WE ARE HIRING! IMMEDIATE FULL-TIME SEASONAL JOB OPENING AT WOOD PRAIRIE. Join our team! Help us bag and ship orders and help plant our organic seed crops in the Spring.
Please help us by SHARING/LIKING this post and telling your Maine friends! Wood Prairie Family Farm is a MOFGA Certified Organic seed potato farm in Aroostook County, Maine. We are seeking to hire a Full-Time Seasonal employee NOW through Mid-June 2021. Our organic seed is shipped directly to gardeners and family farmers in all 50 States through our web store and catalog business.
We seek a flexible, quality conscious co-worker who possesses initiative, excellent communications skills, strong organizational ability, attention to detail and work efficiency.
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request an application and to send your resume’. Immediate opening. Thanks! Caleb, Megan & Jim
'ACRES U.S.A.' JANUARY ISSUE FEATURES WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM IN ARTICLE EXPLAINING 'CERTIFIED SEED POTATOES.' The January 2021 issue is a milestone and celebrates the 50th Year Anniversary of maverick 'ACRES U.S.A.', the feisty mid-America monthly "Eco-Agriculture" publication.
ACRES was founded in 1971 by strong-minded economist and old-school family-farm-advocate Charles (Chuck) Walters, Jr. In addition to promoting good farming, ACRES (we were subscribers beginning in the 1970s) also regularly promoted 'Raw Material Economic Theory' aka 'Parity.'
Mr. Walters also wrote the book, 'Unforgiven,' which is a depthful biography of Parity (or 'Par Exchange') and it's inventor farm-economist Carl Wilken.
Walters tirelessly promoted Raw Material Economic Theory theory and about how wealth is created. Wilkin taught that there are only three ways to create real wealth: 1) to plunder another's assets from war, 2) to cheat at international trade, and 3) to debit nature without paying (as examples, the miner extracts minerals from the earth, the fisher nets fish from the sea, the farmer converts solar energy into crops). The common sense Wilkin economic theory – proved out by its implementation in the United States during and after WWII – has been distilled down into the catchy phrase, "All wealth comes from the soil."
Walters promoted the view that an economy works well when raw materials are properly monetized in balance ("par exchange") with other sectors of the economy. Debt injection into the economy imitates the creation of wealth but that's an illusion, because debt must be paid back, ferociously so due to compounded interest.
Forty years ago Jim secured a rare copy of then out-of-print 'Unforgiven' from a NFU office in MN and read it twice. Time to read that book again. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Gerritsen has found success with mineral oils. This year, he complemented the tactic with a foliar spray that encourages the plant’s natural defense system. Since he is an organic grower, he is working with two certification systems that, for him, have yet to conflict with one another. He said he has found support through both systems to produce a healthy, quality crop, unlike the grower who interpreted organic management as no management at all.
“'I abide in the faith, the understanding that the system is right and that there has to be an organic method we can deploy,' Gerritsen said. 'I’m not interested in poison, and there have been no restraints. The goal is to grow healthy plants that make healthy tubers.'"
Potato Growers Go to Great Lengths to Ensure Pristine Seed | EcoFarming Daily
Keeping the seed potato’s wholeness intact is necessary because, ultimately, dirty seed results in substantial table stock and seed production loses. Certification along with breeding programs are the…
A NOTABLE ORGANIC FARM IN DENMARK. Circa 2010. Ten years ago last Fall, a group of twenty-two farmers and researchers from University of Maine and University of Vermont toured organic farms and mills in Denmark completing an assignment to gain insight into how best to create a well-functioning organic bread wheat system for northern New England. One of the final organic farms we toured, located less than an hour outside of Copenhagen, is pictured below. In the photo, the farmer is offering us a brief explanation of the farm's very long history. Behind him lies a sacred stone shrine established by ancient agrarians.
This farm has been in continuous agricultural product for 6000 years. It's valuable to keep in mind that we in the USA are a very young culture and we are still sorting things out.
