May 18th, 2019
28 Issue 07
Issue of The Wood
Awaiting Dry Ground.
Farmer Protester During the
Last Farm Crisis. Circa 1986.
Great shot taken by photographer David
Peterson. Mr. Peterson had accompanied Kentucky
farmer Wendell Berry to a Farmer Rally in Omaha,
Article in our last Wood
Prairie Seed Piece.
The Farm Crisis of
the 1980s forced a great number of family farmers off the
land. Today, a similar ongoing, devastating Farm Crisis is at
hand, due mostly to across the board low farm gate crop prices and the
relentless march towards consolidation and increased corporate control
of agriculture. Total Farm Debt is now equivalent to that at
the peak of the 1980s Farm Crisis. However, with fewer
numbers of farmers in business today, those same debt numbers mean
substantially greater debt for each farmer still carrying on.
recently released 2017 Agricultural Census documents troubling times
down on the farm. Nationwide, the number of farmers has
declined over the past five years since the last Ag Census in
2012. Significantly, the number of large farms is growing as
are the sales from those large farms. Meanwhile, with
breathtaking accelerating monopoly control of wholesale markets, family
farmers continue to be forced out of business, so it is no wonder their
numbers are in decline.
However, there is no
predestination, no divine plan that says the country would be better
off if large farms were to push out local family farmers.
Quite the contrary: centralized large-scale ag production
which relies upon cheap fossil fuels during an era of climate
disruption is risky and in reality a national security
dilemma. Our current mess is a matter of failed farm policy
under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The
heartbreaking trend of the accelerating loss of family farmers is the
result of powerful large players calling the shots and rigging the
system for their ultimate benefit. Like all bad
policy, the solution to this Farm Crisis is honest leadership, good
ideas and a genuine commitment to putting the people first.
Here in Northern
Maine, we’re experiencing a cool, moist Spring. However we’re
not suffering like some folks, including the New York farmer we talked
to this morning who has had 9” of rain so far in May. We are
looking forward to drier weather next week and expect to start planting
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Soil-less Fake “Organic”
Corporate Hydroponic Production Threatens Organic Integrity.
Fake Organic Soil-less Corporate
Blueberry plants fed soluble nutrients
in pots on plastic and under plastic.
Twenty-Acre-Field of Fake Organic
Hydro Blueberries. No soil to be seen.
Over its entire 125-year history, enriching the
soil has always been the foundation of organic farming. Healthy soil grows healthy plants
which are naturally resistant to destructive pressures from insects and
There are many benefits to organically growing
crops in rich, fertile soil. These include producing
authentic organic food which is nutritionally-dense, delicious and
healthy for your family.
These metrics of high quality
are directly attributable to organic family farmers' foundational
dedication to nurturing the soil. In this era of concern
about climate disruption, Carbon
– removing excess Carbon from the atmosphere
and placing it back into the soil where it belongs as valuable
organic matter - is a critical service provided by real organic farmers
who grow in the soil.
The worldwide system
known as organic farming universally
acknowledges the central nature of life-giving soil to organic farming.
Importantly, this world view, shared by virtually all long-time
American organic farmers, includes
stewardship in the landmark Organic Food
Production Act (OFPA) of
, the Federal law which regulates organic in the
Federal U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has devolved to the point
where it is breaking the law, effectively is operating as an outlaw
agency as it conducts business under corporate control. Shamefully, USDA has been overtly turning a
blind eye to OFPA's soil stewardship requirements in order to placate
powerful Industrial Ag corporations.
actions defraud consumers and hurt honest organic farmers.
USDA has placed corporate interest above the law, against the public
good, and in doing so USDA is denigrating organic integrity.
In a new article posted
recently on Truthout
Alison Rose Levy has writen an excellent Must Read
report entitled, Hydroponically
Grown Produce Threatens Real Organic Agriculture.
is about an entire ecosystem: taking care of the soil, recharging
nutrients with crop rotation, [and] providing for natural pollinators
and pest control. It is a way for farming, which can often be
ecologically destructive, to work with the planet,” writes Dan Nosowitz
at Modern Farmer. “Massive hydroponic and container operations like
Driscoll’s do not do that: They are willfully separate from the
The blitzkrieg invasion of organic by fake
soil-less Corporate Hydroponic operations is being fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars
of Wall Street investments.
Their fraudulent and illegal
misuse of the word "organic" represents an existential threat to honest
organic family farmers
and therefore to families wanting
continued access to real organic food.
Caleb, Megan & Jim
Here for Our Wood Prairie Certified Organic Cover Crop Seed.
FREE Organic Dark Red Norland Certified Seed Potatoes!
There is something to respect in a hard-working no-nonsense potato
variety like Organic
Dark Red Norland.
Organic Dark Red Norland is a reliable workhorse and grows well with
minimal attention. Tubers are beautiful bright red and early,
excellent for “New Potatoes.”
The matriarch variety “Norland” was released by North Dakota State
University in 1957. In subsequent decades, selected clones
with improved brighter skin coloration have been identified.
This resulted in first the new variety “Red Norland” in 1965, and then
more recently the top notch selection. Dark Red Norland.
