September 14th, 2018
27 Issue 18
Issue of The Wood
Digging Just Ahead.
New Wood Prairie Fall Catalog
Now Appearing in Your Mail Box.
this Catalog cover photo -taken last Fall - Sarah Gerritsen holds a
lunker 2-pounder Prairie Blush potato as her sister, Amy, looks on.
Local schools here in Northern Maine close on Friday, September 14 for
this year’s Potato
, and that’s when we’ll begin
“digging.” You’ll enjoy the next article which offers a
into what it was like years ago for students to work as a “potato
picker” on an Aroostook County potato farm.
We’re hoping for dry weather from here on out until Aroostook’s potato
crop is safely under cover in October. Wherever you are, we
your yields are large and your harvests go well.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
potatoes in Aroostook County.
Cody Caron on the Martin
Farm in St. Francis, Maine, 2015.
| Remembering Maine Potato
Harvests From Days Gone By.
As a kid, 69-year old John LaChance lived
in Aroostook County, Maine, where schools closed every Fall for 'Potato Harvest Break.’
He and his classmates would work and earn spending money (typically
used to buy clothes) by helping 'pick potatoes' for local farmers. John
has penned a real-to-life
memoir of one day from his potato-picking-past which
recently posted in local Aroostook news publication Fiddlehead
Focus. We think you'll find this piece
Wood Prairie Family
Farm is located in the center of Maine’s
in the potato-farming town of Bridgewater. Our school
made up of other small potato-farming communities. In a tradition
dating back to WWII, local schools will yet again close down for the
three-week 'Potato Harvest Break.’ Like all area
we’ll be helped in our harvest by local students. Prior to
schools up here went back into session in November after Potato Harvest
was completed, and ended for the year in March mud-season before it
became time to
cut potato seed.
After the war, Augusta conjured up the invention of a standardized
state-wide 175-day school-year. Perhaps predictably,
County responded, maneuvered and in-time succeeded in getting a change
in Maine State Law. The new legal accommodation allowed
schools to start up classes early in mid-August, and then close
down a month later in what became known as Potato Harvest Break.
Aroostook County has been raising potatoes for over 200 years and
potatoes remain the single most important centering-point in our local
culture. As Mr.
LaChance's writing reveals the lessons learned from working Fall potato
harvest took real effort and helped build character. The
memories of a worthy tradition last a lifetime.
day, you follow on your knees behind the digger’s last dug rows, and
you fill barrel after barrel. Seemingly addicted to the next number
that follows the last number of the barrel you just filled, you tumble
another basketful of potatoes into another worn barrel that is soon
filled. And, taking off your muddy gloves, you proudly insert your red
ticket number into the barrel cleft.
Caleb, Jim & Megan.
Organic Red Russian Garlic Seed.
one of those simple
quality-of-life crops. Yes, technically, one could live
garlic but why would one want to since it’s so meal-changing and so
easy to grow? For many years we’ve been supplying gardeners and eaters
with our fresh Red
– use it with confidence as seed
or for cooking purposes right now in your kitchen.
Fall is the best time to plant this hardy Rocambole garlic for harvest
next Summer. Garlic appreciates full fertility so consider
when growing your own garlic
Now earn a
1 Lb. Sack of
Organic Red Russian Garlic Seed
(Value $29.95) when your
next order totals just $99 or more. FREE Organic Red Russian
Garlic Seed Offer
ends 11:59 PM on Monday September
17. Please use Promo
. Your order and FREE
Sack of Organic Red Russian Garlic Seed
must ship by
December 7, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please
Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Vegetable Seed.
Russian Garlic. Good for eating, good for planting in the
National Park's Thunderhole.
The mighty power of
a Storm Surge.
| Wild Storm Surge at Thunderhole.
remains one of the major attractions at Acadia National Park along
Maine’s rocky coast. For the last twenty years after we’re
planting and school lets out, our family has gone camping at Acadia
where the breezes blow and there are no Black Flies in June.
With all the justified concern this week over Hurricane Florence
bearing down upon the Carolinas, we were reminded of this remarkable
The rare video captured the impact of one powerful Winter
surge on Thunderhole. It’s well-worth
Caleb, Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Certified Organic Cover Crop Seed.
|Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.
Organic Dorinny Corn Seed on Wood Prairie Family Farm. In
advance of rains forecast for this week, and after a nice dry spell, we
harvested our crop of heirloom Organic
Dorinny Sweet Corn Seed
last Saturday. Here, Caleb is driving our 92-hp Oliver 1850
Diesel tractor. The tractor is pulling our New Idea 323 one-row Corn
Picker. The Corn Picker plucks ears off the stalks, peels the papery
husk off the ear, and using a conveyor deposits the husked ear into the
trailing Gravity Wagon (look close and you will see an ear mid-air en
route into the wagon). Caleb’s sister, Amy (in
hunter-orange-hat), works as a gleaner, walking behind the wagon and
collecting the odd ear left behind by the efficient Corn Picker. The
green carpet underfoot is trampled down Organic
Winter Rye we spun on during the last tractor
cultivation in July. The cereal Rye had grown
almost a foot high.
Wagon Load of
Dorinny Corn Cobs. This
is a photo of field-run Organic Dorinny corn ears as they pile high
into the Gravity Wagon. The ears will need to be completely
de-husked, then dried, sorted, shelled, cleaned and graded.
may find the series of photos of our corn planting efforts
three months ago in the June
15, 2018, edition of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece.
Checking Dorinny Corn Ears Laid Out in Drying
Trays. Homemade 3’ x 8’ drying trays
- with half-inch hardware cloth bottoms - are stacked full with newly
harvested ears of Organic
Dorinny Sweet Corn Seed.
This dry down phase will take a few weeks. The drying process
aided by three inexpensive window fans which blow upward through the
trays of corn.
Re-Built Wisconsin Gas Engine. As
Caleb has had time over the Summer, he has now finished completely
rebuilding what was once the tired Wisconsin 4-cylinder engine in a
Case Skid Steer Loader he bought last year for a bargain price.
Caleb in His
Shop Putting Finishing Touches on ‘New’ Case Skid Steer
a stubborn tube-less tire that was reluctant to hold air, Caleb makes
ready his ‘new’ Case Skid Steer. Now that he has
Steer running, he’s tackling some jobs which have been backed up.
Manure With Skid Steer at Night. With
flurries of insects artfully captured by the camera as
spheres-of-light, Caleb works into the night cleaning manure out of the
barn with his Skid Steer and loads the manure and bedding into our
awaiting dump truck. This Fall, the manure will be hauled and
spread on fields and then disked in. Then these same fields
be planted next year to Organic
Captures Resident Black Bear. As
corn ears begin to develop in our Organic Corn Seed production plots,
we strategically place hidden Game Cams so we can monitor the ingress
and egress of four-footed neighbors who may develop a hankering for
organic corn. Here, our resident Black Bear –featured
in our Wood Prairie Seed Piece issue of July 13, 2018
– was spotted by a Game Cam one night at 9:26 pm, a few weeks
ago. Raccoons are our most common corn
Two low strands of hot electric fence wire helps but doesn’t fully
solve this annual cat-and-mouse game with corn-loving raccoons.
Northern Leopard Frog. We
found this fearless and motionless green Northern Leopard frog one
mid-day last week enjoying the sun-warmed gravel on Kinney
Road. He was positioned almost smack dab in the
the road and had no desire to be anywhere else. With Winter
the way, who could blame this frog for his decision to seize the day?
|Fred Rogers on Comforting.
Rye Pie Crust
1/3 c rye flour
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp fine grain sea
1/2 c salted butter, cut into cubes
3 - 4 T cold water
Pulse ingredients together in food processor or mix by hand, cutting in
the butter. Drizzle cold water and mix until dough comes together.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while preparing tomato filling.
2 medium yellow
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs mix of tomatoes
1/2 tsp fine grain sea
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a bit of flour
zest of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat to saute' the onions and a couple
pinches of salt in the oil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions
are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
While the onions are cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half and leave
the smaller ones whole. Add tomatoes to the caramelized onions along
with the sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a deep pie dish. If
you get the sense that the tomatoes are quite juicy and might release a
lot of liquid, you can toss the mixture with a tablespoon or two of
flour at this point. Sprinkle mixture with lemon zest.
Roll out the pie dough, and use it to cover the tomato mixture, tucking
in the sides a bit. Cut a few slits in the crust and bake in the top
third of the oven until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are
bubbling a bit at the sides, 25-30 minutes.
by Angela Wotton
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox