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Drier Days Ahead.

Harvesting Organic Seed Potatoes On Wood Prairie Family Farm.

This photo of our Wood Prairie Potato Harvest was taken on a dry day last week. Caleb is driving the White 135 Diesel tractor (note the added 1200 pounds of weights added to the tractor front to counterbalance the heavy weight of the Lockwood 4620 Aire Harvester). Justin drives the International truck with a 140-Barrell Bulk Body which is fed by the boom coming from the Lockwood. Jim (blue t-shirt) and Adam (out of view) sort the rocks from the Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes on the green Harvester.

Maine Weather Report. September has continued wet and we’ve now received over 28” of rain since the year turned wet back on May 21. That’s twice the 14” of water it takes to grow a crop of Potatoes. The hot weather we experienced the first week in September quickly dissipated and since then, the month has remained seasonably cool but with no signs of frost yet. The weather forecast is calling for a nice string of sunny and dry days ahead which is the answer to Maine farmers’ prayers.

    Organic Seed Potatoes Available NOW for Early Pre-Order!  We are now accepting orders for our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes in small sack sizes for shipment in Fall, Winter or Spring.  When our Potato Harvest is completed, we’ll sort out what seed we need for us to plant back next Spring.  After that, for many of our varieties we’ll open up larger bag-size-units for sale.  Then, we’ll begin shipping new crop Seed Potato orders by early November and continue every week through the Winter and Spring.


   Featured In This NEW Wood Prairie Seed Piece. In this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece we feature Photos and Farm Stories from this year’s Harvest.  Plus a terrific opportunity to test grow for FREE one of the best Potatoes to be released in years!  Our limited-time Offer for FREE Huckleberry Gold Organic Seed Potatoes.


     Thanks for your support. We hope you enjoy the Fall and that your harvests will be huge!

Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm

Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

Special Offer! FREE Organic Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes!

Huckleberry Gold Yields Great and Has Delicious Golden-Flesh!

Place a NEW Order and Receive a FREE Wood Prairie 1 lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified Huckleberry Gold Seed Potatoes ($19.99 Value) with a Minimum $70 Order.

FREE Huckleberry Gold must ship with order and no later than 05/03/24.

Wood Prairie Family Farm Stories.

Northern Maine Dodges Tropical Storm Lee.  

The State of Maine usually gets missed by Hurricanes, but not always.  Sometimes,  Hurricanes or downgraded Tropical Storms, will impact Maine with rain and wind, and that most typically will impact southern and central Maine, especially along the coast.  Much rarer is a Hurricane which makes first landfall in Downeast Maine.  We are inland 150 miles north of the point where Downeast Maine abuts Canada, and that was the area forecasters had expressed concerns that Hurricane Lee would make landfall.  In the end, Lee veered eastward towards Nova Scotia and had lost some strength prior to making landfall.  So, the impact on coastal Maine was less than anticipated, but still amounted to several inches of rain, strong winds and power outages.  As our collection of rain gauges attests, Lee gave us a couple of inches of rainfall and steady, strong winds for thirty-six hours.  Despite the wind, we never did lose power.

Another Wet Maine Potato Harvest Was Back in 2010.

This year in Northern Maine it’s been wet with barely any let up since May.  Thankfully, there was no Potato Late Blight reported this year anywhere in Maine or neighboring New Brunswick, Canada.  That freedom from PLB is primarily due to the string of recent hot & dry years we’ve been getting, which dried up the source of inoculum necessary to trigger PLB infections.  It’s been ten years since we’ve had as wet a growing season as this one.  Back in that era, we experienced similar wet Potato Harvests in 2010, 2011 and 2013.  This photograph was taken in September 2010 by New Zealand visual storyteller Lottie Hedley who spent that Fall with us documenting life on a family Potato farm. She put these photos together into a series she called Rural Harvest.  In this shot, we had chained together two tractors in order to pull our Finnish Juko Potato Harvester through the mud.  Caleb is driving the Oliver 1650 Diesel on the right.  Jim is driving the 1850 Oliver Diesel attached to the red Juko.  Jim is signaling to Caleb with his arm for Caleb to hold up.  Megan (white sweatshirt) walks back to the crew waiting on the Juko.  We made it through that harvest.  We’ll make it through this harvest!

Caleb Checking Control Panel Connections on the ‘New’ Lockwood Harvester.

Sitting in the cab of our 135-horsepower White 135 Diesel tractor Caleb, troubleshoots a connection on the intricate two-row Lockwood Potato Aire Harvester control panel.  For a late 1990s machine this Lockwood has relatively low hours.  It’s first two Aroostook County Potato farmer-owners both kept this Harvester in reserve as a backup should the Fall turn wet and nasty.  Fred, the third owner and the retiring seed farmer we bought the machine from, was a careful and meticulous grower who only grew a moderate acreage of Potatoes.  So, the machine is in good shape.  In exchange for the Lockwood’s added operational complication, compared to our much simpler one-row Juko Harvester, we receive superior mechanical separation of Potatoes from rocks and clods – that means less human labor - thanks to the powerful and ingenuous Air-head vacuum separator.  This behemoth Lockwood is 28-feet long and utilizes a color-monitoring-screen in the cab, linked to three cameras, which ascertains Potato flow at three key locations not visible to the operator in the cab.  That expanded-metal sheeting attached to the Lockwood, through which this shot was taken, prevents an overly-enthusiastic worker from crowning Caleb with an ancient  glacial rock.

Replacing the Clutch in Our White 135 Tractor.

Late in the afternoon on the day before T.S. Lee arrived, we finished digging the Organic Seed Potatoes from one field.  Then Caleb babied the White 135 with its ailing clutch into the shop.  Almost every ‘new’ used tractor we buy ends up needing a new clutch sooner than later. This need appeared during harvest despite purposefully deploying the 135 for previous Summer and Fall tillage work to try and expose the need for any repairs ahead of Potato harvest.  So, it’s about like buying a used car in Maine.  Dollars to donuts you’ll need to buy a new battery before Christmas when the early cold exposes the worn-out-condition of the old 'Summer' battery.  In this photo, Caleb is using the forks on a Clark forklift to lift out the engine, being guided by Justin. Justin’s son, two-year-old red-headed Jack (with blue Logger sweatshirt) is thrilled to be included in the action.  Once the engine was removed, the boys could determine exactly what clutch-assembly parts needed to be replaced.  A quick call to our friend Andy, across the line in Canada, confirmed he had in-stock every part we needed .  Once we had the parts, it took only half a day to put everything back together.  Ready to go and on to dry ground.

The Bounty From This Year’s Wood Prairie Tomato Harvest.

As obsessed as we must sound focused on growing Organic Seed Potatoes our main crop, the fact is we do grow other crops as well.   Like many of you, our family is extremely fond of Tomatoes. The addition of Tomatoes to salads and sandwiches is something we dream about and look forward to all Winter and Spring.  Considering how grey it’s been this year in Maine, we’re happy with how this year’s Tomato crop turned out so well. As remarkable Organic varieties, this year’s Tomatoes are all sweet and very meaty.  Almost 40 years ago, back when we sold at the Farmers Market, we had one cool Summer and didn’t harvest a single red tomato from our field plot.  Bound and determined to do better, that Winter we built our first portable metal Tunnel.  The next Spring we covered the metal frame with greenhouse poly and grew a bountiful harvest of delicious, huge, red, ripe Tomatoes.  We’ve never looked back and ever since we have always grown our Tomatoes inside a poly-covered High tunnel.  This practice gives us reliably early and bigger harvests.  The Tomatoes pictured here are (clockwise from lower left): Organic Cherokee Purple, Organic Pruden’s Purple, Organic Cosmonaut Volkov, Organic Spreckled Roman and Organic Orange Banana.


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Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 / 207 (429) - 9682

Wood Prairie Family Farm | 49 Kinney Rd. Bridgewater, ME 04735