Find an article we wrote about one exemplary vertically-integrated organic farm and mill here: mofga dot org/resources/international/new-england-farmers-visit-viskinge-farm-and-mejnerts-mill-in-denmark/ Caleb, Megan & Jim
"Viskingegård is a well-designed, vertically integrated ('Soil to Mouth') operation where significant value is added to homegrown organic grain crops through on-farm milling and savvy marketing. Its strong direct marketing component includes a modest on-farm store, Internet sales, and deliveries to stores and 'canteens' (cafeterias) where progressive businesses provide healthy, on-site workday meals for employees. We watched a new, 30-minute, professionally produced video about Viskingegård that adeptly displayed all the steps in farming, growing, milling and using their organic crops – including Anna demonstrating the correct use of the bread machines they sell to customers."
EXPERIENCING COMMUNITY IN THE MOUNTAINS OF IDAHO. Though we've never met, we can think of at least three things we have in common with Glenn Elzinga of Alder Spring Ranch in Idaho. First, we're both family operations. Second, we believe in authentic organic as best best way to go so we're both involved in and certified by the new family farmer 'Real Organic Project' (realorganicproject dot org). Third, we both live in isolated rural areas which get our fair share of cold and both factors have constructed our experience of community.
Glenn and his family are bonafide cowboys and cowgirls and run a magnificent organic beef operation on 11,000 acres in the mountains of central Idaho. They direct-sell their beef to individuals via mail order.
Glenn's regular missives about their ranching life are something to look forward to. And signing up won't cost you a thing. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"I could see by the tracks what happened. Peterbilt hit the curve and kept going straight on the ice, hit the cliff, nearly flipped over as the right wheel attempted to climb it and instead whipped the truck around, snapping the trailer off in a split second. It was a miracle all didn’t go in the deep waters.
"Many do. My mind flashed back to a turn a few miles downstream where I pulled a home health care nurse out of her Toyota hatchback, partly submerged in the frozen river waters a few years back. She was only wearing her scrubs, now soaking wet in the subzero cold, caught blindsided by black ice while heading for an appointment to one of the elderly residents of the canyon. My timber partner and I helped her up the steep rocks to the highway, put the heat on full blast, and dropped her off next to a woodstove, phone and coffeepot at the Sportsmen’s Bar, the only watering hole along the river canyon in those days. Her husband would come retrieve her from Salmon in another hour."
Black Ice in Deep Canyons – Organic Beef Matters
Dear friends and Partners “Are you OK?” I tried to gain eye contact of the obviously more than a little dazed driver. His jeans were freshly shredded, coat impregnated with the reddish ocher of Salmon River cliff-rock, and had a few fresh and bloody scrapes and bruises on his ruddy complexion. H…
LOGGING CAMP IN AROOSTOOK COUNTY, MAINE. Circa 1895. Historically, in Northern Maine Winter was the prime season for logging. Packed snow allowed for clean twitching of logs with horses, free of dirt and mud which would otherwise dull sawmill blades. Roads could be iced over and that would allow for massive sled loads of logs that moved large amounts of logs from cutting areas to riverbanks. Millions of board feet of sawlogs would be stockpiled on for the duration of Winter. Then in the Spring at high water provided by snow melt the iconic river log drives would take place which transported logs to sawmills down river. In time, demand for paper-making pulp wood overtook sawlogs.
Typically, loggers (who commonly might be farmers who farmed during the growing season), would head into the isolated woods in the Fall and not come out until Spring. They would work every daylight hour for six days a week. Payday would be a winter's end.
Forty-five years ago on our farm on the edge of the North Maine Woods there existed an old, crude horse hovel which was used to shelter seven teams of workhorses (14 horses) used in 1950s and 60s logging operations on adjacent Great Northern Paper Company timberlands. Caleb, Megan & Jim
THE FALL WENDELL BERRY VISITED AROSTOOK COUNTY, MAINE. Circa 1984. We picked up Kentucky farmer and author Wendell Berry at the small airport in Presque Isle. In the remaining daylight hours we squired him around the fields of Central Aroostook. In time we parked by the side of the road when we came upon one of Smith’s massive fields where a large crew of farm workers were hand-harvesting jade green broccoli.
