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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.

 Already December.

Caleb Burning Broken Pallet Boxes.

     Every year we make repairs to our collection of hundreds of hardwood Pallet Boxes. To this day we still are using some of the Pallet Boxes we built ourselves 25 years ago. Over time the boxes decline from age and wear-and-tear. At some point repairing a weathered box any further becomes apparent as a lost cause.

     In this photo, on a cold gray Maine day, Caleb is on the forklift conducting one of the rites of Late Fall: gathering up the year’s broken boxes and burning them in a bonfire. This procedure has the added benefit of eliminating obstacles and making it easier to plow the Winter snow.

     If you have not yet received our brand new Catalog it should be in your mailbox any day now. In the meantime, you may order everything online: Organic Seed Potatoes, Organic Vegetable Seed, Organic Herb Seed, Organic Flower Seed, Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Fertilizer, Tools and Supplies and Organic Kitchen Potatoes.

As Winter descends upon our Maine farm, we hope that wherever you are you remain safe and warm!


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



New! Organic Sarpo Mira. Exceptional, rare, disease resistant and delicious Late variety from Hungary!

Best Seller! Organic Huckleberry Gold. Sensational new American Mid-Season variety high in antioxidants and tastes wonderful!

New! Organic Baltic Rose. Fantastic Mid-Season Potato from Germany. Grows great and tastes even better!



Maine Tales. Tending to Priorities. Turner Center, Maine Circa 1960.

The Turner Grange.  The Grange movement was started by a progressive farmer in Minnesota after the Civil War. Its goal was to become a national organization which would unify isolated farmers and protect their interests on both the buying and selling end in the marketplace. The Grange idea caught on in Maine in the 1870s. By the turn of the century the Grange had become very significant in Maine. Maine actually led the nation in terms of per capita Grange memberships. For many decades following, into the new century, the Grange had an enduring beneficial impact on rural society and politics in addressing such areas as supporting women’s right to vote, election reform and curbing monopoly power. Back in the 1970s, our local chapter of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association had monthly meetings and one old-time Granger named Delmont would regularly attend meetings. He and his parents before him had been strong life-long Grange members. His stories, his friendliness and his inclusive demeanor left a memorable impact on us that the Grange had been a real force for good.

     Going way back, Maine has always been a good place to live. So it won’t be hard to understand that Maine is where a Mainer wants to be when his life is coming to an end.

A Maine Farmer

     Megan's great grandfather was a hard-working Maine farmer by the name of Arthur Libby, born in 1872. Grandpa Libby bought his family's farm in the western Maine town of Turner in 1902. At the close of WWI, he sold that farm and bought another smaller farm in nearby Turner Center where for decades he kept cattle and pigs, and grew apples and blueberries. Like most any Maine farm, the family's hard work brought about a decent living, though of course in family farming, no one ever gets rich.

     Grandpa Libby was active in his community. The Grange had been a huge movement in rural Maine and he served in the Turner Grange. Grandpa Libby was also active in the local church (it happened to be a Universalist Church) and Town government. Interestingly Julia, Arthur's wife, was fourteen years Arthur's senior. In fact, as a young woman Julia had taught Arthur in a Turner schoolhouse.

     The Libbys were happily married for many years. And then Julia passed in 1944. Shortly after the end of WWII, Grandpa Libby resettled down to Florida to carry on living with his daughter, Hilda.

Return to Maine

     The years went by in Florida. When Grandpa Libby came to realize his time was coming near, he surveyed the options ahead of him. He came to the determination that, by gory, he was not about to die anywhere except in his treasured State of Maine. So during the winter of 1959-1960, with help, he made his way back north to the farm he still owned in Turner Center. There, he was taken in by the family of his other daughter, Doris.

     By nature, Grandpa Libby was resolute and a Mainer of few words. Common to Mainers, most especially of his generation, Grandpa Libby had long, long ago effortlessly mastered the art of frugality. Frugality itself was not an insubstantial reason behind Grandpa Libby's farming success. In reality, frugality lay behind the success of many a Maine farmer.

     One morning, after having gotten settled back into Maine, Grandpa Libby decided it was time to plainly lay things out. At breakfast one morning, in order to dispel any misconceptions, confusion or speculation, he curtly revealed to all his well-established prerogative, "I change my teabag on Thursdays."

     It was late that same winter that Grandpa Libby, at the age of 84, died in his own bed, in his own house, on his own farm, in the great State of Maine.

Caleb, Jim & Megan


Megan's Kitchen Recipes: Winter Squash Soup.

2 T butter
2 c Chantenay Carrots (about 3 medium)
1 Amber Onion, sliced
1 Stalk Celery
1/2 c Apple Cider
2 1/2 lb Burgess Buttercup Winter Squash, peeled and cubed
2 Medium Carola potatoes, cubed
5 c Vegetable stock
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Sea Salt, to taste

Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add carrots, onion and celery over medium heat, until soft, about 8 minutes

Stir in apple cider. Add winter squash, potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes. Add the nutmeg and ginger.
Puree the soup in batches and return to stock pot. Thin soup with water if desired. Add salt to taste and serve.



Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

The Fine Art of Shipping Perishable Seed Potatoes From Maine During the Middle of Winter. We’ve been growing our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes and running our mail order Organic Seed business from our Maine farm for almost 35 years. During that time we’ve gained a lot of experience and figured out about how and where we can safely ship our perishable Potatoes without having them freeze in transit. Each Monday morning during the coldest five months of the year we spend hours going over various weather maps, predictions and temperature trends so we can come up with a weekly plan for shipping out orders. We also utilize the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s extended 8-14 Day Outlooks to advise us whether to expect the following week to be better or worse than the current one and we let that info help us make better decisions. We are unique because we grow our own crops of Organic Seed Potatoes here in Maine and we have wonderful, loyal customers in all 50 States. We have come to understand that many of you have planting dates that just are not in sync with the very narrow Spring shipping window provided by our competition who almost universally are re-sellers of somebody else’s seed potatoes. Therefore, as farmers we have dedicated ourselves to growing for you the best varieties of Organic Seed Potatoes and making them available when you want them, 10 months a year, October through July. We store our Seed Potatoes in an underground Potato storage and we ship daily directly from our farm. And as we have done for three decades, we always guarantee that our products will arrive to you safely and free from shipping damage caused by Old Man Winter.

This Year’s Irrigation Mainline Work Comes to an End. After Aroostook County’s fairly wet Potato Harvest was completed, the weather turned around and we’ve had a mostly nice dry Fall. The good weather allowed us to make good progress advancing our six-inch underground Irrigation Mainline project. However, an awkward and untimely equipment breakdown stalled things out and prevented us from finishing. All Fall we’ve had our huge old-timer Michigan Payloader in our neighbor’s gravel pit. As the crow flies the gravel pit is only a couple of miles away. But getting there involves driving mostly on farm roads and crossing a homemade bridge that spans the North Branch of Whitney Brook. A round trip between the gravel pit and our farm takes a full half-hour. Amidst the mud and the snow and the cold wind in the gravel pit, Caleb and Justin had to repair both heavy cylinder heads on the Payloader’s engine. It’s now running good once again, but the breakdown has set us back. So far, Caleb has hauled over eighty 12-yard loads of gravel in our Dump Truck for the mainline project. In this shot Caleb (bent over) and Justin make a minor repair on our Case 125 Excavator used for digging trenches and digging ponds. They have capped off the mainline for this year and have now shifted to other projects as Fall quickly shifts over to Winter.

Practice Makes Perfect. In this photo taken this week, Caleb – borrowing our neighbor’s tractor trailer – practices on our driveway backing up for the Road Test for his Class A - CDL or Commercial Drivers’ License. Among other requirements, in order to pass his Road Test he was going to need to demonstrate to the State examiner his ability to back up a big rig from a city street into a narrow side alley as represented by the orange cones. Last Fall Caleb had dropped everything and left the farm to help his brother-in-law, Ed, during a nine-day emergency. Ed is an electrical lineman foreman for a local Town-owned Aroostook County power company. The windy aftermath of a severe Tropical Storm had brought downed-trees, downed-lines and power outages to extensive parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Outside aid was requested. With just a few hours lead time, Ed drove down a Utility truck and Caleb joined on as Ed’s designated ‘helper’ to meet the mutual aid requirements for the standard two-man crew. After that experience, Caleb decided he could be more useful if he had his own CDL. Last year he took and passed the written test. It took this long for him to find the time to finally take the Road Test. Caleb did pass his final test and is now fully credentialed to drive commercial loads and big rigs.


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