Our friend Congressman Mike Michaud (D - Maine 2nd
District) and Jim at Wood Prairie Farm last week discussing farming in
Mike is a former paper mill worker from the northern Maine
of Millinocket at the foot of Katahdin. He ably
represents the northern three-quarters of Maine - the largest
Congressional district east of the Mississippi.
Jim thanked Mike for joining 55 other members of
in signing onto Senator Leahy's and Rep. DeFazio's letter to USDA
Secretary Vilsack urging USDA to retain regulated status on GMO Roundup
Ready Alfalfa. Click here to read that letter and
else signed on.
September 16, 2010
Prairie Farm Seed Piece
Our kids woke up excited and early this morning and for good
With today's half-school-day Potato Harvest Break begins and
Wood Prairie potato harvest begins in earnest. Northern Maine
of the last areas in the country which still closes its schools every
Fall, allowing school kids the opportunity to help local farmers get
their potato crop in. This tradition dates back to the second
War. Because of their work experience, for many decades
Aroostook County kids have earned
and enjoyed an unparalleled reputation as hard workers. We've
believed that our kids learn more from their three weeks in the potato
fields than time spent inside the classroom walls. Working
together builds family and community and those are life long lessons.
Jim & Megan
read Jim's essay "The
Potato Culture of Aroostook County Maine USA"
please click here.
Presque Isle, Maine. Circa 2000
Amid the GMO (genetically modified organisms or
gene-spliced food) kafuffle one of the strategic propositions advanced
by gene-splice proponents is the bald claim that GMO crops
"substantially equivalent" to their non-GMO counterparts. Back
Reagan 80s, through
razzmatazz, revolving-door-federal-regulators were
dazzled by confident biotech cheerleaders to set the bar pretty low.
Now here in Maine, back about ten years ago we had
attended debate on GMOs at our local college. One debater, a distinguished
Professor and opponent of GMOs
offered a memorable explanation of the fallacy of Substantial
Equivalence. Back then, you will remember, it was
the Pre -
9/11 Era. Bill Clinton was President, and Billy Graham was on
evangelical trail. To illustrate this shakey concept, the
Professor took to comparing these two men:
The Professor continued: "Now under the principle of
Equivalence we can see great commonality between these
two men. In fact after careful analysis it is clear that,
are substantially equivalent. Thus we can
confidently proclaim that our research demonstrates with clarity that
Bill Clinton and Billy Graham are one and the
And the laughter followed.
Bill & Bill.
have the name of Bill,
are skilled public
are influential on public
comb their hair back over
are very affable fellows.
Apply superficial criteria -
achieve superficial deductions. The
illustration goes a long
way towards explaining how our regulators, weak kneed when it comes to
aggressive tactics of the likes of Monsanto, have been bamboozled and
the biotech industry. If a GMO strawberry, with gene-spliced
material from a frost resistant flounder is "just like" a regular
flawed logic goes, then there's no need to require labeling.
Avoidance of labeling has been biotech's crowning
They know that mandatory labeling would be biotech's kiss of
Well, hereabouts in a democracy, information and transparency
sacred tools that folks can't live without. Every day we vote
with our wallets, we spend money where it will support our
community. We don't take kindly to paternalism that muddles
this responsibility whether that paternalism be governmental or
industrial, or in
this case a cockeyed cross of the two. Jim
Don't miss the fun! Mark your calendars now and
attend the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn. 34th Annual Common
Ground Country Fair in Unity Maine on Friday, Saturday, Sunday,
September 24-26, 2010. Each year over 50,000 fair goers
attend this event, which with
extensive agricultural exhibits
CGCF is recognized as the largest organic gathering in North
America. If you have never been, you owe it to your family to
make plans to do so either now or in the near future. The
Prairie crew will be getting that Sunday off, rain or shine.
will be giving the CGCF keynote speech on Sunday morning at 11 am.
His talk is entitled "Observations from Thirty-five Years of
Watching the Maine Organic Community Grow." Click
for details on the Common Ground Fair.
FREE Red Russian
is a banner year for our Red Russian Garlic and you can earn yourself a
FREE bag of this delicious treat with our Special Offer.
purchase a 5 Month Potato Sampler of the Month Club membership for your
family or as a Gift to a friend or loved one and receive a FREE 1 lb.
bag of Red Russian Garlic ($18.95 value). Better yet, stock
earn two 1 lb bags of Red Russian Garlic when you order an 8 Month
Potato Sampler Club. Club membership can begin whenever you
this offer is especially ideal for gift giving.
use Promo Code
WPF XXXXX. Offer expires Friday 9/24/10. FREE
Offer cannot be combined with any other offers.
Potato Buttermilk Rolls
call for buttermilk but since I can't find any without additives I
substituted 1/2 milk and 1/2 yogurt. They turned out great!
textured potato (I used Elba),
about 1/2 pound, peeled and
buttermilk or 3/4 c milk with 3/4 c yogurt
active dry yeast
all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
unsalted butter, at room temperature
saucepan, combine the potato and water and bring to a boil. Cook until
potato is soft - about 10 minutes.
the cooked potato cubes and water into a large bowl and mash the potato
cubes with a fork. Stir in the buttermilk and let cool to warm (110
degrees F). Dissolve the yeast in the potato mixture and let stand 5
minutes. Add the flour, sugar, salt and butter and stir with a wooden
spoon until a shaggy mass forms. Scrape the dough out onto a floured
work surface. Invert the bowl over the dough and let it rest for 5-10
minutes. Uncover the dough and knead until it is smooth and elastic,
dusting the work surface with flour to keep the dough from sticking,
about 5 minutes.
the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl, and
cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm,
draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 hour.
Buttermilk Rolls. Photo by Angie Wotton
dough and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Cut it in half with a
sharp knife. Cut each half into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of
dough against the work surface into a ball. Place the balls on a sheet
pan lined with parchment paper. Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel
and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 15-20 minutes.
a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375 F. Lightly dust
the tops of the rolls with a little flour. Bake until they are puffed
and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.
here for the Wood Prairie Grains Page
New England Farmers Union -
Get FREE Seed Potatoes
New England Farmers Union will have a booth at this year's
Common Ground Country Fair. If you sign up to become an NEFU
during the Fair you'll receive a FREE gift of a bag of Wood Prairie
Farm Organic Seed Potatoes.
NEFU is the grass roots organization with
driven policy that works to protect and enhance the economic well-being
and quality of life of family farmers, fishermen,
foresters and consumers throughout New England. Founded in
NEFU is the youngest charter member of the NFU (National
Union), the 108- year-old advocacy organization based
All family farmers, gardeners
consumers are urged to join NEFU.
Jim serves on the NEFU Board of Advisors and
the progressive policies of NEFU / NFU can help bring about change
desperately needed in American agriculture to keep family farmers on
the land. Jim will help staff the NEFU booth at CGCF on
Sunday Sept. 26.
Please stop by, join up and say "Hi".
here to learn more about
File Another Lawsuit to Stop USDA & Monsanto's Roundup Ready
week Organic Seed Alliance, Center for Food Safety, and Earth Justice
filed another suit in Federal District Court challenging USDA APHIS
(Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in their brazen attempt to
issue permits allowing the immediate planting of a GMO sugar beet seed
crop. The APHIS move outrageously ignores a court decision
than one month old that made GMO sugar beet planting illegal.
Earth Justice attourney Paul Achitoff commented "APHIS's
issueance of these permits blatantly violates well established law and
flouts the Court's recent rulings. It has become Monsanto's
puppet." Click here to read the story on the
Click here for a good background
from the Atlantic.
and Answer : Feeling
questions: We planted mid-June, should I be able to feel
something in the ground now? And if so, how deep? And should
soak the beds before feeling around? The vines look good,
got a little burnt after attempting foliar feeding but are on the
rebound with newer greener growth.
Surf City NJ
by now you should be able to just gently dig into the hill 3-5 inches
down and feel around for the developing tubers. If you are
careful and re-cover up the hill, the tubers will not get separated
from the stolons and will keep growing and will keep sizing up.
In fact this tuber peeking is also a practical way for
new potatoes. Rather than dig up the whole hill, carefully dig into the
hill and harvest the tubers large enough for your need and let the
smaller ones continue to grow. For this extra effort you'll
bigger yield. Jim
here for the Wood Prairie Home Page
Alert - Senate Food Safety Vote Imminent - Call Senators Today!
Senate may vote as early as today on monumental Food Safety
legislation. Support is needed for several amendments that
mitigate serious harm to family farmers. Call your Senators
here for details from OFRF.
easy to call
and type in your zip code. Click on your Senator's name, and
the contact tab for their phone number. You can also call the
Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator's office:
202-224-3121. Once connected ask to speak to the legislative
person responsible for agriculture. If they are unavailable
voice mail message. Be sure to include your name and phone
& Megan Gerritsen
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(800)829-9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm