At the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show last month, I was thrilled to be able to find a booth by the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This is company owned by two men who sell heirloom and open pollinated seeds grown in the New York and Hudson Valley region and suitable for that region. What does that mean? That means that if you’re gardening in that part of the country, these seeds are uniquely suitable for you!
Not only that, the seeds are not coming from the big agri-businesses so you should not have to worry about them being contaminated by any sort of GMO seed or any sort of “Round-up ready” seed. These are seeds grown by local interests in the area. This is just the sort of business I like to support, and I did buy 3 packets of seeds at the show, including 2 of their lovely art packs.
The art packs feature the works of artists of the region (and then the seeds are separately packaged inside). You can read more about the three types of seed that this company sells–Art packs, library packs, and garden packs–at the web site link, above.
Another great source for heirlooms and one I’ve also done business with for years is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They offer 1,400 varieties of open-pollinated seed from their catalog in Mansfield Missouri.
From my perspective, and a little closer to home, I’m thrilled and delighted that the owners of Baker Creek, the Gettle family, have bought Comstock Ferre & Co. in Wethersfield, CT. Their plan is to offer regional seeds appropriate to New England and they have already sold out of Wethersfield red onion starts for this season, although the seeds are available.
Local readers of this blog should save the weekend of June 5 for the big 200th anniversary celebration over at Comstock Ferre. I know the Gettles will be having a huge celebration. Plan to be there!
Finally to read more about heirloom seeds in general, and whether they are “better” than hybrids or not, check out this article that appeared in the New York Times just last Thursday. I’d drafted this whole post before the article appeared and then they did a 4-page article on heirlooms versus hybrids and which might be better (the verdict: a well-grown backyard vegetable is better than store bought any day of the week. As for heirloom versus hybrid–well, the debate continues.) It’s an interesting read, however and gives more sources for seeds, including the organic High Mowing Seeds of Vermont, which I’ve also grown from.
Heirloom Seeds relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.