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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.

 Brighter Days Ahead.

Grading Wood Prairie Potato Crop Proceeding on Schedule.

     We’re keeping to schedule and on on-track to finish pre-grading our entire crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes by the middle of January. We’re past the three-quarters mark and have graded enough spuds to verify this is one high quality crop of Seed Potatoes!

     Pre-grading allows us to determine with precision what Seed Potatoes we have both available to sell and available for us to plant back. Pre-grading also allows us the advantage of making a quick final inspection of Potatoes just prior to bagging them up and shipping out your orders so that we know your Seed will be in tip top condition.

     As you can see, Potato grading is dusty work. In this shot, after a day of working with the crew grading Potatoes, Jim spends the evening in our underground Potato House recording the contents of boxes of graded seed and putting them away in an organized fashion so each variety is immediately accessible when needed for shipping. Jim is driving our reliable old-timer Yale Electric forklift which has been working down in this cellar continuously for 24 years. We just replaced the 1500# lead-acid battery after its predecessor had served us for 13 years.

     With this issue of the Seed Piece we introduce a NEW section we're calling How-To Gardening Resources which will offer you terrific opportunities to help you build even better success in your garden.  Featured this week are links to some of the country's best and most popular Gardening Podcasters as they dive into everyone's favorite subject: Growing Potatoes!

     Your new Catalog should have arrived in your mailbox by now. If yours got lost in the mail, just give us a call and we’ll send another! Our online Webstore has even more offerings than we are able to fit into the Catalog. The Webstore has ALL of our offerings of Organic goods.

     As has been our way for the almost 35 years we’ve run our Farm-Direct Mail Order business, EVERYTHING we grow and sell is Certified Organic. EVERYTHING! 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.

All the best in the New Year! Stay Safe & Stay Warm!


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



NEW! Organic Filderkraut. Traditional Heirloom Kraut Variety from Southern Germany. Grown Since the 1700s. Excellent Flavor! NEW! Organic Amber. Early maturing Long Day Yellow Onion for the North! Good Keeper!
NEW! Organic Black Cherry. Outstanding modern OP Cherry Tomato with delicious old-fashioned flavor!



Maine Tales.    Maine Rocks.    Monticello, Maine.     Circa 2012.

Lockwood Side Boom Rock Picker.  Our New Brunswick farmer-friend Rex Beckwith searched far and wide and eventually found this awesome Side Boom Rockpicker for us.  The tractor PTO (Power Take Off) drives the Rock Picker lags.  The lags shake, the soil drops through the gaps in the 'hook chain.'  The rocks get conveyed upwards and feed into the side boom which empties rocks into a dump truck which travels along side the Rock Picker.  On a regular basis the odd rock would somehow get stuck in the crotch of the side boom lags and let out a Kaboom! loud enough to wake the dead.  The startling Kaboom served as indication the rock had somehow regained its freedom.

     Sobering as it may be, there’s no escaping the fact that a Maine farmer’s first marriage will always be to rocks.

Glacier Country

There might have been a time when Northern Maine wasn’t rock strewn but that would have been quite awhile back. Over eons massive glaciers have left plenty of rocks behind. That last glacier retreated northward from this area 10,000 years ago.

What we do know is that Northern Maine has some pretty nice soil for growing potatoes, once you haul the rocks off a field. Rocks are patient teachers. Some lessons do come with pain. Farmers have learned rocks bruise up potatoes and bust up farm machinery. Some ground is thick with rocks, and other ground maybe not so much. Not to brag, but our farm - on the edge of the Maine North Woods – is loaded with rocks and is known to be the rockiest farm in Town

One Little Field

Some years back we cleared the trees off one four-acre field that had been allowed to grow back to woods seventy years before. We knew this history because we saw the rock piles and counted the tree rings on the stumps after we cut the trees down. This field is the one we now call New Big South West #3 or SW#3 for short. As we pulled the stumps out, we came to learn there was a staggering amount of rocks to contend with. We believe sheer rock density is the reason why the old-timers grew discouraged and abandoned this field they had worked so hard to clear of trees.

Fortuitously, after years of searching we had come to purchase a nowadays rare side-boom-lag-style-rock-picker in good condition. These rock-picking machines with side booms were fairly popular back in the 1960s as farmers were scaling-up and grew real serious about removing rocks out of potato fields.

Day after day we crept along with that side-boomer, accompanied by our 12-yard dump truck driving alongside in tandem, and accepting its rock-to-metal thunderous pandemonium. Before it was fit to farm, we hauled 700 yards of rocks off that one little field. It’s now a nice little field with woods bordering on the west and south. We’ve grown some nice crops of potatoes on it, though of course, to this day it’s anything but free of rocks.

Mike Brown's Legacy

About ten years back Aroostook County lost one of its most respected, retired potato farmers in the Town just to the south of Bridgewater. That would be the Town of Monticello (“Mont-Tee-Sell-O” unless you find yourself in a big hurry, then it tends to come across as “Mont-Sell-O”).

Old Mike Brown was a good farmer, a hard worker and a leader in his Town. Like everybody in this country, he grew potatoes for most of his 81 years. And if you grow potatoes in Northern Maine, as Mike did, there is no deliverance. You get to know your rocks. Here is a verbatim excerpt from the obituary of this potato man, printed up in the local paper.

“He was always a farmer at heart who believed in putting back into the ground more
than he took away. He upgraded the land with miles of drainage tile, sod ditches, strip
cropping and picking and disposing of millions of rocks and rocks and rocks.”

Caleb, Jim & Megan


Megan's Kitchen Recipes: Home Made Potato Chips.


4 medium potatoes (such as Elba), peeled and sliced paper-thin
3 tablespoons salt
1 quart oil for deep frying

    Place potato slices into a large bowl of cold water as you slice. Drain, and rinse, then refill the bowl with water, and add the salt. Let the potatoes soak in the salty water for at least 30 minutes. Drain, then rinse and drain again.

    Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 365ºF. Fry potato slices in small batches. Once they start turning golden, remove and drain on paper towels. Continue until all of the slices are fried. Season with additional salt if desired. Enjoy them while they're hot!



How-To Gardening Resources.


Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

White Christmas for Northern Maine. After a warm Fall we’ve been yoyoing back and forth between snowfalls and melting rains. December temps shook out as slightly higher than normal and snowfall was somewhat lower. With La Nina expected to remain active, predictions are Northern Maine will get at least as much snow as last year’s 120” or the previous Winter’s 108”. This shot was taken in the aftermath of a one-foot snowfall received before Christmas. Caleb is in the New Holland Skidsteer Loader back-dragging snow away from the underground Seed Potato Storage entry. Behind him, Justin is pushing snow with a maneuverable Boss 8-Foot V-Blade Plow attached to our Ford F250 4-Wheel Drive ‘Yard Truck.’ The F250 has ice-tire-chains on all four wheels. Working together and playing each machine to its strengths, the big job goes more than twice as fast.

Putting Up Green Metal Siding onto the 'New' Warehouse. For over a year Caleb has been trying to find the time to get the siding up on the huge ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms) warehouse we built last year adjacent to our Organic Seed packing shed. The fact is, the labor shortage in agriculture began before Covid, but Covid has cranked up the challenge substantially higher. So like a lot of farmers who are also short-handed, we’ve been pushing hard in order to keep up. In this photo Caleb (brown insulated coveralls) and Justin picked a perfect partly-sunny day in which the temps got up to the high twenties (+20ºF) to make good progress on this siding project. Our long term strategy has been to invest to become ever more efficient so that whatever help we do have can find their work on our Potato farm less taxing, more enjoyable and ultimately more productive.

Ralph & Rudy in Their Mobile Play Pen. One of the benefits afforded to mechanics like Caleb is that their ears are always to the ground and they run in circles which generate leads and remarkable deals. Not long ago Caleb picked up this large Ford Excursion for a good price. As he drives it around the farm he is able to troubleshoot its idiosyncratic eccentricities. While he’s finding and solving the automotive quirks, his and Lizzi’s extremely obedient dogs have gained themselves a perfect safe haven when there is a lot of commotion from trucks and equipment driving around. ‘Ralph’ (left) is a gentle 18-month old Rottweiler, weighing in at 145#. Beside him is loveable 8-month-old Cane Corso ‘Rudy,’ already filling out and now up to 120#. They have fast become best friends, and as you can see one is rarely very far from the other.


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