Wood Prairie Farm

Mejnerts Molle.
Niels Mejnertsen (second from right, no hat) explaining the workings of his organic mill in Denmark. See article Growing Organic Bread Wheat in Denmark in this newsletter.

Winter: It Could be Worse.
     An inch of snow is forecast here in northern Maine for tomorrow and the potential for a major Maine snowstorm on Thanksgiving has popped up on the long range forecast. Back in the '70s and '80s we would get our first significant snowfall Thanksgiving week and that snow would stay on the ground until April. But in the last ten to fifteen years Fall temperatures have been milder and the weather between Thanksgiving and Christmas has fluctuated back and forth between snow, sleet and rain.
     As of a couple days ago our firewood is now safe under cover. After school our son Caleb is tending to the last job of putting away equipment and cleaning up the yard so that when he plows snow there is plenty of room to pile up the snow banks. Of course this is necessary so that the trucks can get in to cart away your orders. A few years ago we set a record here with almost 200 inches of snow and by March the piles of snow were something to marvel at.
     Years ago our oldest boy Peter then three years old had pieced together that we plowed the snow out of our way all Winter and that we planted potatoes on bare ground come Spring. Turns out, that March he was fretting and powerful worried about how much work we had ahead of us to plow all that snow off all our fields so we could get to farming. Snowmelt comes and goes pretty quick to northern Maine the second half of April and eleven months before as a two year old that blink-of-the-eye annual event hadn't registered with Peter.
     In Maine when it comes to contemplating our long winters we do like to comfort ourselves by remembereing that somewhere someplace somebody else has it worse than we do. So we hope you'll enjoy as much as we did this beautiful pictorial link to the Ten Highest Altitude Villages and Cities in the World (click here).

Jim & Megan

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wood Prairie Farm Seed Piece Newsletter
    This Issue:

Recipe: Roasted Fall Vegetables.

Homemade Onion Rings
          Roasted Fall Vegetables
          Photo by Megan Gerritsen

 2 Red Bliss Beets
 2 Frost Sweet Parsnips
 5 Chantenay Carrots

      Wash, Peel and cut vegetables into 3/4" cubes or slices.

 Prepare a heavy roasting pan by layering vegetables one layer thick  and dotting with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter. Cover roasting pan with  foil.
      Roast in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, until vegetables are  tender.
      Dress with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with  sour cream or Penzey's Ranch Salad Dressing.

 From the kitchen of Wood Prairie Farm.

Arm full of Parsnips
         Sweet Red Bliss Beets.
         Under appreciated but delicious our organic beets are              a wonderful winter staple.

Special Offer: Buy Beets & Get FREE Wood Prairie Gift Cards.

     As winter sets in our cellars are chock full of organic potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, shallots and beets. Now here's your chance to stock up on our delicious organic beets for the winter and earn FREE Wood Prairie Gift Cards. Order a 20lbs bag of Sweet Red Bliss Beets and get a FREE $15 Gift Card! Order 50 lbs of Sweet Red Bliss Beets and get a FREE $30 Gift Card!
     Please use promo code WPF1012. Order must ship by 12/8/10. Free Gift Card offer expires 11/24/10 and can not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click here for Wood Prairie Red Bliss Beets 

Growing Organic Bread Wheat in Denmark.
A Profile: Viskingegaarden and Mejnerts Molle
Niels & Anna Mejnertsen, Svebolle, Denmark

Last month we were part of a university group from Maine and Vermont that toured organic farms and mills in Denmark.  The last issue of The Seed Piece introduced and provided background for this trip.  [Click here for that background.]

Jim & Megan

     One of the larger organic (“okologisk”) operations that we toured in Denmark in October 2010 was that of Niels & Anna Mejnertsen’s Viskingegaard in Svebolle about an hour’s drive west of Copenhagen.  Niels, 47 years old, and his wife Anna run this combination organic farm and organic grain mill (“Mejnerts Molle”) plus a sideline conventional confinement pig operation which has not yet converted to organic.
     The Mejnertsens have four children: 21 yr old Caspar is at ag college, 20 yr old Peter is at business college in Copenhagen and a 17 and 13 yr old are still in school. Eight employees help them; many have long tenure of 10, 15, 17 years and the relationships are more like that of extended family.

Soil to Mouth
     Viskingegaard is a well-designed vertically integrated operation (“Soil to Mouth”) where significant value is added to home-grown organic grain crops through on-farm milling and savvy marketing.  It has a strong direct marketing component which includes a modest on-farm store, internet sales, and deliveries to stores and “canteens” (cafeterias) where progressive businesses provide healthy on-site workday meals for their employees.  They had us watch a newly completed 30 minute professionally produced video about Viskingegaarden which adeptly displayed all the steps in farming, growing, milling and using their organic crops – including Anna demonstrating the correct use of the bread machines which they sell to their customers.
     “Brod for Livet” (Bread for Life) could be called their farm motto and it is embroidered onto their shirts.

Click here for Full Article
   Skiold Stone Mill.
   Two of Niel's Six Skiold Flour Mills

Click here for Wood Prairie Organic Stone Ground Flour

S 510 Food Safety Bill Action Imminent! Call Your Senators Today!

     The Senate voted 57-27 late Thrusday evening Nov 18 to move forward on the food safety bill and accepted a compromise on the Tester Amendment (Sen. Jon Tester is a family scale organic farmer in Montana) protecting family scale operations with less than $500,000 sales. This bill will offer protection to family scale farmers and assure consumers who want access to good food. While not perfect, this bill needs to pass at this time. Call your Senators today to fight back the pressure being mounted by Big Ag to kill the legislation and let the FDA run rough shod over family farmers. Here is background info that you need to know from our friends at Food Democracy Now and National Sustainable Ag Coalition.


Politics, Small Farm Deal Stall Food Safety Bill

A Sustainable Agriculture Perspective on Food Safety

Question and Answer :
   Fine Points of Greensprouting.
Q.  Regarding greensprouting potatoes to inhibit apical dominance. Could a gardener instead just cut seed pieces and start them in individual pots indoors or in a cold frame and pinch back any vigorous sprout that looks like it's going to take over, then transplant the rooted seed pieces into the garden later?  Last spring I had some seed pieces left over and stuck them in 4" pots of potting mix, then used them to fill in spaces where potatoes didn't emerge from directly sown seed pieces in the garden. It worked pretty well, but I didn't compare yields between direct-seeded and transplanted plants. It seems like using transplants and nipping back an especially vigorous shoot here and there might be easier than getting the right temperatures at the right times for greensprouting.
Lincolnville, ME

A. I'd still go with the high temperature route. Much of the great value of green sprouting is attributable to the fact that secondary sprouts are promoted and apical sprout dominance is suppressed by that 70-75º F temperature. Conversely sprouting at low temperatures or in cool potted soil will maintain apical dominance and hurt overall results by maintaining suppression of the secondary sprouts. Maybe you could set the seed potatoes atop the refridgerator for that week of sprouting: near the ceiling it's relatively warm and it's certainly simple to do. And remember to drop the temperature down to 55º F after sprouts emerge and turn the lights on to green up tubers and sprouts for those last three weeks of conditioning.


Click here for the Wood Prairie Home Page

Monsanto's Round Up Brings Diseases and Death

     For many years we have been assured by Monsanto that their weed killer Round Up (active ingredient: glyphosate) is harmless. Now we know better. The vast majority of all GMO (gene-sppliced) crops have been genetically engineered ("Roundup Ready") to tolerate being sprayed by Roundup. Click here and read the report by the UK Institute of Science in Society that will knock your socks off.


FREE Commercial Potato Production in North America Handbook.

We know a good deal when we see one! Our friends at Potato Association of America have updated this great handbook. For your FREE copy of this downloadable 85 page potato handbook please click here.

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