Friday, January 25th, 2019
28 Issue 02
Issue of The Wood
J.H. Todd & Sons Salmon Cannery, Victoria, British Columbia. Circa 1938.
Label Art from British Columbia’s largest salmon cannery, established
in 1882. Jacob Hunter Todd had been a farmer in Ontario and
migrated west to supply miners in the Cariboo Gold Rush beginning in
1860. He developed lucrative markets for his canned sockeye
salmon in England and that – along with his business acumen and hard
bargaining – gave his company dominance in the BC salmon fishery.
The Horseshoe design was a nod to the superstitions of his early miner
Back here in
Maine we remain fortunate with lots of snow (36” inches additional
snowfall so far this month) and cold. We are about on schedule,
nearing completion of pre-grading our entire potato crop. This
pre-grading makes it much easier for us to keep up with receiving and
quickly sending out your orders. The supplies of some
potato varieties are getting tight, so we urge you to place orders
soon! We are always happy to hold onto and ship your order
later in the Spring if that is your preference. Just tell us in
the Comment field. Thanks!
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
|Wood Prairie Wins New 2019 'Green Thumb Award'.
The work of Wood Prairie Family Farm of Aroostook County, Maine was
honored Tuesday in an awards ceremony at the Direct Gardening
Association's (DGA) Winter Convention being held earlier this week in
Charleston, South Carolina.
nationally-recognized organic seed farm was awarded a 2019 DGA Green Thumb Award
for The Wood Prairie
Organic Colossal Potato Collection
judged to be one of this year's two best edible plant introductions in
the United States. This marks the second year in a row that Wood
Prairie Family Farm has received a coveted Green Thumb
Award. One year ago, Wood Prairie's The Organic Potato Plant Detective
was awarded a 2018 Green
, similarly in the Edible Plants Division.
the 2019 Green Thumb
were selected by an independent panel of garden
writers and editors. Winners were selected based on uniqueness,
technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem and
potential appeal to home gardeners.
DGA Green Thumb Awards
recognize outstanding new garden products available by mail or online.
The awards are sponsored by the Direct Gardening Association, the
world's oldest nonprofit association of companies which sell garden
products directly to consumers via catalogs and websites.
Wood Prairie Family
Farm is a second-generation organic farm which has seen members
of the Gerritsen family growing seed organic crops for over
four decades. Three years ago, Caleb Gerritsen took
over the farm and mail order
business from his parents Jim & Megan, who started the
Maine farm in the 1970s. The farm continues to focus on the
production and direct-marketing of MOFGA-Certified Organic Maine
Certified Seed Potatoes as well as organic vegetable and grain seed.
marks the sixth time Wood Prairie Family Farm has earned a Green Thumb
there are over 4000 potato varieties in the world, those that are grown
commercially number only in the hundreds," said Caleb
Gerritsen. "The score of potato varieties we grow and sell as
Maine Certified Seed Potatoes are the success stories from our family's
decades of organic grow-out trials. We're very grateful that
our unique collection of outstanding organic potatoes has been held in
esteem by the judges and awarded this honor."
During the many
decades it has grown seed potatoes, Wood Prairie Family Farm has
subjected potential additions to its organic potato collection to two
critical criteria: 1) the potato must taste good, and 2) the
potato must grow well under organic conditions.
The Wood Prairie Organic
Colossal Potato Collection
contains every organic
Certified Seed Potato variety grown on Wood Prairie Family
Farm. Included are Early-Season favorites, famous Yukon Gold,
reliable Reddale, beautiful Prairie Blush, great-keeper Red Cloud,
high-yielder Caribe' and always dependable Dark Red
Norland. Mid-Season Collection varieties are
sisters Adirondack Blue and Adirondack Red, stunning Huckleberry Gold,
bug-resistant King Harry and savory Rose Gold. Late-Season
members are rare & rugged Butte Russet, disease-resistant Yukon
Gem, steady workhorse Elba, heirloom All-Blue, the delectable German
selection Carola, and late-blight champ Island
Sunshine. Rounding out the Collection are the two
delicious and legendary century-heirloom Fingerlings, Russian Banana
and Rose Finn Apple.
Prairie Organic Colossal Potato Collection
comprised of nineteen one-pound sacks, enough seed potatoes to plant
over 200 feet of row. All varieties are Certified Organic and
are traditionally-bred, Non-GMO potatoes. Comes
complete with colorful Wood Prairie Potato Postcards for each variety,
Wood Prairie Organic Potato Growing Guide and Wood Prairie Potato
FREE Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes!
University of Maine potato breeders have been trying for
many decades to breed a high culinary quality, high-yielding,
mid-season Russet potato which will perform well in short-season
climates. After years of painstaking traditional crossing
and selection work, breeders came up with this distinguished cross
between Reeves Kingpin
(named after Maine Potato breeder Al Reeves stationed at the Aroostook Farm Potato Experiment Station in Presque Isle) and Silverton Russet
(a western Russet bred in Idaho). It was first known by an
administrative number, AF3362-1 (Aroostook Farm). Legendary
varieties in this potato’s ancestry include Kennebec, Katahdin, Waseon and Nooksack.
potato came to be registered as Caribou Russet, name of the nearby
Aroostook town and our area's extensive world-class Caribou Loam potato soil.
See for yourself what all the commotion is about! Earn yourself a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Caribou Russet Seed Potatoes
(Value $11.95) when your next Wood Prairie order totals $49 or more. FREE Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes Offer
ends 11:59 PM on Monday January 28. Please use Promo Code WPFF442. Your order and FREE Sack of Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes
must ship no later than May 5, 2019. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please click or call TODAY!
Organic Caribou. The New Mid-Season Russet from Maine.
Sad State at the Concentrated Seed Industry. Growing mega global seed monopolies spell trouble now and ahead of us.
| New Updated Chart on Troubling Global Seed Industry Consolidation.|
Dr. Phil Howard of Michigan State University
has earned high accolades in the past for his work researching and
preparing striking graphics which document and depict the alarming and
growing consolidation in the world’s seed industry.
Now Dr. Howard has updated his important work with the further
consolidation which has occurred since 2013. The trend of
increased monopoly seed control has continued unabated and at breakneck
Why is Dr. Howard’s work
so critical? First, in order to solve a problem you must
understand it. He has rendered his twenty-two years of tracking
mergers phenomenally accessible and educational.
Secondly, seed is the foundation of crop agriculture. Whoever
controls seed therefore controls food. And as Dr. Henry Kissinger
remarked in 1970, “Control food and you control the people.” No
institution should be allowed to have that power. That most
certainly includes despotic multinational misanthropes Monsanto,
Bayer and Dupont.
monopolies represent the extreme antithesis of fair market
competition. Monopolies threaten everyone’s freedom and our
democratic institutions. With monopoly control comes
dangerous concentration of wealth and the resulting abuse brought about
by extreme economic and political power.
Decades of neglect and inaction by the Anti-Trust Division of the U.S.
Department of Justice – under both Republican and Democratic
administrations – have meant a stunning and lasting disservice to
Americans and to the world at large.
When the pendulum swings, breaking up the mega seed monopolies will be
a good place to start.
|Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.
We’ve Made it Halfway Through Winter in Northern Maine. Yesterday
marked Northern Maine’s halfway point for the Winter. Three
months ago this shot was taken of our first snowfall of 4”which fell on
October 24. Three weeks before that snowfall, we completed potato
harvest in this same field. After harvest we immediately chisel
plowed the field and spun on an oat cover crop. However, October
ran cold and the oats never germinated. Look closely and you can
see a flock of several dozen startled Canadian Geese taking off in
Winter Rye Seed Headed for Maine’s Blue Ox Malthouse. We
harvested a very nice crop of Organic Winter Rye seed last August,
which was planted right after our 2017 potato harvest. We cleaned
and bagged up five tons of the Rye, pictured here, for Caleb to haul
down in his trailer, to young entrepaneur Joel Alex and his ‘Blue Ox
Malthouse’ in Lisbon Falls. The Rye is now going through the malting
process and will soon end up in batches of Maine-made craft Beer.