Our friend, Stan Scott, an English professor at nearby UM-Presque Isle was that year in charge of the outside-speakers-committee. Stan had miraculously been able to secure Wendell for a two-to-three day Aroostook visit in which among other events Wendell spoke before a large crowd at the college and answered questions posed by the honors English class at Presque Isle high school taught by Glenna Johnson Smith.
It was the end of October and by that time the Aroostook potato crop had for weeks been safely harvested and put away into local potato houses. What is now the 40-year old Aroostook broccoli industry had just gotten its start as a promising rotation crop for potatoes a few years before in 1980. The workers were hacking the broccoli heads with a harvest knife, then tossing those heads into an accompanying wagon slowly creeping across the field. We sat in silence watching the workers work.
After a while, Wendell – steeped in the labor-intensive hand-harvest of tobacco in Kentucky – began blow-by-blow detailed expert’s narration of process and the workers’ individual movements the rest of us were rather cluelessly watching. He singled out one man and noted how his motion was not as fluid as those of his co-workers. Wendell interpreted that after a long day of harvest this man’s back was troubling him and that in response he had adopted a certain back-saving technique so he could keep up with the work flow and make his back pain bearable.
That day we came to understand that there are deep layers that may well remain undiscovered. Some of us exist in a fog and others with the benefit of depth and experience reap a richer life harvest. We are fortunate on those occasions when circumstances line up and others share their bounty with us. Caleb, Megan & Jim
TOWING A STRUCK TRUCK ON MAINE'S WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. A story from our new issue of the 'Wood Prairie Seed Piece' (woodprairie dot com/newsletters/010221.html).
In decades past snowy Aroostook County had pretty limited experienced with ice. While snow might randomly fall in October and November it would rarely stick around. The first snow that was a good bet to stay with us through April would reliably fall during the week before Thanksgiving. Then, every few years we’d see stretches in mid-winter when the day’s high temperature migrated somewhere above freezing. That was called the ‘January Thaw.’ In the last couple of decades, Falls tend to stay warmer, Winter begins later – often with alternating snow and rain – and then Winter doesn’t let go its grip until April or even May as it did last ‘Spring’. The rain-snow zig-zag now leaves icy roads in early Winter, especially troublesome for truckers with Summer-style tires.
Caleb had been hauling gravel from a local pit late into Fall and had outfitted our dump truck with tire chains all around. The chains gripping power came in handy recently when he helped a tractor-trailer which couldn’t navigate our icy driveway and needed a tug uphill. Caleb, Megan & Jim
ANOTHER BRAND NEW ‘WOOD PRAIRIE SEED PIECE’ NOW POSTED ONLINE! Ringing in a New Year with narrative stories of life on a Maine Farm and as always accompanied by related Farm Photos. Beginning our 30th year of 'Seed Pieces!'
Caleb, Megan & Jim Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
woodprairie dot organic
Seed Piece 01/31/20
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ON MAINE'S WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. Upon the completion of a farm project, we had a couple days left before the rented JLG 60' Manlift had to go home. Caleb used the time to good effect, cutting down big Poplar ("Popple") trees we came to learn posed a danger when growing too close to our buildings.
About ten years ago we were subjected to the energetic remnants of an early-season Tropical Storm. On the Saturday of that 4th of July weekend our town received the full brunt with 6" of rain accompanied by 45 mph winds. With saturated soil, shallow-rooted, top-heavy Poplar trees could not stand their ground and toppled over in the wind, typically taking in area woodlots a half-dozen innocent bystander Spruces and Firs along with them.
Even since that holiday mayhem we've been on a logger's crusade of cutting up for firewood big Poplars loitering suspiciously close to our buildings. The ones too close for comfort this week were dispatched from the safety of the skyhigh Manlift. Caleb, Megan & Jim