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MORE DETAILS ABOUT SHIPPING MAINE POTATOES VIA RAILROAD TO IDAHO & WASHINGTO…

MORE DETAILS ABOUT SHIPPING MAINE POTATOES VIA RAILROAD TO IDAHO & WASHINGTON STATE. The ‘Bangor Daily News’ finally got ahold of Van Buren farmer Jay LeJoie – son of Dom and one of the four close family members who comprise the partnership ‘LaJoie Growers LLC’ – and yesterday wrote a followup article to its first piece detailing the first-time-in-40-years historic return to using the railroad to ship Maine potatoes out West. https://bangordailynews.com/2022/01/17/news/aroostook/better-rail-service-means-more-transport-options-for-maines-potato-farms-xoasq1i29i/
One train reefer car holds 80 tons of potatoes, equivalent to 3-4 tractor trailers.
So far, over 3000 tons of process potatoes… More



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BOSTON & MAINE RAILROAD, KENNEBUNK, MAINE. Circa 1927. For the first time …

BOSTON & MAINE RAILROAD, KENNEBUNK, MAINE. Circa 1927. For the first time in 40 years trains are being deployed to move Aroostook County’s huge 2021 potato crop to markets.
Potato farmer Dom LaJoie in Van Buren is part of the effort which is sending 33 modern refrigerated boxcars of spuds to Washington State. Last Summer’s record ultra hot weather dramatically reduced the potato crop in western USA and western Canada, while here in the East near perfect growing conditions delivered the biggest crop in a generation.
The ‘Bangor Daily News’ reports. Caleb, Megan & Jim More



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WHEN FARMERS TAKE ON ROLE OF FIREMEN RESCUING CATS. During one recent snowstorm…

WHEN FARMERS TAKE ON ROLE OF FIREMEN RESCUING CATS. During one recent snowstorm, Caleb’s sister, Amy, ventured outside only to hear the cries of a somewhat desperate barn cat stranded atop the snowy roof. Old-timer Neveah (that’s ‘Heaven’ spelled backwards) had apparently discovered an unfinished nook or cranny in our new building addition through which she could slither to cold freedom in the outside world. The impact of the blowing cold snow seemed to have shocked Neveah from the ability to retrace her steps and find her way back inside. So, Amy climbed onto some scaffolding and came to Neveah’s rescue.
Today marks the end of Amy’s Christmas break. She just completed her first… More



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SHIFTING GEARS: OUTSIDE WORK-SEASON ALL DONE AND THE SHIFT TO INSIDE JOBS. “For…

SHIFTING GEARS: OUTSIDE WORK-SEASON ALL DONE AND THE SHIFT TO INSIDE JOBS. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Well, Maine’s Winter cold highlights the fact that it’s past time to shift our purposes from the outside to inside work. On Wood Prairie Family Farm that means swapping from construction to grading potatoes.
This shot was taken last month. Our goal had been to button up the outside of our new packing shed and office addition. We met that goal, making as much progress as the building season allowed.
After the Amish-made Raised Seam Metal Roof panels were installed, attention was turned to strapping the building’s… More



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THE ERA OF SPRUCE GUM IN MAINE. ‘Spruce Gum’ was sourced from Spruce resin. By…

THE ERA OF SPRUCE GUM IN MAINE. ‘Spruce Gum’ was sourced from Spruce resin. By nature somewhat bland and astringent, it possessed what one might call an ‘acquired taste.’ Commercially, beginning in the 19th century it was available as a pellet-like precursor of modern-day chewing gum.
Maine’s Waterville-based general-store-like ‘LaVerdiere’s Super Drug Store’ – which morphed into ‘Rite-Aid’ and now ‘Walgreens’ – used to carry everything from cough medicine to shoelaces to snowshoes. As recently as the 1970s, LaVerdiere’s carried Spruce Gum and sold it in matchbox-sized boxes akin to those pictured here.
Have you ever tried Spruce Gum and what did you think? Caleb, Megan & Jim



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AND THE COLD RUSHES INTO MAINE. Took this shot midmorning while under sunny sk…

AND THE COLD RUSHES INTO MAINE. Took this shot midmorning while under sunny skies the outside air temp was -8oF when we were bringing in an empty dirt hopper. Inside our underground potato storage it’s a balmy 38oF. The smoky clouds develop instantly from relatively ‘warm’ moist potato air hitting the cold outside air. No thunder or lightning, though!
Many years ago, an Aroostook potato farmer friend told me he had been taught a trick by his potato-farming-father. On the coldest day in January, build up a big fire in the wood stove in the potato house and once it’s going strong open up all the potato house doors to change the air. Out goes the high CO2 air accumulated from potato respiration since harvest. In comes the clean dry high oxygen air. Potatoes in this way store better and Seed Potatoes have more vigor in the Spring due to less stress. Caleb, Megan & Jim



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“SISTINE CHAPEL OF THE ANCIENTS” DISCOVERED IN COLUMBIA’S AMAZON RAIN FOREST. A…

“SISTINE CHAPEL OF THE ANCIENTS” DISCOVERED IN COLUMBIA’S AMAZON RAIN FOREST. An article about the recent discovery in an extremely isolated region of the Amazon.
“Hailed as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the ancients’, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.”
‘The Guardian’ offers this good report. Caleb, Megan & Jim https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/nov/29/sistine-chapel-of-the-ancients-rock-art-discovered-in-remote-amazon-forest



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PHOTOGRAPHER RUSSELL FRENCH BEGINS HIS “ABOUT ORGANIC” SERIES ON ‘INSTAGRAM.’ O…

PHOTOGRAPHER RUSSELL FRENCH BEGINS HIS “ABOUT ORGANIC” SERIES ON ‘INSTAGRAM.’ Our friend, Russell French, longtime and talented photographer in Portland, has begun a series on Instagram entitled “About Organic” (https://www.instagram.com/p/CYafEZaMgWJ/).
Here is Russell’s thumbnail description: “About Organic – Jim Gerritsen. ‘The better we understand nature, the more we advance and the greater our success.’ You’ll want to read Jim’s full statement as he has contributed a great deal to the success of the organic community in Maine. See the link to my website (https://russellfrench.com/about-organic) in my profile. Farmers like Jim and Megan and now their kids are the cornerstone to… More



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NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ IS HOT OFF THE PRESSES! Our new ‘Seed Piece’ edit…

NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ IS HOT OFF THE PRESSES! Our new ‘Seed Piece’ edition spelunks into the curious black & white Winter world of organic Maine potato farmers. Don’t miss it!
Our new ‘Wood Prairie Seed Piece’ may be found here:
https://www.woodprairie.com/newsletters/010722.html
Caleb, Megan & Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
(207)429-9765
www.woodprairie.organic



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WINTER’S WORK – GRADING AND SHIPPING POTATOES. This time of year we finish up p…

WINTER’S WORK – GRADING AND SHIPPING POTATOES. This time of year we finish up pre-grading our crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes. This months-long-effort allows us to better handle the seed-shipping-tsunami which kicks in next month as Spring begins its northward march from its Deep South origins.
In this photo Jim has fed to Caleb the green ‘Roura’ self-dumping metal hopper filled to overflowing with rocks and dirt generated from the cleaning and grading process. Outside on a snowy day, Caleb is using the New Holland Skidsteer Loader to haul away the green Roura.
Waiting patiently for its afternoon truck ride is a pallet of tablestock potatoes headed to an outlet in southern Maine. Caleb, Megan & Jim



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