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In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

This edition of the Seed Piece may be found in our Wood Prairie Seed Piece Archives.

 Spring Rush is Here.

Bridgewater, Maine (Pop. 532), Home of Wood Prairie Family Farm. (Click on Image to Enlarge).

       This beautiful bird’s-eye view was a shot taken by talented local photographer Paul Cyr in mid-October 2015. It is a rare vantage gained by the use of his trademark powered-parachute craft. The view is looking westward over the western portion of the Town of Bridgewater. The highway in the foreground, running left to right (south to north) and bisecting downtown Bridgewater is US Route 1 which extends from Fort Kent, Maine (north of us) down to Key West, Florida. The fields you see are typically well-drained Potato fields, either recently harvested or in sod rotation. The fields are surrounded by mostly less-well-drained woods. The arrow-straight road heading west is “Bootfoot Road” (aka “West Road”). Bootfoot extends out three miles from Route 1. Wood Prairie Family Farm is pretty much hidden by forest. However, if you look left (south) from the very west end of Bootfoot a quarter mile or so, you may be able to discern a slight gap in the trees. Those are fields of our farm which we have been farming organically now for almost 50 years. To the west beyond us, are the millions of acres of forestland known as the North Maine Woods.

     This new issue of our Wood Prairie Seed Piece features a new ‘Maine Tales’ entitled Coming to Conclusions. It also includes Farm Photos and their stories from this week on our Maine farm. We share Megan’s fine Recipe for Lemon Potatoes and encourage you to take advantage of our Offer for FREE Organic Vegetable Seeds. Plus, towards the end of the issue, you’ll find a reassuring Notable Quote from Thomas Paine.

     Scroll down to our How-To Garden Resources section and find a link to a brand new ‘You Tube’ video interview with Jim about How-To- Grow Organic Seed Potatoes at Home, conducted by Master Gardener Jessica McCollum of ‘From Dream to Seed’ in Indiana.

     By now you know you can rely on us for all your Organic needs, including Organic Seed Potatoes, Organic Sweet Potato Slips, Organic Vegetable Seed, Organic Herb Seed, Organic Flower Seed, Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Fertilizer, and Tools and Supplies.

We're now at peak shipping and have a turn around time of 3-5 days on new orders.

Thanks for your support of our Maine Organic family farm!

Stay Safe & Stay Warm!


Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine



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Maine Tales. Coming to Conclusions.

        Bridgewater, Maine. Circa 1994.

Appropriate Technology on a Maine Potato Farm.  Peter Gerritsen, a few months shy of four-years-old. Helping with our Potato Harvest of 1994, grown after the snow had successfully melted away that Spring. A paint can proved to be a practical ‘Picking’ solution back in the old days when we dug our Organic Seed Potato crop with a John Deere #30 Potato Digger pulled by an Oliver tractor. The Digger gently laid potatoes (and rocks) back on top of the ground. Then we used buckets and 11-peck Cedar Potato Barrels to ‘pick’ the spuds and haul them out of the field. Farm kids learn at an early age to become resourceful. Can’t find a matching pair of gloves? No problem, I’ll improvise.

     Farmer understanding mostly comes from experience. And worthwhile experience doesn’t just land bundled up in your lap. The road towards experience has to start somewhere and it’s a long one.

Norms and Anomalies

       Humans have become pretty good at discerning patterns based on observation and experience. But only in hindsight does it become clear whether enough observational data points have been collected for a conclusion to fly and stand the test of time.

     One Climate Change scientist with an Ag background and perspective has cautioned cause for concern lies ahead. One farmer lifetime contains sixty crops, more or less. Farmers draw from their experience of weather anomalies which have confronted past crops in order to chart their course of action for another year with an out-of-the-ordinary weather variation. This researcher predicts that Climate-Change-driven weather anomalies will become so extreme that they will at some point exceed the capacity of accumulated farmer-lifetime experiential know-how.

Snow Country

      Now, a place like the State of Maine has a long history of getting a lot of snow. Since life needs to carry on in the Winter, as near normal as possible, that snow must get moved out of the way so cars and trucks and people can get from here to there.

      After a snowstorm deposits new snow, snow plows attached to trucks tackle the job of pushing snow far off into piles on the edges of roads, driveways and yards. Here on Wood Prairie Family Farm it takes us about six hours of work to open things back up after a half-foot snowfall. Since Northern Maine normally receives 100-120 inches of snow each Winter, simple math will corroborate that Mainers spend a whole lot of time moving snow. During stretches when we get two or three snowstorms per week, snowplowing is like having a second job.

Potatoes Interrupted

      The first half of March is when we will have accumulated our deepest snowpack. The snows keep coming and the temperatures continue to remain enough below freezing that not much melting ever takes place.

     There was one March when our oldest boy, Peter, was a little over three-years-old. Over the duration of that Winter, Peter would sit by the window and watch his father plow snow over-and-over with an old angled eight-foot-wide snowplow attached to an old no-cab Oliver gas tractor with tire chains.

     Of course, there were Potatoes to grade. All Winter-long, with Peter near at hand we’d grade Seed Potatoes, bag them up and and ship them out to distant places already experiencing Spring. While we worked, we discussed and conjured up plans about what crops we’d be planting in the Spring. Invariably, Potato work would get interrupted by yet another snowstorm. After we plowed that snowfall away we’d switch back to shipping out Potatoes.

