Our New Catalog is Just
About Ready to Mail!
Like most businesses in America we have been
short-handed but we’re doing our very best to keep up
with orders at the same time we grade out our big,
beautiful 2021 crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed
Potatoes. Thanks so much to everyone for your patience
Our brand new catalog features the exceptional new
golden-flesh potato from Germany named Baltic
Rose It’s both a delicious variety
in the kitchen and well-suited to organic growing in
the garden. This variety is in high demand
so please please order early before we sell out! Baltic
Rose has now been added to our website where you may
order either Baltic
Rose Certified Seed Potatoes or Baltic
Rose Kitchen Potatoes. As always, you may
place your Organic Seed Potato order now and we will
be happy to store your order here on our farm until
you need it for Spring planting, just ask! Also, Baltic
Rose is one of the varieties in our December
Potato Sampler-of-the-Month and
there’s still time to order should you like to taste
it or give it as a gift.
By planning and ordering ahead we dodged the paper
shortage plaguing the printing industry. If the good
ole Post Office comes through our new catalog should
be in your mailbox around Christmastime.
Stay warm, stay well and all the best in the New Year
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
|Wood Prairie Family
Beneficials Are Blessed By Planting ‘Beneficial
This past year we ran extensive trials in our main
organic potato field and planted 40 different flowers and
plants which had earned reputations for attracting and
providing nourishment to Bees, non-Bee pollinators and other
Beneficial insects which are valuable predators of insects
harmful to food crops including potatoes. Guided by
experience gained from our field trials we’ve added an Organic
Beneficial Flower Seed section to the new
These Beneficial Flowers gracefully do double
duty providing both beauty to the eye and sustenance for our
hardworking insect friends – Ladybugs, Lacewings and
more. Our new Flower listings include
spectacular Sunflowers like the one pictured above, plus Organic
Evening Sun Sunflower, Organic
California Orange Poppy, Organic
Pinwheel Marigold, Organic
Seashells Cosmos, Organic
Best Find Phacelia, Organic
Goldilocks Redbeckia, Organic
Colorful Blend Nasturtiums and Organic
County Fair Blend Zinneas. More
Organic Flower varieties will be added to the website as
soon they are cleaned and available.
The Pendulum Swings: A Comparison of the Last
Two Growing Seasons in Northern Maine. Irrespective of how
hard we work or how we implement our philosophies of how to
grow, farmers have learned that sunshine and water to a
large extent determine the size and quality of our crops.
In many spots in Northern Maine crop year 2020 was the
driest year ever recorded going back to 1939. Yields
suffered. This year, though we flirted with drought for most
of the growing season Maine had sufficient rain - and then
some in September - and grew one of the biggest potato crops
ever. This chart tells the tale of the two seasons by inches
of rain per month. It takes 14-18" of water to grow a crop
of potatoes, about 1" per week.
By October, rain ceases to benefit a Maine potato crop
- and when rain is excessive it gets in the way of digging
out a crop of potatoes. Last year's 6.52" October rain got
in the way; this year's 2.14" was a gift. The photo was
taken one cool morning in late October while chisel-plowing
under a Rapeseed cover crop. The crop next door is
dew-covered fledgling Organic Winter Rye protecting the soil
that had surrendered it's potato crop earlier in the month.
Putting Up Roof Trusses on Wood Prairie Family Farm.
The nearly 10” of rain in September made it one of the
all-time wettest months on record for Northern
Maine. However, beginning in October the
pendulum swung yet again and we’ve had as mild and dry a
Fall as anyone can remember. This has been a great
blessing for our behind schedule building project.
In this shot taken at the
end of October, Lonnie Little maneuvers his telescoping
Terex crane to masterfully position into place one of the
72' long bottom truss sections to our new ICF (Insulated
Concrete Form) expanded packing shed and office. The
building addition is about 65’ x 65’ and the concrete
walls rise 16’ above grade.
We had designed-in a usable 9' x 20' "attic" area
providing 1300 square feet of potential future office or
living space. The bottom horizontal chords on these
trusses are 2"x12". This design creates a 64-foot clear
span inside work area. To make it practical to haul the
trusses down from where they were built by the Amish
thirty miles away in Fort Fairfield, they were designed as
2-piece sections. The following week, the topmost 30' long
triangular trusses were hauled down separately and again
crane-lifted on top and secured into position.
The roof pitch is 7/12. The peak of the finished
truss stands 21-vertical feet above the bottom chord. The
trusses have been engineered for snowload of 100 psf and
for 115mph wind speeds.
Metal Roof Completed on New Wood Prairie Packing
Shed-Office Expansion. In
this photograph taken before Thanksgiving, the crew begins
to install Standing Seam Metal roofing.
Planning ahead, Caleb parked his step-deck 48-foot trailer
in the shop yard on Maple Grove Road in Fort Fairfield. There
the Amish crew at Abe Miller's Metal Roofing Company
began unrolling and cutting to length the 40-foot
pieces. The cut pieces were then run through a
bending machine which formed the Standing Seam Roofing
(SSR) panels which each offer 15" width coverage. The crew
efficiently stacked the roof panels directly onto the
trailer in layers carefully protected by packing fabric. A
day later the bending metal roof job was completed and
Caleb retrieved the full trailer with his good-deal Ford
9000 road tractor.
Four men are working on the roof and two more on the
ground. The brown-colored roofing is cold and getting
covered over by snow. In a brilliant design, one SSR panel
snaps in and under the previous roof section, hiding the
screws which secure that previous panel to the 2x4
strapping. After the roof was complete all
screws were hidden by the metal roofing and no screws were
visible. Screws are hidden from the weather and thereby
free from frost action and leakage. An excellent,
permanent design providing a very long lasting metal roof.
This Week’s Latest Building Progress: Framing in
the Expanded Office. Our new office
is 16' x 48'. It’s now been framed in, sheetrock has
been attached to Amish-made ceiling trusses. Windows
and doors have been installed, and Rockwall wall insulation
is in place. Halle, our Great Pyrenees guard dog,
keeps track of all activity and patrols inside the new
building sniffing out fresh scents.
The red bales are Rock Wool insulation, the next generation
step-up from itchy fiberglass. Compared to fiberglass
insulation, Rock Wool is denser - so offers 30% more R-Value
and much more sound deadening - and is both fire and water
resistant. It's also made from 70% recycled materials.
You may add Rock Wool to your list of supply chain headaches
which demand patience and planning. Yes, Rock Wool
is more expensive - at the outset. However, breaking
the bank with superior insulation is a long term investment.
Much like a farmer building up soil, the goal is long term
good which over the long haul offers the greatest societal,
environmental and economic returns. Anyway,
that's how organic farmers approach such concerns.