MEGAN’S KITCHEN RECIPES: CHRISTMAS CRANBERRY SAUCE.
1 T vegetable or Sunflower Oil
1 large Organic Onion, cut into medium dice
1/8 tsp ground Cloves
Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
One 12 oz bag fresh or thawed frozen Cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 c granulated Sugar
In a 10 inch straight-sided saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, cloves, a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden-brown and very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium high, and cook the onions, stirring often, until deep caramel-brown, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cranberries, sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 c water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 1 minute, then cover, turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
This wonderful sauce may be prepared up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
NEW! Sunflower Seed. Organic Teddy Bear. 65 days. (Helianthus annuus) Adorable dwarf sunflower sports fluffy, cuddly flowers! The bushy, many-branched plants stand only 3-4 feet tall, and are capped with frilly, super-double blooms from midsummer until frost. Cushion-like 5” sunny flowers are equally at home along garden border or as a cut-flower. After blooming is done, leave the seeds to mature for hungry birds in fall. 1,300 seeds/oz. Pkt (~50 seeds) plants 20’.
NEW! 100 days. The ebony-black seeds are especially high in oil, making them a nutrient-dense wintertime food for birds and other wildlife; or press for cooking oil. Modest, single-flowered plants 4-6 feet tall. 4,000 seeds/lb. Pkt (~25 seeds)
NEW! 110 days. Towering 12-foot giants make a single flower often a foot across. Cheerful golden-yellow petals. Super-large seeds are a delight for snacking (whether by you or the birds!) Succession plant for blooms over a long season. 295 seeds/oz. Pkt (~25 seeds)
NEW! 65 Days. 5-7′ tall plants produce mostly single, 8-12” flowers with yellow petals. Large, black seeds are tasty as a snack and also good for fresh sprouts since they’re huge. Black seeded sunflower seeds are a popular protein-rich food in eastern Europe. Pkt (~25 seeds)
75 Days.Spectacular towering 7’ tall Sunflower with medium large blooms in beautiful shades of dark red, orange and yellow. Space 18-24” apart. Attracts Bees, Pollinators and Benficials. 400 seeds/oz. Pkt (~25 seeds) plants 15’.
WINDING DOWN A CLOUDY, COOL POTATO HARVEST. The other day, while the crew worked at whittling down the number of Potato rows ahead of them yet to be harvested, Caleb took out our Woods 84 Bushhog to chop down the final in-field Beneficial Insect Flower Bed, which otherwise would have become an obstacle to digging.
Long blooming Cosmos, legume Hairy Vetch and bright Sunflowers were the dominant species right down to the end.
In the last week as the temps lowered, we observed a noticeable drop in the number of bees and Beneficial Insects which were frequenting the Flowers.
Another sign Winter’s on the way in Maine. Caleb, Megan & Jim
LABOR DAY POTATO HARVEST ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. The heavy rain that today has been quenching droughthy coastal Maine and eastern Massachusetts has just delivered some clouds here in Northern Maine and zero precipitation.
Earlier today we finished picking the last of our Organic Certified Seed Potato Fingerings, the variety Russian Banana (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/organic-certified-russian-banana-seed-potatoes/). ‘Banana’ is a Century Heirloom with diminutive tubers. We have been growing this popular variety as Organic Certified Seed for over 30 years.
Here, in a shot looking west and taken from beside the Oliver tractor which is pulling our old-timer 1950s John Deere 30 Potato Digger is our crew “hand picking” potatoes.
Caleb’s brother-in-law Rob is on the green wagon pouring full buckets of Russian Banana into awaiting hardwood pallet boxes. With today being a school holiday, two of Rob’s sons, RJay (in shorts) and Micah are helping us pick. At right, Justin is kneeling. To his left, Kenyon is stooping.
In the gaggle up front, Caleb (straw hat) and beside him, his sister, Amy (both kneeling) and Cassidy (bending over).
There are two thickets of annual Beneficial Flowers: one to the left of the wagon and another to the right of the ‘pickers.’ Now, late season, Bright Organic Sunflowers and colorful Organic Cosmos (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/flower-seed-organic-seashells-cosmos/) dominate the scene and are loaded up with buzzing Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and other less well-known but appreciated Beneficial Insects.
Next, it’s onto digging the rest of our non-Fingerling crop with our Finnish ‘Juko’ (pronounced “Yuko) Potato Harvester. Caleb, Megan & Jim
LATE SEASON IS HERE IN AROOSTOOK COUNTY! At the end of August we have our sure signs. Breathtaking Cosmos Flowers are now in bloom. And so are Sunflowers – including the one hiding behind this jungle of Cosmos.
These two Flowers are a sign of the times and late-blooming members of our Beneficial Insect Flower Beds that we planted last Spring in and around our fields of Organic Seed Potatoes. https://www.woodprairie.com/category/the-organic-garden/certified-organic-maine-certified-seed-potatoes/ These Flowers nourish and give refuge to the Beneficial Insects who help to keep in check troublesome insect pests of Potatoes.
And there are further signs. Some of the trees are starting to turn color. Local Seed Potato farmers are killing their seed crops and getting ready to begin Potato Harvest.
We arrest the growth of our Organic Certified Seed Potatoes while tubers are still in their juvenile-stage. This practice of ‘early killing’ provides maximum vigor in the tubers. And that translates into the highest yields in the next generation – that would be the Organic Certified Seed tubers we’ll be shipping to you next Spring if you buy from us.
As organic farmers we kill our Potato plants (‘Tops’) with propane flame. Our conventional neighbors spray broad-spectrum ‘Diquat’ Herbicide, which in recent years has been rebranded as ‘Reglone’ which sounds less like close-cousin ‘Paraquat.’ Out West, custom applicators apply Sulfuric Acid to kill down the big fields of conventional Potatoes for scheduling harvest. Caleb, Megan & Jim
THE BEST ORGANIC FLOWERS TO ATTRACT & NURTURE BENEFICIAL INSECTS AND HELP CONTROL DESTRUCTIVE PESTS IN THIS YEAR’S GARDEN! Planting Flowers is EASY and beautiful. If you’re going to the effort of planting Flowers in this year’s garden for beauty, why not increase your BENEFITS by selecting varieties which do double-duty and attract the good bugs which eat the bad ones? Over 90% of the bugs in a garden are the good guys and why not help them?
In a fun but gigantic SUCCESSFUL experiment last year, we planted around the entire perimeter of our entire Potato field – plus additionally in refuges INSIDE the field – 40 varieties of Flowers reputed to attract Beneficial Insects. Our goal was to have both Early and Late Blooming Flowers growing less than the recommended distance of 100-150 feet from every potato plant. This planting design offered easy access, shelter and good nutrition to the Beneficials which succeeded as we’d hoped and performed their jobs of eating the bad bugs.
The best Flowers we identified last year are the ones we’ll be planting in this year’s expanded experiment. They are listed on Page 27 of our print CATALOG (https://www.woodprairie.com/catalog-request/) and are also part of the Flower Offerings in our Webstore (https://www.woodprairie.com/category/the-organic-garden/flowers/).
Here are the Early Bloom Winners: Organic ‘California Orange’ Poppy, Organic ‘Pinwheel’ Marigold (variation of Orange Marigold pictured below), Organic ‘Seashells’ Cosmos, Organic ‘Best Find’ Phacelia and Organic ‘Goldilocks’ Rudbeckia.
Late Bloom Winners: Organic ‘Evening Sun’ Sunflower, Organic ‘Colorful Blend’ Nasturtium, and Organic ‘County Fair Blend’ Zinnea.
We still have available for purchase EXCELLENT supplies of MOST Organic Flower varieties! Caleb, Megan & Jim