Thoughts of Spring

     One day that March we sensed that young Peter was fretting about something. Eventually, we were able to draw out of him the reason for his worry. After observing the considerable effort put into plowing out our yard and driveway so that trucks could get in and out, he had been doing some calculating. He worried that at the rate we were going we’d never get all our fields plowed free of snow in time to plant our Spring crops in May.

     Didn’t it come as a huge relief to Peter when we explained that come April, as the sun got higher in the sky, it would start to warm up enough that the snowpack would begin to melt. We assured him that by the time we needed to plant our crops in May, that old snow would have miraculously disappeared all on its own.

     We do the best we can with what we know. Thankfully, life gets easier and experience will accumulate effortlessly while we go about and do our work.

Caleb, Jim & Megan


Megan's Kitchen Recipes:
Lemon Potatoes

2 pounds small red potatoes, pictured are Rose Gold, scrubbed and halved (quartered if large)

1 1/2 tsp grated zest and 2 T juice from 1 lemon

2 Red Russian Garlic cloves, peeled and smashed, plus 2 cloves, minced

1 c chicken broth or water

Sea Salt and Pepper

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 T finely chopped fresh Italian Flatleaf Parsley

Place potatoes in colander and rinse under running water, tossing with hands until water runs clear. Drain potatoes well.

Bring potatoes, lemon juice, smashed garlic, chicken broth or water, and 1/2 tsp salt to boil in large skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until potatoes are just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Discard garlic cloves and add oil to pan. Turn all potatoes cut side down and continue to cook until deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Off heat, stir in parsely, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper and serve.



How-To Gardening Resources.

NEW! 'From Dream To Seed' VIDEO (35:58): "How to Grow Potatoes at Home." 

Jessica McCollum of 'From Dream to Seed' Interviews Wood Prairie Family Farm's Jim Gerritsen and they discuss the EASIEST Way to Grow Potatoes.

Click on Image to Open.


Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Shipping Orders This Morning on Wood Prairie Family Farm. After awhile the clouds melted away and the sun came out and allowed the air temperature to creep up to just above freezing. The Packing Room crew had opened the garage door halfway to let in the cool morning air help maintain the desired inside temp in the low 40s – good for maintaining prime condition for our Organic Certified Seed Potatoes. At left, Ken is building March Samplers of the Month, scheduled to go out next week. Crouching in the foreground is Justin, grabbing a pile of 2 ½ # and 5# sacks which are stored underneath the table, so he can finish bagging up Organic Russian Banana Fingerlings in the red ‘Haines Single Bagger’ in the lower left corner. To Justin’s right is Lindsey (blue sweatshirt) who is stapling the Banana sacks closed and standing next to sacks of top seller Organic Yukon Gold. In the background, Caleb (black wool cap) and his sister, Amy (red & black Buffalo plaid coat) – home from college this week for Spring Break – are boxing up tubbed orders. Out of view, Liz is assembling orders into tubs for the boxers. Megan and Chelsea are in the office printing shipping labels and collating orders. Frank and Randel are downloading orders, answering the phones and tending to customer service inquiries. Jim is in the attached underground Potato storage grading Potatoes so the crew won’t run out and will be able to keep up with the flow of thousands of orders. The tsunami has arrived and we’ll be at peak shipping for the next five-six weeks. We now have about a 3-5 day turnaround time on new orders.

The Year’s First Wood Prairie Calf Getting a Warm Up Drink Inside the House. Like all authentic organic farms, our cows - Low-Line Angus crossed with Irish Dexters - have ready access to the out-of-doors. So this week when new mother 'Penelope' opted to give birth, it happened to take place outside on the snow, instead of inside the barn in the dry-bedded loafing area. By design, we keep a small herd of grass-efficient cows who consider eating our Organic Potato culls a real treat. Throughout the Winter they have the freedom to come and go as they please, choosing to either be inside or outside the dry barn. This new heifer calf had become chilled, so Megan brought her inside the house to warm up. Then, hand-milking out some colostrum from Penelope, she transfered it into a calf-bottle and successfully got the two-hour-old calf to drink. After one night’s lodging in the house, the calf has since rejoined her mother in the barn. She has figured out how to nurse on her own and is doing well.

Three Wood Prairie Dogs Out for a Walk. With the long shadows of a sunny late afternoon this week, Wood Prairie dogs and humans enjoy a late Winter walk. In the foreground is sweet Rottweiler ‘Ralph.’ He and high-energy yearling ‘Rudi,’ the dark brindle Cane Corso on the right, belong to Caleb and Lizzi. ‘Halle’ is the farm’s gentle middle-aged Great Pyrenees. We’re all walking on our snowplowed road between the frozen ‘Big’ Pond’ and ‘Small’ Pond. Our snow depth is now about 30 inches except where it’s drifted deeper. That 30’ x 70’ Quonset hut in the upper right is Caleb’s repair shop. In Maine a lot of vehicles get parked in the Fall and are rested for the duration of Winter in order to keep them free from the corrosive effects of ice-melting road salt. Included in this hibernating group is Caleb’s classic red & white Ford F350 crew-cab pickup truck with a 7.3 Liter Diesel engine. Ten years ago after graduating from the local Community College with a degree in ‘Diesel Hydraulics’ Caleb rebuilt this truck from scratch, from bumper to bumper. That prized and Winter-rested truck has only learned about Maine Winters by reading about it in Yankee Magazine.


Notable Quotes: Paine on Triumph.


Quick Links to Popular Products.

Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 / 207 (429) - 9682
Certified Organic From Farm to Mailbox