Friday November 22, 2013
Issue of The Seed Piece:
Our New Organic Patriotic Potato Container Growing Kit.
in Northern Maine the days are now short, the ponds have frozen over
and additional snow is in our forecast. Wood stoves are blazing all day
long now as we daily ship out Thanksgiving organic
orders and organic
to happy customers, everywhere and farmers and gardeners in the South
anxious for new organic seed to plant.
We are nearly caught up with orders and are able
your orders around immediately if you need delicious organic food for
your Thanksgiving celebration. Please do give us a call or order on th
web if we may help you.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
| Downeast Maine
Panel Discussion on GMO Food.
Last week we were invited to participate in a
discussion about GMO food at the University of Maine at
A coastal town in far Downeast Maine, Machias sits in a beautiful
corner of the State of Maine which we rarely get down to
Driving time was 3 hours south from Wood Prairie Farm. The panel had
three scientists from University of Maine and one organic farmer - Jim
from Wood Prairie Farm.
After the panel at the college we spent the night in Machias.
Then early the next morning we drove the two hours west to Bangor where
five of us from Wood Prairie Farm attended the long-awaited three-day
soils course offered by noted agronomist Dr Arden Andersen.
course was excellent and the room was filled with 110
Some were organic farmers, others sustainable farmers and yet others
were conventional farmers. Beyond those from nearby Maine and
England we met folks from Labrador, North Dakota and
Pennsylvania. Karin and Peter – two Wood Prairie Farm seed
customers – read about Arden’s class in the Seed Piece
drove all the way from Michigan in order to attend.
We were all grateful for the opportunity by Arden to learn more about
becoming better farmers by mineralizing our soils and refining our
nutrient foliar spray programs in our efforts to grow tastier and more
nutrient dense food as well as better performing seed.
UMaine Machias just posted a video
(1:31:11) of the panel discussion. Here you will find a video of
that November 13, 2013, Discussion on GMO Food.
Jim & Megan
for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.
| Threatened: Family
Farmers and Your Right of Access to Good Food.
a sober topic. In response to the Food Safety Modernization
the FDA has drafted new food safety regulations - flawed in that unless
modified they will severely hurt family farmers. Tonight, Friday
November 22, at midnight (Eastern) the comment period will
on the FDA's worrisome and severely flawed new proposed regulations for
produce farmers called "Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing
and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption."
The FDA has virtually no experience with farms and
farmers. In these proposed regs, FDA has shown a drive to foist
unnecessary, unreasonable regs and unjustified requirements onto
farmers. In reality the regs were invented for factories aka
'facilities.' They are
now aimed at family farmers - where there has never been a real problem
with food safety - without
demonstrating the regs will bring any reduction in food safety risk.
Universally, family farm leaders have very legitimate concerns that
this colossal regulatory effort will be so burdensome and costly to
family farmers that many of us will be forced out of business. And FDA
does admit this could very well happen. If family farmers growing good
healthy local food are forced out of business, then your right of
access to that good food will be severely
If you are able
to spend just ten minutes tonight, please send your brief comments to
FDA urging them to modify their proposal. This link
will walk you through the process and provides a simple, easy to modify
template for submitting comments. Comments need not be lengthy: FDA
simply needs to receive pressure from citizens in order for them to
modify their plans.
Below are the comments
written and submitted by Wood Prairie Farm last week, one morning prior
to Arden Andersen's Soils course.
are organic farmers who have been growing organically for 37 years. We
have been certified organic for the last 31 years including eleven
years under USDA NOP. Your food safety regs are seriously flawed in
that they are over zealous, are unreasonably burdensome and costly to
implement and thereby jeopardize the ability of family farms such as
ours to continue in operation. This is an untenable position and
threatens the US food supply and the right of the American consumer to
have access to good
local food raised by family farmers. Importantly, your proposed regs
fail to zero in on where the real problem lies: with large scale
agricultural production and distribution. Because of their scale, mega
operations which supply huge markets hold the potential to harm
hundreds of thousands to many millions of consumers - this is where the
nation's real food safety problem lies. And this is where the focus of
your food safety effort must be directed. Going after small and family
farmers is a solution looking for a problem. Small and family scale
farms have never represented a threat to the American food supply. Our
very definition as small conveys the reality that should a food safety
problem befall a family farm, the impact will be minimal and limited
because the number of potential affected customers is also small,
geographically limited and easy to trace. Additionally, those of us who
direct market, constantly understand the reality that survival of our
business is predicated on quality and food safety. We practice the
superior paradigm of food safety by design which is infinitely superior
on our modest scale to that of food safety by regulation.
I wish to
make the following specific points:
You must treat farms as farms and important biologically-based members
of our community. Farms are not facilities and must not be treated the
same as a facility. Family farms cooperating with one another are still
family farms and are not facilities.
Certified Organic farmers already comply with USDA NOP regs. Each of us
follows a highly detailed, annually updated written NOP Farm Plan. Any
FDA food safety regs which apply to us MUST be an adjunct to our Farm
Plan in order to be effective, avoid wasteful duplication, unreasonable
cost and unmanageable burdens that would otherwise jeopardize our
certified organic farm, our family's livelihood and our
economic analysis must be performed by an independent panel which
the value of your proposed regulations exceeds the costs which family
farmers will incur.
You must acknowledge your absolute constitutional restraint and create
a transparent system which includes due process so that any farmer
receiving an action from your agency will be treated justly and has
clear publically posted rights to appeal to an independent entity. This
must include a clear publically posted procedure for regaining the
ability to produce and sell crops after an FDA action.
To greatest extent possible FDA should allow food safety regulation to
be performed at the state level by states wishing to do so.
For FDA to focus food safety concerns on small and family farmers and
at the same time to completely ignore the documented dangers from
genetically-engineered crops and farm chemical residues challenges your
credibility and raises serious questions about your real motivations.
You should review the research of Dr Seralini and the CRIIGEN group
about GE crops and glyphosate, and Dr Donald Huber’s work on glyphosate
and re-direct your food safety concerns in the areas covered in their
important and other related research into the negative health effects
of both chemical and GE crops.
7. Your current proposals represent a
serious threat of unjustified over-regulation and unreasonable threat
to our nation's food supply. It is not acceptable to make regulations
so burdensome or costly that family farmers will be forced out of
business. Most especially because there has never been a demonstrated
food safety problem on small and family farms.
8. Farms are not facilities and therefore farms MUST not be held to the
as facilities. Farmers markets, CSAs, consumer-mail-order businesses,
roadside stands and other direct-to-consumer vendors fall under “retail
food establishment" and not facilities subject to additional
9. Certified organic farmers current use of manure
is safe and scientifically proscribed by USDA NOP. Manure use is
documented in our
NOP Farm Plan. Before any more restrictive standard could be adopted
there must be an independent cost/benefit review which demonstrates
scientific justification for a more restrictive standard.
FDA must adopt the $1 million threshold for a very small business and
base it on the value of “regulated product” and not “all food” so that
small and family farms and businesses like food hubs fall under
reasonable scale-appropriate requirements and are not subject to
industrial scale regulation.
Thank you for this opportunity to weigh in on your food safety regs.
They need a lot of improvement.
Wood Prairie Farm
Misguided Federal regs pose a crisis. For
Association of America. All things potato.
| Treasure Chest of
FREE Organic Potato Growing Resources from PAA.
This year is the Potato Association of America’s
Anniversary. PAA was founded by a small group of individuals
Maine, New York, Colorado and Washington D.C. in 1913. While
still centered in the Americas, PAA now claims members in another 30
countries worldwide. Increased scientific understanding of potatoes and
warm personal relationships among colleagues are the hallmarks of the
PAA. I witnessed this warmth for myself in the Summer of 1995
when PAA met in Bangor and I combined a trip for bulldozer parts with a
day of fraternization with potato scientists from across the country
whom I had only spoken to on the telephone over the years.
In 2010 PAA updated their 85 page manual
Potato Production in North America.”
If you don’t yet have a copy of this authoritative guide, you will want
to download your FREE copy.
Also, find the PAA
Mother Lode of resources on the topic of growing organic potatoes here.
for Our Organic Wood Prairie Farm Potatoes.
William Jennings Bryan on Protecting Farmers.
"... the men who plow and plant, who fatten herds, who toil in shops,
who fell forests, and delve in mines. But are these to be regarded with
contumely and addressed in terms of contempt ? Why, sir, these are the
men who feed and clothe the nation; whose products make up the sum of
our exports; who produce the wealth of the republic; who bear the
heaviest burdens in times of peace; who are ready always to give their
lifeblood for their country's flag--in short, these are the men whose
sturdy arms and faithful hands uphold the stupendous fabric of our
William Jennings Bryan
Jennings Bryan. He understood who are the real atlases.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
Thanksgiving Dried Fruit and Nut Cornbread Stuffing
1/2 c pecans,
toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 c golden
1/2 c dried
golden raisins and cranberries into cornbread mix and follow directions
to add wet ingredients. Bake as directed. Let cool for 1 hour.
