not 'natural'. In
grocery stores here in northern Maine, I have seen marked as 'local':
sweet corn, squash and apples ground in southern New England and
Years ago the organic community invented the
organic certification system to protect its eaters from fraud and to
protect its honest farmers from unfair competition due to an unlevel
playing field. I believe the same need still exists today. To me there
are three important criteria: Organic, family-scale and local. I can
cite examples of local food I would not want to feed my family. And we
do want our food dollars going to other family organic farms, not a Big
Ag corporation who has bought themselves a seat a the organic table.
'Know your farmer' is a good concept but not always feasible, for
example, when one is traveling or when one is new to the good food
world and unequipped to differentiate the nuances. For us organic
certification is part of our commitment
to making organic a permanent fixture in the food landscape for all
time and everyone.
Potatoes & Moisture.
I'm so used to trying to keep all water away from my stored potatoes, I
have developed a superstition that I should not plant potatoes in the
rain. What's your opinion on that one? I'm greatful for any advice you
I hope your season is happy and drier than last year! All my best for
your family and farm.
Moderation is best of course. Storage potatoes need sufficiently cool
and moist air (38-40ºF and 90% humidity) so that moisture is not pulled
out of the tubers and physiological aging is minimized. Planted seed
potatoes obviously contain moisture in the seed piece but we've seen
rare, extremely dry Springs (1995 comes to mind) where the dry soil
sucks moisture out of the seed pieces and causes shriveling and that
On the other hand too much water - saturated
Spring soils like Maine has been getting of late - can actually
suffocate potatoes and cause the seed to rot. Since wound healing does
not occur at temperatures below 45ºF - important for callousing over
the cut seed surface - we like to play it safe and let the soil
temperature (taken at 4" soil depth at 7AM) rise to 50ºF before we
plant. Extended cold and wet soil create conditions that can allow
colonization by pathogenic fungi resulting in seed rot.
Greensprouting our seed potatoes also helps us
in this process of protecting our crop. We work for and like fast
sprout emergence because as soon as the potato plants pop up through
the soil surface they benefit form the sun's ray and develop a markedly
improved defense against external parasitic forces out to colonize.
an article for "Organic Week" in the Scientific American about feeding
the world. Their premise is that Organics can't feed us and supply the
goods we need for the future. I disagree. I think that you would be the
perfect person to give comments on it!
heard about the Scientific American piece, but in the midst of
planting, have not read it. Oddly, a similarly themed piece recently
appeared in Nature. Some thoughts.
1.) An article in Harpers ('Let
Them Eat Cash' June 2009) asserts that with current food production
capability the world could feed a population twice what we currently
2.) Our 'modern' farm production
and food system is energy intensive and unsustainable and will
destabilize as energy prices rise.
3.) As an organic farmer our
goal is to produce, with the least environmental impact, the highest
quality food and seed for our family and our customers. researches at
University of Maine and USDA Ag Research Service have documented that
our Wood Prairie Farm yields are at least as high as those found in
conventional production. To our mind, more significant than simplistic
measurement of yield, however, is the high level of nutrient density
found in well-grown organic food. When we're discussing feeding the
world's people over the long term we should use sophisticated
measurements which matter such as nutrition per acre and environmental
impact vs. crude tonnage with environmental impacts externalized.
If we truly hold foremost
the welfare of the world's bottom 25% poorest and least food secure
citizens, then ahead of the corporate North's expensive proprietary
seed and technology, lies the reality that the organic farming's best
management practices taught and adopted will do far more to empower
those folks to end hunger and gain food sovereignty than all the
inputs from the corporate culture of death.
5.) Organic can feed the world.
Britain's Soil Association conducted an exhaustive review of all
research that makes claims about the global productive capacity of
organic agriculture. "Available data on yields suggests that organic
farming does have the potential to produce enough food to feed the
world." Read more below.
Cost of Contamination.
I am a student and a supporter of organic farming. I am researching the
regulation of Organic farms and their crops concerning GMO seeds and
their contamination. And I have a few questions for you.
is the estimated cost, to your knowledge, of the damage of
contamination of organic farms?
much will organic farms have to pay to replenish their crops from
contaminates and pulling their contaminated food from the market?
what do you think are the steps that have to be taken to stop this
cross contamination of pure seeds and GMO?
I doubt anyone knows the
answers to the first two questions you ask.
Contaminated organic farmers are reluctant to admit contamination
because they fear being pursued for patent infringement by the holder
of the transgenic technology causing the invisible pollution.
Transgenic contamination is of an unrecallable nature. Contamination of
organic seed extinguishes its value as organic seed for the organic
marketplace. The contaminated loss of organic seed is permanent and
beyond financial measure because it represents the loss of
irreplaceable unique locally adapted genetic material.
We must win our OSGATA et al v. Monsanto lawsuit so that family farmers
will not be liable for patent infringement should they become
contaminated by Monsanto seed. Once this protection is in place farmers
suffering economic loss due to contamination may use the courts to try
and recover for damages. The situation at present allows the transgenic
companies to pollute with impunity and the organic community bears the
It's not fair and we are prepared to fight.
Ear to Ground.
Gerritsen shares the coolest food safety stuff, especially on the
subject of Monsanto. He is an an organic seed grower in northern Maine
part of the lawsuit OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Most things I post that are
Monsanto oriented come from Jim. If you want an ear to the ground on
this important subject, Jim is the guy to listen to. Thanks, Jim, for
all you do.
for your support.
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm