St. John Valley

Organic Farm wins award for new potato

BRIDGEWATER, Maine — Wood Prairie Family Farm in Aroostook County, Maine, has won a 2018 Green Thumb Award for The Organic Potato Plant Detective, named one of the two best new edible plant introductions in the United States.  Honored in the Edible Plants Division, the Award was presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association).    

Winners of the 2018 Green Thumb Awards were selected by an independent panel of garden writers and editors. The winning product was selected based on its uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.

The Green Thumb Awards recognize outstanding new garden products available by mail or online. The awards are sponsored by the eighty-three-year-old Direct Gardening Association (DGA), a nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers via catalogs and websites.

Wood Prairie Family Farm is a second-generation organic farm which has seen members of  the Gerritsen family growing organic crops for over 40 years.  Two years ago Caleb Gerritsen took over the operation from his parents, Megan and Jim Gerritsen, who started the farm in the mid-1970s.  The farm continues to be centered on the production and direct-marketing of MOFGA-Certified Organic seed potatoes and vegetable and grain seed.

“We’re thrilled to have won this Green Thumb Award from the DGA,” said Caleb Gerritsen.  “This marks the fifth time our family has been recognized by the DGA for introducing exceptional plants into the national marketplace.”

This new GTA winner is called The Organic Potato Plant Detective.  It is a special 12-tuber seed potato collection featuring organic Maine Certified Seed potato varieties Island Sunshine and King Harry.

In addition to growing a bountiful crop of delicious potatoes for eating, the two unique Organic Potato Plant Detective varieties perform a detective-like bioassay function, helping growers of all sizes diagnose potato growing problems.

Both are traditionally-bred, Non-GMO varieties. Early-season, round white King Harry was designated king of the Cornell University hairy-leaf-potato breeding program. Cornell has been naturally breeding for potato crosses possessing hairy-leaves or “glandular trichomes” which repel problem insects.

Late-season Island Sunshine, descended from two savory Dutch varieties, was bred by two organic farmer brothers on Prince Edward Island, and is highly regarded for its substantial ability to stand up to diseases like potato late blight.

The Organic Potato Plant Detective serves as a simple and effective diagnostic tool for differentiating whether potato problems are being caused by insect or disease pressure.  The kit comes complete with a how-to plant diagnosis flow chart, organic potato growing guide and recipe booklet.

For more information visit the farm’s website,

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