Organic News and Commentary
From Maine
            Friday, October 26th, 2018
                 Volume 27 Issue 21


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Snow Already?

     Firewood Effort on Wood Prairie Family Farm Snowed Out.   This photo looking west towards the mountains was taken this morning, two days after Wednesday’s snowstorm.  Since the end of harvest - as time has allowed - we have been working on getting in firewood.  By the time this week’s snow, we had already split & stacked 15 pallet boxes worth of firewood, most of what we’ll need to get us through the next Winter a year from now.
       Thankfully, we had completed all of our harvests and Fall field work just before the snowfall.   In this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece we use photographs - mostly taken by Sarah Gerritsen - to tell tales of farm activity in the weeks since the end of our Potato Harvest.
      Locally, most all potato farmers completed their wet and drawn-out harvest over the last weekend.  A few farmers still have potatoes out in the field, undug and under the snow.  Time will tell but it may be impossible for them to dig what remains.  The forecast for tonight is again in the mid-teens.  With the cold weather we’ve been experiencing, frost-damage in the remaining undug potatoes has passed from possibility to likelihood.
     We hope wherever you are that you have enjoyed a good year and that your harvests have been abundant.   We have been shipping organic seed potatoes every day over the past six weeks to folks in the South and other mild areas, wanting to get a head start with Fall potato planting.
Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Calves Enjoying Pasture on Wood Prairie Family Farm. Earlier this month, while the leaves were still turning color, Lawrence (left) and Petunia enjoy a crisp Fall day.  Petunia is a Irish Dexter x Low-Line Angus cross born here on our farm.  We bought Lawrence from another Aroostook County organic farmer.  He is a Hereford x Jersey cross.  These two calves have become great friends and are now inseparable.

Wood Prairie Herd of Irish Dexter Cattle. This shot was taken on the same day as the two calves above.   Dexters excel in converting grass into both meat and milk.  With Maine’s reliable rain we can grow a lot of grass.  This field was cut for hay back in July.  Six weeks later our cows were fenced here in order to transform grass (solar energy) into protein. 

Piglets on Pasture Having a Drink.  Everyone’s snug, warm and dry on a thick pile of organic hay bedding in their A-Frame pasture shelter.  This shot is of one of our heritage American Guinea Hog sows nursing her Fall litter of piglets.  Most of the time our two Guinea hog families are outside foraging but as seen here, there’s always time for a drink and a nap.

The Lone Ranger.  This brave and curious piglet wanted to investigate Sarah as she positioned herself to take this photo.  While it’s not easy to grasp this piglet’s size from the photo, in reality he is only about the size of a loaf of Banana Bread.  His family was not far away and soon he quickly ran to the safety of Mom.  Three days later this shot was taken, he and his siblings would have their first experience with snow.

Spreading Manure on 2019 Potato Fields on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  We usually do this barnyard manure-spreading job in June.  However, this year we couldn’t get to it until just last weekend, after the completion of potato harvest.  Here, Caleb is using the Skidsteer to load a mixture of manure and bedding into our International 530 Manure Spreader.

Manure Spreader at Work.  We finished spreading manure in the evening last Sunday.  The day had been cloudy, windy and brisk in the mid to high 30s.   Jim is bundled up with layers, turned around and watching the PTO (power take off) powered manure spreader to make sure the “bed chain” is properly feeding the load of manure into the “beaters”  which evenly spread the manure backwards and a little bit sideways.

Caleb Discing Under Manure. Following the spreading of manure, the next day, Monday, Caleb used our John Deere Disc Harrow to incorporate the manure into the soil. Halee our livestock guard dogis on high ground supervising operations.  This disking was the final task in this Fall’s field work.  Next year, these manured home farm fields will be planted to Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.

October Snowfall on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  After a pretty mild September, our October has been cold.  This 4” snowfall began falling Wednesday at daylight and that snow is still with us.  We had spent Tuesday putting away firewood, farm equipment and pallet boxes. We had a nearby neighbor, Doss Morse, who was born in 1899.  His birthday was October 6.  Doss once related to us that one year - long ago- it snowed during Potato Harvest on his birthday and that snow didn’t leave until the next April.  Now, every year when we get to October, we always think of Doss and we always keep one eye on the calendar.

Special Offer: FREE Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes.

     Caribou Russet is a handsome and promising new potato release from the University of Maine.  It was named after the Aroostook County town of Caribou - heavily steeped in potato history - and located about 30 miles north of Wood Prairie Family Farm.  As well, “Caribou” is the name soil scientists gave to the world-class Aroostook potato soil, famously known in potato circles as “Caribou Loam.” 

     Caribou Russet is rated as having very good culinary quality, and is especially good for mashing or baking.  Unusual for russets, it is a Mid-Season variety.  That early-maturing quality combined with its moderate set of tubers per plant earns Caribou Russet the recommendation of shorter in-row spacing that other russets, such as Butte (which is unavailable this year as we multiply up our seed stock) require.

     We think you’ll want to give this new variety a try.  We’ll make it easy!  Earn yourself a FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes (Value $11.95) when your next order totals $49 or more.  FREE Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday October 29.  Please use Promo Code WPFF438. Your order and FREE Sack of Organic Caribou Russet Certified Seed Potatoes must ship by May 5, 2019. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please order TODAY!

Click Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Certifiede Maine Seed Potatoes.

Elie Wiesel on Injustice.

Recipe: Zucchini and Potato Gratin.
1/2 lb waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin
3/4 lb summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/16" slices
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 c fresh oregano leaves
1/4 fresh Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c unsalted butter
2 c fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 c grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated on a box grater

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rub a 9x9" baking dish with a bit olive oil.

Place the zucchini slices into a colander placed over a sink, toss with the sea salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes to let them drain a bit and go on to prepare the oregano sauce and bread crumbs.

Make the sauce by pureeing the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil in a food processor or using a hand blender. Set aside.

Make the breadcrumbs by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is fragrant and has turned brown. Wait two minutes, then stir the breadcrumbs into the browned butter.

Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano sauce. Toss until everything is well coated. Add the cheese and half the bread crumbs and toss again.

Transfer the squash and potatoes to the baking pan, top with the remaining bread crumbs, and bake for 40 - 50 minutes - it will depend on how thinly sliced the squash and potatoes are. Remove from oven and drizzle with the remaining oregano sauce.

Serves about 8 as a side. Megan.

Click Here For Our Specialty Organic Kitchen Potatoes.


Zucchini and Potato Gratin.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox