Organic News and Commentary
From Maine
                  Friday, July 13th, 2018
                  Volume 27 Issue 14


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

  Hot Daze.

     Maine Black Bear on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  Over the last weeks we've seen this yearling Black Bear hanging out in a distant corner of our clover hay field. In fact, last week when Caleb was mowing this field for hay, he had to dismount from the tractor in order to clear away a fallen branch. He could hear nearby rustling in the bushes and concluded it was this same bear moving around.
     We cut that clover field right before the 4th of July, and baled that hay up this first of the week. Later in this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece we have some photos to share which details the steps involved in making hay. Also, do not miss the great Audubon photos coming up!

     Our cool Spring has transitioned to some record hot weather for Maine beginning late in June. Moisture-wise Aroostook County is falling behind keeping up with the water needs of potatoes. Soon, here on Wood Prairie Family Farm we'll be done hoeing the potatoes. Then the plan  is to set up irrigation for potatoes from our ponds.
Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Bridgewater, Maine
View The High Flying Audubon Photography Contest Winners.

Great Grey Owl, Teton County, Wyoming. Winner of the Grand Prize.

           Do yourself a favor and block out some quality time to view and appreciate these amazing Top 100 winning photographs from the 2018 Audubon Photography Awards.   The 'Atlantic' has teamed up with the 'National Audubon Society' to display the best one hundred from among the 8000 photographic entries submitted from all fifty states and ten Canadian provinces.

       These winning photos are each accompanied by full explanatory captions which serve to really increase the enjoyment of the collection.  Don’t miss them!

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seeds.
Special Offer: FREE Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed.

      Organic Buckwheat is our favorite warm-season cover crop.  It is sensitive to frost so do plant anytime after risk of Spring frost has past.  Not only is it an excellent cover crop but the young Buckwheat greens are edible and delicious as a spinach substitute.   Organic Buckwheat improves the tilth of the soil and roots brings up Phosphorus from deep in the soil making P available for succeeding crops.  Organic Buckwheat is forgiving if your soil should be less than fully fertile.  It is ready to incorporate in a remarkably short 8 weeks after planting (at 1% bloom).  It’s lush, rank growth smoothers out weedy competition.
      We’re firm believers that  it’s always best to keep sacks of organic cover crop seed on hand, just as you would keep around extra organic fertilizer or organic potting mix.  Having an Organic Cover Crop seed supply on hand allows you to immediately sow a protective soil cover crop as soon as one corner of the garden becomes harvested.  

     We’ll help you get a start on developing your own supply of Organic Cover Crop seed.   Earn a FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack (enough for sowing 500 square feet) of Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed (Value $9.95) when your next order totals just  $39 or more. FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack of Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, July 16, so please act now!   Please use Pormo Code WPFF431. Your order and FREE 2.5 Lb. Sack of Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed must ship by August 30, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please click today! 

Click Here for Our Organic Wood Prairie Cover Crop Seed.

Organic Buckwheat Cover Crop Seed. Now is the time to plant this excellent warm-season cover crop.
Wood Prairie Family Farm Photos.

Wood Prairie Family Farm’s Caleb Gerritsen Mowing Clover Hay.  Using our 1968 Oliver 1850 Diesel tractor and our New Idea mower –conditioner, Caleb cuts a ten-foot-swath of mixed clover and grass which is then “conditioned” by  running it through a pair of rubber rollers – much like the wringer on old wringer-washers – which crimp the stems and allow the hay to dry faster up and down the stem’s full length.

Tom Tedding Hay with a Pequea 710 Hay Tedder.  We fluff up the hay as it is drying every day between mowing and baling with our hay ted.  This tedding permits the breeze to blow through the windrow, allowing hay on the bottom a better chance to dry.  Compared to grass hay, clover is slow to dry.

Caleb Raking Hay Right Before It’s Baled.  Using neighbor Ethan Bradstreet's 2-85 White tractor (Oliver was bought out by White and the 2-85 is a slightly newer version of the 1850) and two New Holland ground-drive hay rakes hooked-up-in-series, Caleb makes short work of the hay field with large windrows of hay ready for the high capacity baler.

Big Round Hay Baler.  Attached to Ethan’s 155 White tractor is their New Holland baler which made short work of our 10 acre hay field, baling all the hay in about an hour.  While we own an old square baler,  we are ever conscious of increasing labor costs and we’ve been switching to round bales in order to cut down the labor in making hay.  The machine-handled round bales each weigh 800 pounds – equivalent to about twenty small “square” bales, handled multiple times by hand.

Thoreau on Living Deliberately.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Croissants.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp organic yeast
2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp sugar (can use less)
2 Cups milk (whole or 2%)
1lb butter (at 65ºF)
Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1Tbsp milk) optional

Bring the milk to room temperature in a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Whisk the dry ingredient into the milk and then knead for 5-7 minutes, or mix in stand mixer on medium for about 4 minutes. Proof in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.

Turn the dough onto lightly floured surface, fold the dough, then refrigerate in an air tight (or almost air tight) container for about 2 hours.
Using parchment or waxed paper, create an 8 x 8 inch square slab out of the pound of butter. Place the wrapped butter slab in the fridge.

Take the butter out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you take out the dough so it has a chance to soften a little. You want the butter to be slightly pliable (about 65 degrees) at the time you take the dough out of the fridge.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about a 14 x 14 inch square. Place the butter in the center of the dough with the corners of the butter in the center of the straight edges of the dough (a square of dough with a diamond of butter in the middle).

One at a time, fold the corners of the dough towards the center of the butter, overlapping the dough folds as you go.
All the butter must be contained in the dough package.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle enough so it can be folded into three sections, letter style.

Wrap the dough package in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Repeat this rolling, folding and refrigerating process three more times for a total of four folds. (Only about 20 in the fridge is necessary between the 2nd and 4th folds.)
After the 4th fold and yet another period in the fridge, the dough is now ready to use, or it can be kept in the refrigerator overnight and used the next morning.
Roll the dough into a rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick all over.

Make the desired shapes and treats, let proof in a warm spot for about two hours or until somewhat risen and kinda puffy, (time depends on the proofing temperature). Lightly brush with egg wash before or after proofing (optional).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees before the dough has finished proofing. Bake for about 15 -20 minutes, until golden brown.



Whole Wheat Croissants.
Photo by Angela Wotton
Mailbox: Aware People and Brash Whiners.

Aware People

     We, my wife and I, have been growing your seed potatoes since 2007. We started with a 12 x 8 plot on our 0.4 acre lot in Helmetta, NJ. We moved to Cream Ridge NJ, which has wonderful glacial loam deposits, "cream" refers to the soil. Now we have a 2100 square foot plot, with three 70 ft rows dedicated to potatoes. I don't buy as many from you as I used to, because I have some of my own seed crop. Last year we harvested about 300 lbs. The problem is our storage facility is not cool enough and humidity is not correct. Potato beetles are controlled with hand picking, Neem oil, and if they get really bad-spinosad-Captain Jack deadbug. We stayed ahead of them this year, no chemicals whatsoever.
     We love what you're doing and your activism. The US food supply system is a shame, nice system for big pharma and western medicine makes for plenty of sick people, a basic guarantee when one eats non-food every day.
     On a lighter note, people are becoing aware. Thanks for your great product.

Cream Ridge, NJ

Thanks for taking the time to write to tell us your potato story. I think you're also right that more and more people are putting together the critical connection between good diet and good health. As a public high school sophomore in 1970 I was very fortunate to take a Physiology 101 course from a way-ahead-of-the-curve instructor who with her MD husband were what today would be called "good food activists" My experience is, once the dots are connected, there's no going back. Thanks again.

Brash Whiners

It is unfortunate that the executive branch has almost complete discretion as to which laws it enforces.


     Some years back during our 'OSGATA et al v. Monsanto' lawsuit I was invited to keynote at PIELC (Public Interest Environmental Law Conf) in Eugene OR. Another speaker was a forer VERY top level official in Janet Reno's (Bill Clinton's Attorney General) US. DOJ. All the keynoters were put up at the same Bed & Breakfast. During one rather tense breakfast, in an effort to put me back in my place, I was schooled that DOJ investigates situations when an agency like USDA invites DOJ in. I objected that American taxpayers expect DOJ to dispense justice, including investigating corrupted agencies like USDA which, of course, would never voluntarily invite DOJ investigation. He was not pleased to hear my impertinent opinion. I concluded he had been in Washington DC long enough to have drunk the water, conform himself to the system ('swamp'), and was content to imagine he had been doing all the good anyone possibly could in his position. I also reckon he judged me a brash whiner. Meanwhile, USDA continues in its downward spiral and family farmers and consumers are the chief victims.


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