Grow some beauty in this
year’s garden! Receive a FREE
1 Lb. Sack of Organic Dark Red
Norland Certified Seed Potatoes
(Value $11.95) when your
next Wood Prairie order totals $49 or more. FREE Organic Dark Red Norland
Certified Seed Potatoes Offer
ends 11:59 PM
on Monday May 20. Please use Promo Code WPFF448. Your order
Organic Dark Red Norland Certified Seed Potatoes
no later than May 31, 2019. Offer may not be combined with other
offers. Please click TODAY!
Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Organic Dark Red Norland
Potatoes Undergoing Greensprouting. Tubers in Hot Room and
ready to be transfered to greensprouting trays.
|Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.
Caleb Harrowing for First Time this Spring. Here
Caleb is using our 92 HP 1967 Oliver 1850 Diesel tractor to make his
first pass pulling a 19’ wide International Harvester Vibrashank
harrow. The date was May 2 and this was the earliest date we were
on the ground in five years – nine days earlier than last year and
eleven days earlier than the previous two years before that. The
vantage is looking south. Note the snow bank beyond the tractor
which had been shaded by trees from the sun. That snowbank finally left
Last Day of Ice on Big Pond. The
ice on our two ponds stays late, but when it does go, it goes pretty
fast. This shot was taken of our ‘Big Pond’ (about 1.3 acres) two
days before the ice entirely disappeared. Our ‘Small Pond’ (a
third-acre and 18 feet deep) near the house is shaded by trees and its
ice goes out a few days after the Big Pond. Ice out in the Small
Pond took place a week ago. The first Poplar leaves emerged
five days later this year than last, reflecting our nippy
May. Our woodstove has been used to take out the morning
chill most every day this Spring.
Seed Potatoes to Plant in Warming Up in Hot Room.
We warm up to 75oF the seed potatoes we are going to plant
in this hot room attached to our packing shed. Warming is the
first step in the greensprouting process in which we warm up 25,000
pounds of seed every year. We recommend that everyone warm
up your seed potatoes for at least two or three days before you plant
them. This will coax the seed out of dormancy and aid the seed
pieces in emerging quickly from the soil. It will also help
increase yields, compared to planting cold, dormant seed.
Crew Putting Up New Plastic on High Tunnel.
It’s been a breezy Spring and we have been patiently following the
forecast, waiting for a prediction of a calm morning. Today was the day
and unlike our wild, exhilarating effort five years ago, conditions
remained calm throughout. Here, the crew, minus Caleb & Jim,
has one layer of plastic in place and are getting ready to pulll up the
second layer. From left to right: Megan Gerritsen, Sarah,
Zack, Megan #2, Sam and Ken. A fan blows air between the two poly
layers which creates insulating value for this year-round unheated
“High Tunnel” greenhouse.
Sarah Gerritsen Helping with Layer Two.
Sarah’s college semester at Northern Maine Community College ended last
week. In another year she will graduate from her challenging,
compressed program as a Registered Nurse. Her crew mates
are hidden by the bunched up 6-mil, 5-year UV-resistant poly
cover. Look closely and you can see a rope-and-enveloped
tennis ball attached to the leading edge of the plastic sheet. On
the east side of this 132’ long high tunnel, a second crew is gently
pulling on the rope and unfurling the plastic from north to south.
Zack Sargent Working Wiggle Wire into Wiggle Channel.
With both layers of plastic positioned almost perfectly, Zack starts
working on the West side. He is wiggling in shaped stainless
steel Wiggle wire into mated Wiggle channel. The Wiggle wire
wedges the two layers of plastic into the aluminum channel. The
Wiggle wire system is an amazing invention and the friction created is
sufficient to hold the plastic secure, even in strong winds. Zack
grew up in Bridgewater and is Caleb’s best friend ever since they were
together in Kindergarten at Bridgewater Grammar School twenty years
ago. Zack is a plumber and works in a local family plumbing
business with his brother-in-law.
Crew of Three Work the East Side. While
Zack stays working ahead on the west, Caleb runs the crew on the East
side. Zack’s younger brother, Sam, carefully pulls the two layers
of plastic taut. Caleb works in the Wiggle wire. Sarah
keeps track and makes sure that at every second steel bow – spaced 4’
on center- Caleb is handed and secures a nylon loop with the Wiggle
wire. The loops will be used in helping to hold the side bottoms
when they are rolled up for ventilation on hot days. Sam
has been attending Maine Maritime Academy down on the coast in
Castine. Next Spring he will graduate from the four-year
program and get full-time work as a Merchant Seaman. Summers he
has been working both on the 500-foot Training Ship ‘State of Maine’
between Maine and Europe and on commercial freighters which coordinate
their needs with Maine Maritime Academy.
|Dr. John Ikerd on Agricultural
Recipe: Maple Nut Squares.
For the crust:
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 c cold unsalted butter cut into 3/4-inch pieces
For the filling:
6 T unsalted butter
1/3 c organic maple syrup
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c heavy cream
2 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, letting it extend up the sides.
a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt until
blended. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the
dry ingredients until the mixture forms large coarse crumbs. Press the
crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until
the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly
touched, 12-17 minutes. Set aside.
To make the filling, combine
the butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium
heat and stir together until the butter melts and the sugar
dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and
immediately stir in the cream. Stir in pecans and pour hot filling over
the crust, spreading it evenly to the edges.
Bake until filling
is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22-25 minutes. Transfer to
a wire rack to let cool until firm before cutting into bars, about 1
Makes 25 small squares
Heavenly Maple Nut Squares
Photo by Angela Wotton
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox