Wood Prairie Farm

Mike Michaud and Jim touring Wood Prairie Farm
Wood Prairie Moose.
Mother and two offspring seen yesterday morning from out our front door.

Farming Season Comes To a Close.
  With daytime temperatures now mostly in the 30's, the farming season on Wood Prairie Farm has come to an end. Yesterday we chisel plowed our last field just ahead of the ground freezing over for winter. Come April we'll begin to thaw out and the ridging effect of the chiseling will allow the sun's rays to more effectively warm and dry the ground next Spring.   This practice is especially important for our early planted crops like the grains and potatoes.  
   But the work goes on. Our new Holiday Catalog is in the mail and soon will be in your mailbox.  Check out our new products!  And November Potato Samplers will arrive in time for Thanksgiving.  
  Megan and I are advisers to a USDA-funded New England Organic Bread Wheat Project that Univ of Maine and Univ of Vermont are jointly working on.  One hundred years ago wheat was grown in New England. But not much since then as production has moved west. A few of us have been growing organic wheat in the last thirty years. Yet there remains continued need for variety selection and identification of improved agronomic practices in order to grow and mill really excellent bread wheat. This can be a challenge in New England's climate.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wood Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter
    This Issue:

  Last week Megan and I joined a group of twenty-two farmers, millers and researchers from Maine and Vermont who toured organic farms, mills and research facilities across Denmark in order to bring home the organic wheat lessons they have learned. Denmark is probably ten years ahead of the United States in terms of organic production and organic research and in development of their own local organic grain system.
 Our new friends in Denmark were open, hospitable and helpful. Their success and their example have given us confidence that we can meet our goal of viable organic wheat growing throughout New England. An introductory article on the organic scene in Denmark is in this issue of the Seed Piece.  It will be joined by future newsletter and blog articles.
Jim & Megan

Click here to go to Wood Prairie Home Page

Recipe: Sunburst Carrot Salad.

1 Bunch of
Chantenay carrots
1 Medium Parsnip
   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
   Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 Green Chile (serrano), deveined and minced
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1 Cup cilantro, chopped
1 Cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted

Wash the carrots and parsnip. Use a vegetable peeler to shave carrots and parsnips into wide ribbons.

Heat a big splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the vegetable ribbons. Saute for 30 seconds or so - barely long enough to take the raw edge and a bit of crunch off the carrots and parsnip. Quickly stir in the chiles and lemon zest. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro, about one tablespoon of lemon juice, and then most of the pepitas. Taste. Add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed. Garnish with remaining pepitas.

Serves 4 to 6.

From the kitchen of Angie Wotton. 

      Homemade Onion Rings
      Sunburst Carrot Salad.
      Photo by Angie Wotton

Click here for the Wood Prairie Fresh Vegetables Page

Arm full of Parsnips
           FREE Wood Prairie Garden Seed Packets

Special Offer: FREE Organic Garden Seed.

     It's never too early for a gardener to start planning your next garden! And we can help with this Special FREE Offer. Receive 5 (five) FREE packets of Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed ($16.25 value) - Your Choice of Varieties - with your next purchase of $55 or more.
     Please use promo code WPF 1011. Order must ship by 12/08/10. FREE Garden Seed Offer expires 11/11/10 and can not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!


Click here for the Wood Prairie Garden Seed Page

Organic Denmark.
Denmark is a beautiful pastoral country the size of Kentucky with a population of 5 million people. Of the entire land area an incredible 55% is under cultivation which is probably the world's record.  95% of the drinking water is ground water so there is big concern by citizens and government over nitrates and pesticides.  This comes into play with the 25 million pigs in Denmark (think Danish ham). Virtually all conventional pigs are raised in confinement and their waste is carefully regulated. Dairy is another big agricultural activity.
   Organic farming occurs on 6.3% of the farmland which is two or three times the percent of organic land in the US.  Organic sales represent 7% of all retail sales and organic products are easily found throughout the grocery stores we visited. Organic dairy is the biggest organic crop representing 50-60% of total organic sales.
   Denmark was covered by glaciers which melted 14,000 years ago.  People arrived 9000 years ago and subsisted as fishers and hunters before transitioning to farming. On one farm we visited in the south next to Germany people have been farming in the area for 6000 years.  This gives a whole new meaning to the concept of sustainable agriculture.


Question and Answer :
 For a Man's House is His Castle.
 There was a national news program I watched last week that said in one Indiana county there were only 6 soybean seed sorters known because Monsanto was buying them up. In addition, these remaining self-seeding farms were being threatened with a lawsuit from Monsanto claiming that neighboring farms were all growing soybean with their GMO engineered seed and mixing was certain. Since Monsanto holds patents on their seed, the resulting soybean crops from non-Monsanto farms were in violation of their intellecutal property.

Let's hope informed people make informed choices and the word keeps getting out.

From King Harrys to Potato Rolls to Monsanto you guys are much more than a catalog.
Holliston, MA

Hi BH,
        Thanks for writing.
   For hundreds of years English Common Law protected as sacred one's safety and refuge in one's own home (click here for interesting background).  Similarly Common Law required farmers to restrain their livestock to their side of the fence to prevent harm to neighbors. Good neighbors make good fences and good fences make good neighbors. Monsanto is not a good neighbor. Their GMO pollution contaminates innocent neighbors.  Monsanto consideres itself to be above the law. But the fact is they are not.
       There is a day of reckoning coming for Monsanto. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.


Click here for the Wood Prairie Home Page

Crafting The Best Farm Bill.
     Behind the scenes, work on the 2012 Farm Bill (scheduled for adoption in 2011) has been taking place all year. I am President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn (OSGATA) and what follows is a Farm Bill letter sent to Washington by OSGATA.
     Dear House Agriculture Committee,
I am an organic farmer in northern Maine and President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, based in Portland OR. OSGATA is a national membership trade organization. It’s mission is to develop, protect and promote the organic seed trade and its growers, and to assure that the organic community has access to excellent quality seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. I am writing to urge your Committee to designate development of the organic industry as a top priority for not only the 2012 Farm Bill but also for all future agricultural policy.

click here to read entire letter

Farmer's Share.
Here in New England we have a brand new chapter of the hundred-year-old National Farmers Union called New England Farmers Union. I'm on the NEFU Board of Advisors and we believe NFU's progressive policies for agriculture are good for farmers and good for the country. Part of NFU's good work is that they regularly update and publish this eye-opening Farmer's Share of Retail Food Dollar. And please consider joining NFU or NEFU which welcomes all farmers and non-farmers as members.  Jim
click here for the NEFU homepage

                                                                       Click Here for the Rest of the Chart

Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm