The first place we visited on our trip through New England was Comstock, Ferre & Co. They are the oldest continuously operated seed company in the United States, they started back in 1820. Comstock, Ferre was recently purchased by Baker Creek, one of my favorite sources for heirloom seeds. They had just reopened before we visited (in early October) so I was happy to be able to stop by.
The store was beautifully decorated for the season both inside and out; Indian corn, pumpkins, gourds and all other sorts of things. There was quite a wonderful display out front of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.
The inside was filled with Baker Creek Heirloom seeds along with a lot of beautiful antique things from the original store. There were large wooden cabinets with seed packs glued to the fronts of them and big wooden filing cabinets labeled with seeds varieties. There was also a sort of museum in one room featuring old seed saving, sorting and packaging equipment. I was told they are hoping to use this equipment when they start selling Comstock, Ferre Seeds again.
While I was visiting, Jere Gettle, the owner of Baker Creek, happened to be there as well (what are the chances?). We chatted for a while and he told me all about their plans for the future for Comstock, Ferre & Co. They’re hoping to turn the grounds into a show garden and the store will focus on heirloom varieties from New England. They plan on using the grounds for community and educational events.
In a world dominated by GMO’s and genetic contamination, I’m a big proponent of growing heirlooms. I’m very thankful for the things Baker Creek does to help preserve heirloom plants. We would be in quite a quandary without companies like them preserving these wonderful fruits, vegetables and plants for us to grow in our gardens. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m especially fond of Baker Creek seeds, I have found them to have a wonderful selection of quality heirloom varieties.
Jere very generously offered to give me as many seeds as I wanted to give away here at Chiot’s Run. I picked a variety of lettuce and tomato seeds, since these do well in almost any garden and are a fabulous place to start for any new gardeners. I have 10 prizes to give away, each winner will receive a pack of tomato and a pack of lettuce seeds (all heirlooms of course). All you have to do is comment below for a chance to win some heirloom seeds for your garden.
Are heirloom varieties an important part of your garden? What’s your favorite heirloom vegetable to grow?
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