(At this point,
cornbread may be frozen for up to one month)
for baking dish
2 c whole milk
2 c heavy cream
4 large eggs
scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 c)
1/4 tsp freshly
oven to 350 degrees. Cut the cornbread into roughly 1-inch pieces and
place on a rimmed baking sheet, along with any crumbs. Toast until
golden, about 30 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 400
degrees. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk together milk, cream,
eggs, scallions, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Fold in toasted
cornbread and transfer to baking dish. Bake until custard is set and
top is browned, 35-40 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before
| Special Offer: FREE Organic
Rose Gold Potatoes
Among our most popular potato varieties – whether
in the garden or to cook in the kitchen – is the wonderful Canadian
Gold. Beautiful pink skin and
delicious golden flesh make Rose Gold a real stand out.
One of our newest products is the Organic
Patriotic Container Growing Kit,
the perfect kit which allows you - or a friend who receives your gift -
to grow great potatoes in reusable Smart Bag containers without the
need for access to a garden plot.
your chance to earn a FREE 2 lbs. sack
of our Rose Gold Organic Potatoes (Value $12.95) when you
order one of our Organic
Patriotic Container Growing Kits. FREE 2 lbs. sack
of our Rose Gold Organic Potatoes offer ends Midnight
Monday, November 25, 2013, so better hurry!
Please use Promo Code WPF1163.
Your order and FREE 2 lbs. sack
of our Rose Gold Organic Potatoes must ship by 12/06/13.
Rose Gold Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Kitchen Potato Section.
Setting a high standard for quality.
Our Mailbox: Making
Us Blush, Risk of Counter Suit, Colorado Potatoes and Failure to
Making Us Blush.
The best part of Summer and Fall was Friday
I would rush to the farmer's market and get my supply of Prairie Blush
potatoes! I just realized this week that you and your family are Wood
Prairie Farm. Your potatoes grow well here in Michigan!
Thank you and glad you are enjoying our 'Prairie
It is one of the best tasting potato varieties we have ever eaten.
Prairie Blush is a clonal variant we found growing on our organic
potato farm in Northern Maine in 2001. It has a beautiful pink blush
which covers a quarter to half of the skin surface. It is a mid-early
and grows very well under a wide range of conditions. We recommend that
everyone give Prairie Blush a try in their garden.
Risk of Counter
I just saw a post that literally made the light go
Monsanto can sue farmers for having GMO crops through the wind, bees
etc pollinating then why can't farmers sue Monsanto for ruining their
Under the law, contamination is considered
If a farmer were to become contaminated and sue Monsanto to recover
damages, we believe it likely that Monsanto would counter sue for
patent infringement and assert the farmer was in illegal 'possession'
of their patented technology and use the filing of the farmer's lawsuit
as proof positive of his guilty possession. This is one reason why
farmers need the court protection we seek in 'OSGATA et al v Monsanto.'
Monsanto should not be permitted to sue us for patent infringement if
their polluting contamination has resulted in our "possession" of their
patented material.That's simple justice.
I live in the foothills of southern Colorado at
ft. I planted Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gold which are recommended for
my area. I planted them in Smart Bags using Fertilome growing mix. I
preheated the seed and cut them according to direction. The plants came
up and were beautiful. I added additional growing mix around the plants
as they grew. About 45 days into the growing cycle the leaves started
to turn yellow. I looked it up on the internet and it said possibly
aphids so I treated them for aphids with a Sevin type product. It
didn't help and the plants eventually died. The plants never flowered
but I got some nice red potatoes. Any ideas? Over watering? Too hot?
I'm not certain whether it was water, insects or
problem like a fertility or disease issue. Did the tubers grow to
sufficient size? If they were, it could be the plants did their job and
simply experienced senescense - old age - after the job was done. It's
hard to over-water in Smart Bags. Most of the problem in container
growing comes from under-watering. You are in a dry climate and lack of
adequate water might explain early dying. Under-fertility is another
possibility. Potatoes need a rich soil. Rarely do aphids inflict so
much harm as to kill the potato plant. Now similarly tiny Potato
Leafhoppers - they can do a lot of damage in a short time and you might
miss them if you didn't look closely because they are so small. And yes
it could have been too hot. Potatoes don't like steady temperatures
into the 90s. Those are the potential causes which occur to me because
they are so small.
Failure to Protect.
What is the justification for even growing GM
Out Monsanto - Briarpatch Magazine
GE Crops are all about control of the market by
companies like Monsanto which forced themselves into the seed industry
30 years ago and reinvented themselves as 'seed technology' companies.
They use patented transgenic seed traits to bludgeon agriculture into
submission. USDA-APHIS de-regulated RR Alfalfa in the US in January
2011 and the assupmtion is that plantings are widespread.
This recent GMO Alfalfa contamination incident in
illustrates that USDA sides with Big Ag and refuses to protect innocent
farmers. USDA will leave family farmers holding the bag.The article
below provides background.
Refuses to Investigate Illegal GMO Contamination.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm