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.
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
Seed Potatoes, Organic
Vegetable Seed, Organic
Herb Seed, Organic
Flower Seed, Organic
Cover Crop Seed, Organic
and Supplies and Organic
As Winter descends upon our Maine farm, we hope that
wherever you are you remain safe and warm!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
New! Organic Sarpo Mira.
Exceptional, rare, disease resistant
and delicious Late variety from Hungary!
Gold. Sensational new
American Mid-Season variety high in
antioxidants and tastes wonderful!
Organic Baltic Rose.
Fantastic Mid-Season Potato from
Germany. Grows great and tastes even better!
Tales. Tending to Priorities. Turner Center,
Maine Circa 1960.
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.
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
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
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
Caleb, Jim & Megan
Recipes: Winter Squash Soup.
2 T butter
2 c Chantenay
Carrots (about 3 medium)
1 Stalk Celery
1/2 c Apple Cider
2 1/2 lb Burgess
Buttercup Winter Squash, peeled and cubed
2 Medium Carola
5 c Vegetable stock
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
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
Puree the soup in batches and return to stock pot. Thin soup
with water if desired. Add salt to taste and serve.
Family Farm Photos.
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.
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.
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
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