Wood Prairie Farm                                                                                                                            In This Issue of The Seed Piece: 
 Seed Piece Newsletter                                                                                              Maine Tales: Old Enough to Pick.
Organic News and Commentary
                                                                                                    Recipe: Blueberry Yogurt Drop Scones.
 Saturday, September 10, 2011                                                                                                Special Offer: FREE Organic Seed Potatoes.                                                                                                                                                                   What Did I Miss? Hope, Truth and Precedent.
                                                                                                                                                                           Our Mailbox: Transgenic Bt Resistance.

Bound and Determined. 
Wood Prairie Farm potato harvest, 1994.

Maine Tales.                                           Old Enough to Pick.                                Bridgewater, Maine.  Circa 1994.

     The scene above  of 'picking potatoes' was captured by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson.  While this particular photo didn’t make it into their magazine like the one did of Megan and baby Caleb (click here for that photo and our Seed Piece Maine Tales article describing our Fall harvest with the National Geographic) it's always been a favorite of ours.  That blond-headed boy with that look of determination is our oldest, Peter, then just shy of four.
     Here in Aroostook County, potatoes have been serious business for 200 years. Best to learn the important things at an early age. A paint bucket is just common sense appropriate technology. A mismatched pair of gloves is something you might as well get used to because that’s how it’s going to be from here on out. We are many things in northern Maine but prissy we are not.  Good luck with your harvest.  Jim & Megan

Blueberry Yogurt Drop Scones
Photo by Angela Wotton

Recipe: Blueberry Yogurt Drop Scones


2 cups Wood Prairie Pancake Mix: Whole Wheat, Spelt or Oatmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon peel
¼ cup butter, cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until the texture of sand.
Mix together:
1 cup yogurt, plain or flavored, with:
1 egg.

Blend wet ingredients with dry, then fold in:
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes until lightly browned.  

Add to the Blueberries: ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup flax seed; or substitute half and half chopped cranberries, finely chopped apple, or other fruit.

Top before baking with cinnamon sugar if you like.

Adapted from a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com.
These are moist and delicious – they remind me of huge muffin tops.


Click here for Wood Prairie Organic Grains.

Special Offer. FREE Organic Seed Potatoes.

     This time of year as the days and nights grow cool, all we’re thinking about is potatoes and getting ready to get the crop under cover. In honor of our upcoming northern Maine Potato Harvest we have this Special Offer for you.  Earn a FREE 1# bag of organic Wood Prairie Seed Potatoes ($9.95 value) – your choice of any variety, either fingerling or non-fingerling – with your next purchase of $30 or more.
  Please use WPF Promo Code 1102.  FREE Wood Prairie Seed Potatoes must ship with your order, and order must ship by May 9, 2012.  Offer may not be combined with other specials. Offer ends Sat Sept 17, 2011.  Please call or click today!

Click here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Kitchen Potatoes section.

With Birke There's Hope.

What Did I Miss?
              Hope, Truth and Precedent.

     With lots going on we're using regular posts on our Facebook wall to keep you tuned into the Wood Prairie Organic Community. Here are some highlights that you won't want to miss. Jim & Megan.

     • Hope for Humanity Appearing Elusive To You? Then if you do nothing else today you MUST take five minutes and view this wonderful You Tube video of 11 year old Birke Baehr, representative of the Awake Generation.  Home-schooled Birke set to studying the industrial food system and GMOs and then came up with a riveting oral presentation. We guarantee that you will not want to miss Birke’s authentic and eloquent talk.

     • OSGATA v. Monsanto. Excellent article on our legal rebuttal to Monsanto’s motion to dismiss in our lawsuit challenging their transgenic patents. FoodFreedom quotes from our brief: “Over the past 30 years, Monsanto has extinguished the majority of independent seed companies in the course of growing its transgenic seed business.  Monsanto didn’t just patent transgenic seed; it embarked on a mission to destroy non-transgenic agriculture.” Read the full article here.

     • What We Said to the New York Times. We responded to a puff op-ed piece on transgenic/GMO agriculture in NYT by sending a letter-to-the-editor. They opted not to run our submission.  We promised you’d get a chance to read what we wrote one way or the other. Here’s that chance.

     • Major Precedent Established in Minnesota. In a landmark decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that letting damaging chemicals cross property lines constitutes trespass and that the offending polluter may be sued for damages. This ruling validates the assertion that people, including organic farmers, have a right to security on their farms and freedom from unwanted trespass and invasion by chemical (and transgenic) pollution. Story from Minneapolis Star-Tribune here.

     • European Court of Justice Issues Groundbreaking Ruling Against GMOs. This week the ECJ ruled that honey produced by farmers in Bavaria which was contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO corn pollen is not fit to be sold.  The ruling directly challenges the administrative abandonment of the policy of zero tolerance for GMOs that have not been authorized in the EU. Article in the UK’s Guardian.

     • Disappearance of Vegetables Varieties. Beautiful graphics in this chart of the ugly decline of available vegetable varieties in the eighty years following 1903. Hats off to National Geographic for their effective and sobering depiction. Please help reverse this trend by supporting independent family scale seed companies.

Please click here to become a Friend of Wood Prairie Farm on Facebook. Please show your support by 'Liking Us' and please do stay connected. Thanks! Jim.

Our Mailbox. Transgenic Bt Resistance.


Hi Folks,

With the stories about pests evolving resistance to transgenic Bt (thanks Monsanto), I am curious: how do organic farmers/gardeners use Bt, and what impact will this have on you if the pests evolve resistance?


San Diego, CA


Hi JR,

     I believe I can answer your question about Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt) in corn with a parallel illustration from the world of potatoes. The same principles apply to the different subspecies of Bt used to target different insects. I believe I read there are 800 different subspecies of the bacteria Bt growing in forest soils that have been identified. Some subspecies have been commercialized. Bti (israeli) controls mosquitos. Btk (kurstaki) controls lepidotera (larvae of moth and butterfly) and is widely used by organic farmers to control crop pests. This Bt is very important to organic farmers and is commonly used.
     In the mid-1990s Monsanto introduced to the market their "New Leaf" potatoes which were gene-spliced with Btt, the Bt subspecies (Bt tenebrionsis) effective at controlling Colorado Potato Beetle. For many years, when CPB pressure was high, organic farmers would spray Btt on the potato plants in the late afternoon. CPB would feed on the potato leaves and overnight ingest a lethal dose of the Btt bacterial stomach toxin which would immediately paralyze their gut and lead to CPB death within a day or two. As soon as the sun's rays got to shining the next morning the Btt would begin to break down rather rapidly and would be gone within maybe 48 hours of application.
     Normally, depending on CPB pressure and mean temperatures, we would spray Btt a second time, again in the late afternoon about seven days later in order to control larva that had hatched subsequent to our first Btt application. Again, kill took place overnight and again the Btt began to break down in the presence of sunlight that next morning. Importantly, since insect resistance to a toxin develops in direct correlation to length of exposure/interaction (more interaction equals faster development of resistance) we were grateful that Btt did its control job quickly and then disappeared.
     A typical potato variety grows for 120 days. In our organic potato field, CPB typically interacted with Btt for just 96 hours or 4 days out of the 120 days or 3.3% of the season. Monsanto had gene-spliced the Btt toxin into their "New Leaf" potatoes to control CPB.  That is, every cell of those "New Leaf" potato plants, including the tubers which people eat, expressed that bacterial toxin. Over the short term the "New Leafs" controlled CPB. However, it is important to understand that the "New Leaf" version of that 120 day potato variety expressed the Btt for all 120 days.  That means CPB interaction with transgenic Btt was all 120 days or 100% of the season.
     Resistance absolutely was predictable.  In fact, in April 1996 as a stakeholder I attended a USDA conference on Transgenic Bt Resistance held in Bethesda MD. The nation's leading entomologists were also in attendance. Their clear consensus was that transgenic Bt resistance, whether in potato ("New Leafs" were rejected by the market and removed from production around 2001), corn or cotton, was not a matter of whether, but a matter of when. So transgenic Bt resistence was predicted fifteen years ago. No one should claim surprise with new reports of transgenic Bt resistance.
     Once a population of insects becomes resistant to a material such as Bt, there is no going back: the material will never again work as a control. It is ruined for all.
     It seems that justice would require culpability for an entity that misuses a treasure taken from the commons, like Bt, and ruins it.  And most especially after they were warned at the start that their technology would result in this loss.


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