Print Icon

- Click on Photos to Enlarge -

Snow Coming and Going.

Megan Harvesting Potato Minitubers on Wood Prairie Family Farm in Maine.

    Every year we grow Potato Minitubers from special tissue-cultured Potato Plantlets that arrive in Petri dishes.  This Plantlet grow-out is located inside our hundred-foot-long ‘Short Tunnel’ which is covered with heavy-duty Aphid-Proof-Netting we bring in from France.


     In this photo, on a dreary rainy day Megan has relocated to inside our poly-covered High Tunnel where it is bright, dry and comfortable. She is harvesting Minitubers from Mushroom totes filled with Organic compost. Next year, the entirety of this Minituber Harvest will become the seed needed for planting into the ground inside our ‘Long Tunnel.’  The harvest from that Long Tunnel will be Organic Field-Year-1 Certified Seed.  Then we’ll multiply up that harvested crop for another year or two before that seed lot is ready to sell as Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes to customers like you.  Just like ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat,’ every year we begin anew another class of Potato seed lots grown from little Potato Plantlets.


  We’re now down to the very last bags of Organic Seed Garlic for the year.  If you need some good Garlic please order right away before it’s all gone!


     With the cold weather and snow falling every few days we’ve now shifted over to inside work.  We’re shipping orders, pre-grading our new crop of Organic Seed Potatoes and doing some major construction on our Packing Shed and warehouse.


Thanks so much for your business and support.  Stay warm!

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

Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

Introducing Organic Purple Viking!

Maine Tales. Something's Wrong With Gravity.
     Presque Isle, Maine.  Circa 1983.

Potato Barrels Awaiting Hoisting on Wood Prairie Family Farm.

This shot was taken during Potato Harvest 1992. It is looking westward towards Number Nine Mountain from Shaw South #31 Field.  With our 4-Year-Crop-Rotation we’ll be back on that same field next year, 32 years later, growing yet another crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.  Back in those days of the 1980s & 1990s, we used to dig up our Potato rows with a John Deere Digger and harvest by hand with baskets and barrels.  Those are Organic Yukon Gold Maine Certified Seed Potatoes in the 11-peck Cedar Potato Barrels.  If you look closely you can see the black, hydraulic-powered hoist mounted on the red trailer.  The pivoting hoist had a three-point-barrel-grapple which would grab the barrel at the top just under the top two handsplit  Ash hoops.   Jim is at right wearing the red hat.  In the gray sweatshirt is the then recent Rice University grad Jenn Folk (Muno) who soon would go onto becoming a Goat farmer in Missouri.  With her husband and family she would enjoy success by commercially raising and milking Goats and then making award-winning Goat cheese on their Goatsbeard Farm.

  Ianyone tells you there’s no difference between Organic Potatoes and conventional Potatoes, either they’re pulling your leg or they don’t know what they’re talking about.

A Tough Industry Analyzed.

     With margins mercilessly tight in the over-mature conventional Potato farming business, farmers go to great lengths to push production to the absolute limit.  They commonly deploy copious amounts of commercial fertilizer, sprays (“crop protection inputs”) and irrigation water in a never ending effort to boost yields. 

     Potatoes intended for processing are not only bought by weight (“Hundredweight”), but sizeable ‘bonuses’ are paid to farmers for truckloads of Potatoes that are tip top and oversize.  Enormous-sized Potato tubers have a higher “Recovery Rate” and are therefore more profitable to processers.  ‘High Recovery’ means less of a Potato is discarded as skin and waste and a higher percentage is available to make into saleable French Fries, Potato Chips or some other marketer’s-dream modern industrial processed food product.  Standard recovery rate for Potatoes has hovered around 50%.  Huge Potatoes can increase Recovery to 65-70%, and that notable improvement means substantially more tonnage for a processor to sell as finished product and accordingly, less tonnage to have to dispose of as low-value cattle feed or other low-end uses.

Oil And Gravity.

    Another major cost in the production of French Fries is the cooking oil the Potatoes are fried in.   It’s a fact that the higher solids a Potato has, the less oil that will be soaked into the French Fry. When you are a big processor producing millions of pounds of French Fries, the ebb & flow of oil utilization is a primary concern and there are mega bottom line dollars at stake.

    When a truckload of Potatoes is hauled into a Fry plant, a sample of each load is taken and subjected to an on-the-spot series of rapid tests to determine load metrics such as grade, size, anticipated Recovery and “Specific Gravity.”  Measuring Specific Gravity is the procedure which compares the density of something to that of water (baseline 1.000). The drier a Potato is, the denser it is, and the higher will be its Specific Gravity reading.  High Gravity Potatoes which minimize oil usage become a serious moneymaker for French Fry processors.

About That Organic Difference.

    Properly grown Organic Potatoes not only have exceptional taste, but they are phenomenally nutritious and that nutrient density is extraordinary, pushing them off the Gravity chart.  Mind you, we’re simply dealing with facts and reality here.

    Our friend, Chris Holmes of nearby New Penny Farm, was one of Maine’s pioneer Organic Potato growers.  In the early years his production could out-pace the nascent developing Organic foods marketplace.  One Spring, Chris had thirty or forty barrels – the iconic Aroostook County Potato unit universally recognized as 11 pecks in volume, equaling 165 pounds - of Kennebecs left over and in need of a home.  After making some calls, he decided to sell them to a local French Fry factory, the one known as “Maine Potato Service.”

    So one day Chris shows up at the plant with his Barrel truck filled to the gills with barrels full of some of his nice crop of Organic Kennebecs.  After exchanging pleasantries, the receiver grabs his sample of Chris’ Potatoes.  Using his fancy meter, Mr. Receiver commences to conduct the Specific Gravity test on the load of anxious Kennebecs.  After the first test, a quizzical look comes across the face of Mr. Receiver.  Then he conducts a second test.  Finally and with consternation he blurts out to Chris, “There’s something wrong with this friggin’ meter!”   Unable to grasp the conundrum, he regroups and now runs his third test.  Defeated, drained of patience and in utter exasperation, he exclaims, “These Gravity readings are all off the chart!  This meter must be broke.  OK, you’ve waited around long enough.  Go on in and empty your load.”

Stone Faced Silence.

     Possessing a good measure of dry New England wit and resolve Chris, feigning blissful ignorance, remained stone-faced and silent.  He never once let on to Mr. Receiver just what was going on with that mysterious load of incognito Gravity-defying Organic Kennebecs.


Megan's Kitchen Recipes:
Shepherd's Pie

14 T butter

2 lbs lamb shoulder (or beef), trimmed and cut into 1/2" cubes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 T flour

1 1/2 c beef stock or water

1 T worcestershire sauce

1 T finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 T finely chopped thyme leaves

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 c peas

3 large Caribou Russet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and quartered

1/2 c half-and-half

Melt 2 T of the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add one-third of the lamb or beef and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate and repeat the process two more times, using 2 T of the butter each batch. Add onion and carrots to pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook until softened, scraping up any browned bits, 3-4 minutes. Return lamb or beef and its juices to pot along with flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in stock or water, worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 35 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in peas and set aside.

Meanwhile, put potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and add 6 T of butter, half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste. Mash smooth with a potato masher.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Transfer meat and vegetable mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish. Top evenly with mashed potatoes. Cut remaining 2 T butter into small cubes; scatter over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6.


Quick Links to Popular Products.


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