Parked beside the truck and trailer is a wagon load of 16 wooden pallet
boxes headed down into the cellar for use in our potato pre-grading
Three of Caleb’s Trucks Ready for Work. When
the farmer is a mechanic, there is no shortage of trucks on a
farm. As a sideline, Caleb buys, fixes and sells both entire
trucks and parts out others. He is a loyal Ford man. The
leftmost and rightmost trucks are both diesels and they commonly have a
life of 300,000 or even 400,000 miles. Caleb completely rebuilt
the red & white truck at right from scratch and it’s in mint
condition. Nowadays, a new comparable diesel truck like this one,
with its crew cab, would run one a jaw-dropping $70,000. Back
twenty years ago, a friend who then worked for us noted that such
trucks then cost $35,000, which he wryly commented was more than he
paid for his nice house in Houlton. After dropping off those six
tote sacks of Winter Rye in Lisbon Falls, Caleb loaded on a Ford Ranger
Pickup to bring back home. Traveling in tandem, a buddy drove
back another one-ton Ford flatbed gas job with dually rear wheels which
Caleb had found on Craig’s List.
License Plate on Amy’s Ford Ranger. Caleb’s
sister, Amy, secured her Maine ‘work permit’ Driver’s License in
September. This practical solution allows 15 ½ year old
Maine students with jobs to travel between school, work and home.
This arrangement works out well for kids with ambition. Caleb
found Amy a used Ford Ranger (compact pickup) in excellent condition at
a bargain price. Like a lot of her friends in Aroostook County,
Amy opted to pay $20 extra for an ‘Ag Plate’ (“Support Maine
Agriculture”) registration. The extra fee goes into an “Ag in the
Classroom” kitty established by the Maine Legislature which funds
teacher curriculum for teaching agriculture units to school kids across
the State of Maine.
|Max Planck on Scientific Truth.
|Recipe: Pan Fried Potatoes.
Thinly slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes such as Prairie Blush or Caribou Russet.
a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes until just cooked
through and tender but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and let
dry and cool for a few minutes.
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a cast
iron pan and add the potatoes when when oil is hot. Cook over medium
heat, stirring and tossing regularly until golden, about 15 minutes.
Season with sea salt, fresh herbs such as rosemary, dried tomatoes or crispy bacon.
Wood Prairie Farm Discovery 'Prairie Blush'.
Prairie Blush Meets the Fry Pan and we like the results
Photo by Russell French.
|Mailbox: Wyoming Potatoes, Potato Harvest Break and Huge Tubers.
Your news article on picking potatoes reminded me of
picking potatoes in Johnson County Wyoming for Harold Madsen and John
Kumor nearly 70 years ago. It was after the war, my Mother and Aunt
would pick during the week and kids could join on the week-ends. We
drug big sacks behind us attached at the waist. The money was
wonderful, but best of all were the harvest dinners served at both
farms that were better than a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I think
we looked forward to it more than the money. The women enjoyed the days
away from home and the cash and of course potatoes for the winter.
Women in those days didn't need to go to exercise class they were
strong and fit from working hard every day. We kids learned a lot from
the big variety of workers who showed up to pick potatoes and listening
to all their stories.
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
Potato Harvest Break.
So do Aroostook
County kids have a longer school year to make up the days, or do they
actually get to work inside of the regular calendar? Do schools close
or just have an exemption for farmers?
In the School Districts which participate, schools
completely close down. School Districts in Aroostook County start their
classes up in mid-August - three weeks early - in order to fit the
three-week Potato Harvest Break. Prior to WWII, schools in Aroostook
County started up in November after farming was done for the year and
then ran until mud season in early April. After WWII, some bright bulb
in Augusta had the idea of establishing a mandatory statewide 175-day
school year. Aroostook County responded to this edict by getting
legislation passed which established an accomodation allowing schools
to start up early and hold a "Harvest Break" so long as they held
classes for 175 days. So our tradition of Aroostook kids working the
Harvest really goes back 200 years. "Harvest Break" as we now have it
is over 70 years old and is Aroostook's way of maintaining a great
tradition, getting the potato crop out, and meeting State requirements.
Is this huge
tuber just luck of the draw or can a huge potato be used as seed stock
to produce more huge potatoes? Asks the potato novice.
Since potatoes are vegetatively propagated, most likely
this spud's mother simply benefited from being at the right place at
the right time. Maybe the seed piece only had one eye and grew one
plant that just set this one tuber that didn't have to compete. Maybe
the potato planter tire hit a rock and dumped a triple jolt of chemical
fertilizer close by. Maybe this tuber's plant was down hill of some
ledgey (shallow to bedrock) soil and prospered from rain which funneled
downhill and season-long prevented the plant from getting thirsty.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox