August 31st, 2018
27 Issue 17
Issue of The Wood
All of A Sudden Fall.
Maine Potato Harvest,
1950s there were very few Potato Harvesters in Aroostook County. Here a
farmer uses a John Deere 30 to dig potatoes. Hand Pickers pick supuds
into baskets and empty into barrels.
Aroostook had pioneered the efficient
harvest system centered around 11-peck cedar potato
barrels. Back then, every farm needed hundreds of
barrels for harvest and there were thousands of small independent
family potato farms, just in Maine alone.
many cooperages throughout Aroostook County determined to meet this big
need for new barrels. By 1977,when Jim started working
winters as a cooper at Bridgewater Barrel – destined to become the last
surviving Aroostook cedar stave cooperage- the heyday had passed as
more and more farmers either got done farming or switched over to the
more labor-efficient Harvesters.
Herein 2018 Maine,
we’re getting ready for “Digging.” Local schools close in two
short weeks for our annual Potato Harvest Break. That’s when
we will begin.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Ledge Lighthouse. Mouth of Portland Harbor. Circa December
One of the spectacular photographs by the talented
Robert Bukaty in his stunning photo essay just out in The Atlantic
| Photo Essay: Daily Life in Maine.
You won’t want to miss this stunning
photographic essay, Daily
Life in Maine, by photographer Robert Bukaty, now
appearing in The
collection of thirty-six brilliant Maine photos gathered from Mr.
Bukaty’s sterling career.
Caleb, Jim & Megan
Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Organic Turkey Red Wheat Seed.
Lots of you have been ordering Organic
Turkey Red Wheat
this Fall and we’ve been
shipping out orders every day! The window is now open for
planting this high quality bread wheat for a fun harvest next
Summer. As a fast-growing cereal, Turkey Red can
also be used as a soil-saving cover crop.
Turkey Red is an
heirloom landrace Hard Red Winter Wheat (HRWW) carried by Mennonites in
1874 from Russian to their new home in Kansas. In the last 25
years, it was brought back from the brink of extinction by 5th
generation organic farmer Bryce Stephens and family in western Kansas.
Now earn a FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack (enough for sowing
500 square feet) of Organic Turkey Red Wheat Seed
$9.95) when your next order totals just $49 or more. FREE Organic Turkey Red Wheat Seed
ends 11:59 PM on Labor Day, Monday September
3. Please use Promo
. Your order and FREE Sack of Organic Turkey Red Wheat
Cover Crop Seed
must ship by September 30, 2018. Offer may
not be combined with other offers. Please order today!
Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Cover Crop Seed.
Wheat. Top-notch Heirloom Landrace Winter Bread Wheat.
|Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.
& Penstock, Mingus Mill, Great Smoky Mountains National
Several of you have said you would like to see more photos - beyond
those shown in the last
issue of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece - of the
operating turbine-powered Mingus Mill, originally built in 1886 we
recently visited. Located on the North Carolina side of Great
Smoky Mountains National Park, here is the first of three
shots. This one shows the Log Crib that supports the
Sluiceway which diverts a portion of the water from a nearby stream to
fill the 15-foot tall Penstock. The square and
hollow Penstock is made of sawed 2”x6” planks, laid flat (brick-like)
and nailed securely, featuring alternating overlapped corners.
Housing Connected to Iron Pipe Connected to Penstock.
The 15-foot tall Penstock creates a steady fifteen pounds of
head. Water exits the bottom of the Penstock through the iron
pipe. The bolted-on buldge at the near end of that iron pipe
is the housing which contains the cast-iron Turbine.
Turbine. The heart of the Mingus Grist Mill –
in its era the largest in the Smokies - is the water-powered cast-iron
Turbine. This Turbine, connected to a vertical shaft, enters
through the floor of the Mill. It generated 12-horsepower,
enough to run the many cleaning and milling functions carried on in the
mill. The first water turbines had been invented
back in the 1820s.
Pond, North Maine Woods. Back here in Maine,
Deboullie Pond is the beautiful star of the State of Maine’s isolated Deboullie Public Reserved Land,
located 60 miles Northwest of Wood Prairie Family
Farm. Owned collectively by the people of
Maine, use of campsites along the shore is free-of-charge.
However, you’ll need to pay at the gatehouse near Portage to use area
roads which are maintained by the paper companies whose land surrounds
this wild 21,871 acre public reserve.
Annual Campout at Deboullie Pond. Last week,
Caleb and his sister Sarah – and ten more friends – enjoyed an
end-of-Summer Farmer Vacation of five days at Deboullie Pond.
Virtually all twelve have worked on our family farm at one time or
another over the years. Here, eight of them are crammed into
Caleb’s more-or-less water-tight boat. Justin (rightmost),
Caleb’s buddy and former Wood Prairie co-worker, recently picked up
that red boat in the distance for a song because its motor was
broken. After a couple of night’s tinkering, Justin got the
motor running right and brought boat along for this trip.
Dexters Enjoying Knee-Deep Red Clover. We cut
this field for hay on July 3. Now Megan’s Irish Dexter cows
are grazing the regrowth which has come up thick in Medium
Red Clover. Little Petunia – our new
Lowline Angus-Dexter cross calf is almost hidden by the lush
clover. She is fifth-in-line by her mother next to the fence.
Organic Winter Rye from Massey 300 Combine Into Gravity
Wagon. The day after we finished digging
potatoes from this field last October, we sowed it to cereal
Organic Winter Rye. Then this Spring we
seed - which over the Summer has grown over
knee-high. Now Rye harvest is behind us. Here, Jim
is using the auger to empty the combine's hopper and transfer Winter
Rye into the awaiting "Gravity Wagon."
on Wood Prairie Family Farm. No doubt
influenced by their incredible cuteness, the Ducklings Deal at our
local Tractor Supply store was too much for Sarah to pass up. So now we
have 2 Black Swedish, 4 Mallards (Brownish-colored), and 3 White Pekins
(Yellow). We supplement their feed with greens – especially
weeds – and they are always enthusiastic eaters.
Ducklings. Bedded down safe and sound, on dry
sawdust, our sleepy Ducklings snuggle up and sleep in a heap.
|Mahatma Ghandi on Priorities.
Apple Cranberry Drop Cookies.
1 cup grated raw potato
(use fine blade on grater)
1 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped or grated finely
1 ½ tsp grated orange rind
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare first 4 ingredients and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars; beat in egg and milk. Sift flour and dry
ingredients, stir into butter mixture until well-blended. Stir in
potato and fruit mixture. Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake 12-15 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.
A Tasty Treat
for Harvest Time.
by Angela Wotton
Rainy Weather Blues and ROP & ROC.
Rainy Weather Blues
I live in New Jersey and have bought
potatoes from you guys for quite a few years now and have had great
success. This year my entire crop got decimated and I am not really
sure why. I grow in barrels (3 different barrels) and all 3 barrels had
the same thing happen. The potatoes grew as normal, I buried them as
they grew, they started to flower and then one by one all of my plants
died. They all rotted on the main stem below the soil level (and
smelled putrid). This has been a VERY rainy year for us could that have
been a cause? Should I get rid of that soil if it might be a fungus?
Also is it too late to start a new batch of potatoes to get a crop
before the winter hits. Is there a type you could recommend if so?
I would guess that with all the rain
this year you may have met the three requirements of the Potato Late
Blight "Disease Triangle" - host, environment and
inoculum. Late blight spores can travel 50 miles and there
are some strains of PLB which affect tomatoes and that could explain
your potato's access to inoculum.
I think that switching the soil in your containers would be a good idea
before you plant a nightshade like potatoes, peppers or tomatoes. You
could still use that existing soil for unrelated crops like lettuce,
spinach or chard.
ROP & ROC
explain the difference between "ROP" and "ROC" ?
("Real Organic Project") is a voluntary grassroots "Add-On" program
created by organic family farmers which builds upon pre-requisite
USDA-NOP organic certification. ROP recognizes good organic
farming by family farmers and focuses on key traditional organic
production practices which are important to organic consumers, organic
family farmers and organic integrity.
The program credentials participating organic family farmers who adhere
to these critical and meaningful production practices. Many
of these essential traditional practices are not followed by large,
new-entry corporate operations. Some practices, despite being
required under the OFPA law (Organic Foods Production Act of 1990) and
the resulting ‘Final Rule’ are not enforced by USDA. Some
examples of our good practices include organic family farmers who treat
their livestock humanely, and who also only grow crops in-the-soil
in-the-ground and who therefore do not utilize soil-less production
systems, known under the broad heading as "Hydroponics.”
Soil-less Hydroponics are an illegal production system under the
provisions of OFPA.
The ROP program provides identity in
the marketplace for organic family farmers who have shown commitment to
farming well and with integrity. The ROP program
differentiates these authentic or "real" organic family farmers from
fake and illegal corporate CAFOs and Hydroponic operations.
ROC ("Regenerative Organic
Certification") is a program invented by Rodale Institute which
promotes "regenerative" production practices centered around soil
health, animal welfare, and fairness for farmers and farm workers.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox