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My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free Seeds

November 3rd, 2010

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?

WE HAVE WINNERS for the free seeds:
Annie
Dave
Grant
Ashley W
Veronica V.
Michelle M.
Canned Quilter
Seren Dipity
Lee
Amanda Daja

If you didn’t get my e-mail use the contact me button on the sidebar to send me your address so I can mail out your seeds!

100 Comments to “My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free Seeds”
  1. Tee on November 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    My favorite heirloom seed to plant in my whopping one year of gardening experience is the Brandywine tomato. Absolutely delicious. I can’t and won’t EVER eat a conventional tomato again! I’ve been spoiled. Thank you for such wonderful garden inspiration.

    to Tee's comment

  2. melissa on November 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I have to say, lettuce is one of my new favorite things because it is just so obliging. I can’t see myself ever going a cool season without growing lettuce again. Even if I end up having to give some away.

    Kind of jealous you got to meet the Baker Seeds guy. :D
    melissa´s last post ..wild edibles

    to melissa's comment

  3. Sincerely, Emily on November 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful opportunity – lettuce and tomatoes – YIPPEE! Also, thanks for a glimpse at your visit to their little shop of wonder. I can only imagine what a neat feeling it would have been to wander around and pick out such neat seeds to bring home with you. I know my mouth would have been hanging open and I probably would have been drooling too (although I would hope no one would notice!) Thank you again for a neat give away. Sincerely, Emily
    Sincerely, Emily´s last post ..Getting Caught up

    to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  4. Seren Dippity on November 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I have just started trying to be more conscious about choosing heirloom seeds. I did a few heirloom tomatoes this past summer that I had good success with – Texas Wild is a cherry tomato that is _still_ producing after continuing to produce during the 100+ temperatures we had in August! Other heirlooms haven’t managed to do so great with the high temps.

    to Seren Dippity's comment

  5. Karen on November 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I grow tons of heirlooms. My favorite heirloom varies from year to year. This summer, I loved Spears Tennessee Green Tomatoes. I got a lot of beautiful beefsteaks from that plant. They just kept ocming.

    to Karen's comment

  6. lydia on November 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    We are expanding our garden a bit more to grow heirloom varies. I just ordered the catalog after reading this post, thank you.

    to lydia's comment

  7. Lynda on November 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    We visit Baker Seeds in Petaluma CA…last time we were there we met Jere too. I would love to add to my growing collection of Heirloom seeds.

    to Lynda's comment

  8. JuratBernard on November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    How awesome it must have been to see real seed saving equipment from long ago. i’m so glad hierloom and age old techniques are becoming more popular. I haven’t tried any of the baker seed lettuces yet and would love the opportunity. thanks to Jere for the free seeds and to you for hosting this! blessings.

    to JuratBernard's comment

  9. heidi on November 3, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    For sure tomatoes!

    to heidi's comment

  10. Cathy on November 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I’m from Springfield, MO so every time I go home to visit the folks I make a trip to Mansfield to the Baker Creek store. Wonderful place to visit and the Gettle’s and their staff are so nice. I just got my order for Chesnock Red Garlic this week! I love the look of the Comstock, Ferre store and their plans for its future!
    Cathy´s last post ..Autumn at Turkey Creek Lavender and Super Easy Olive Garden Soup Recipe

    to Cathy's comment

  11. Nancy DeVries on November 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    We just moved to a new home and found several heirlooms that did not work in our garden. Nothing really come up except some calypso beans which will be wonderful in the winter. Our garden is one big science experiment.

    to Nancy DeVries's comment

  12. Robin on November 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I think GMO will kill us…either by mutations or the inability for natural plants to survive against them…And if something happens to destroy the genetically modified seeds/plants and we don’t have the nature ability to grow and collect seeds because all we have are seedless mutants…I know, all maybes and crazy ideas but I worry….On a more positive note tomatoes are my favorite heirloom to grow…always so tasty!

    to Robin's comment

  13. David on November 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Quite simple; my favourite heirloom variety is the next one I am about to try…

    to David's comment

  14. Eliza J on November 3, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    My favorite Heirloom seeds at this point are tomatoes. Everything I planted in my garden this year was Heirloom. I plant Baker Creek seeds and am familiar with their purchase of Comstock, Ferre & Co., having receive a wonderful postcard notice in the mail. I wish them much luck, and will continue to purchase their seeds, and recommend them to all I know.

    to Eliza J's comment

  15. Rick on November 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for a great look at that cool little shop!! I’d love to try some Heirloom tomato!!

    to Rick's comment

  16. Amanda Daja on November 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    How can a gardener not smile at those pics! Sounds like a wonderful place to visit! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip through New England. Fingers crossed:)

    to Amanda Daja's comment

  17. Donna on November 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    What I like to grow is Roma tomatoes. What I grow best is WEEDS! Still learning the whole gardening thing, but loving it.

    to Donna's comment

  18. Jen Chau on November 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I would love to visit Comstock. It would be too tempting to bring back more than I actually use. I have never tried their seed. Hope I get a chance next summer.

    to Jen Chau's comment

  19. deedee on November 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    wow! what good timing you have:) beautiful photos as usual! looks like an amazing place.

    to deedee's comment

  20. Charlotte A. on November 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    here’s to a first-gardening-attempt in Oklahoma next spring…

    to Charlotte A.'s comment

  21. annie on November 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I love Baker Creek. I’ve been growing mostly their seeds (with a few Seed Savers Exchange and Johnny’s varieties thrown in) for 10 or 12 years. My favorite heirloom… that is a hard thing to narrow down. My favorite lettuce is Marvel of Four Seasons. It has grown well for me everywhere I’ve planted it from a mountain in TN to gulf coast TX. My favorite tomato is plum lemon.

    to annie's comment

  22. Wendy on November 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    How cool is that? I’m loving living vicariously through all of the places you’ve visited recently–thanks for sharing. I’ve only tried a few heirlooms, and had the best success so far with lettuce and nasturtiums (from Baker Creek, I might add!).
    Wendy´s last post ..yarn along

    to Wendy's comment

  23. Renee on November 4, 2010 at 12:38 am

    I had my first garden this year and didn’t use any heirloom seeds, but I got the best results from my lettuce & tomatoes and I would love to try heirloom varieties of both!

    to Renee's comment

  24. Selah on November 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

    As my gardening years progress I’ve become more and more interested in finding seeds that have been tampered with as little as possible A) for my families heath and B)self reliance it would be nice to eventually get to the point where seed saving and taking care of ourselves is the norm, and heirloom/OP varieties help make that possible and it’s hard to say what’s our favorite probably tomatoes lol this years favorite was the black krim with AMAZING flavor and ripening before some of the “early” varieties!
    Selah´s last post ..TRICK OR TREAT

    to Selah's comment

  25. Heather on November 4, 2010 at 1:44 am

    How exciting for you. Thank you for all the fantastic photos! I would be like a kid in a candy store there. Everything looks so amazing. How lucky for you to be given seeds to give away! Thanks for the opportunity.

    to Heather's comment

  26. Ryan on November 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

    While I buy my seeds at Seed Savers I don’t take the time to think that one variety of beans is more heirloomy than another. It is more important to support local and have varieties that do well where I am planted.
    Ryan´s last post ..Saving for a pillow pet

    to Ryan's comment

  27. Lynn Mc. on November 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    What a beautiful Country store. I’m heading out to visit my Sister in Jenner, CA this weekend. Perhaps I’ll make a stop in Petaluma to the Baker Creek Seed Bank. Have a great weekend.

    to Lynn Mc.'s comment

  28. Lynn on November 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    We have been saving seed for years. I don’t remember what variety we started with but the ones we have had the longest are pumpkin and Indian corn.
    Lynn´s last post ..Tortoise and the Hare

    to Lynn's comment

  29. Lee on November 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I don’t think I’ve grown anything from heirloom seeds. I just grow whatever is readily available and the ones I love the most are the volunteers.

    to Lee's comment

  30. kirsten on November 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    wow! that’s so very generous of them! i’d love to try my hand at lettuce…

    to kirsten's comment

  31. Carrie Blain on November 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I love Baker Creek. The catalog is always so nice!! I think growing heirlooms is so important for the future generations!!

    to Carrie Blain's comment

  32. Mrs. H on November 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I gravitate to heirloom seeds. They aren’t a vegetable, but flowers are my favorite heirlooms to grow! I do like growing vegetables also.

    to Mrs. H's comment

  33. Loree Watanabe on November 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Yes! Heirloom seeds are important to my garden! I started w/ heirlooms years ago because of their unique colors and now I try to buy only heirloom for their history & what they stand for :) Anyway, my favorites are tomatoes! And I LOVE Baker seeds! Thanks for the giveaway!

    to Loree Watanabe's comment

  34. Jerilee Costa on November 5, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Love Baker Creek seeds! Their catalog alone is a wealth of information.

    to Jerilee Costa's comment

  35. Kathy Walker on November 5, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Gorgeous shop/photos! I haven’t grown any heirlooms but having seen these photos (and my first Baker Creek catalog just this week), I can’t wait to give growing a whirl.

    to Kathy Walker's comment

  36. Cheri Thomas on November 5, 2010 at 4:53 am

    So happy to find your blog! Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures and happy times. I’m just now getting back into gardening, and am so excited about heirloom veggies. Cannot wait for spring!!

    to Cheri Thomas's comment

  37. Nancy on November 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

    As a newbie gardener, my husband and I are quite fortunate to actually live in the same town as Comstock Ferre. I’ve heard of it my whole life but was never interested in gardening. Now, it seems we’ve hit the jackpot.

    We’ve been to the store twice since Jere bought the place and plan to visit soon to buy some seeds for next year. Our problem is that we are so overwhelmed with the choices. It will be fun experimenting.

    Thanks for having such an informative blog!

    to Nancy's comment

  38. sue on November 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

    awesome post… cant wait to check out this store… my favourite heirlooms are watermelons and tomatoes… i just love Baker Creek catalogue – it vegetable porn for sure :)

    to sue's comment

  39. Veronica V. on November 5, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I love Baker’s Creek!! Their catalogs are so beaturiful and informative. I find myself wearing them out looking again and again. I so want to go to the missouri location.

    to Veronica V.'s comment

  40. Toni-Gardening in Wyoming on November 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I’m a newish gardener. I started gardening a few years ago. Last year I set up a square foot garden… I love it! I’m hooked… I’ve even got a little hoop house experiment going to see how long I can grow greens into the Wyoming winter!

    I’m very interested in growing heirlooms next season! I so can’t wait to receive my Baker’s Creek catalog!

    Thanks for sharing your adventure at Comstock, Ferre & Co.!
    Toni-Gardening in Wyoming´s last post ..Hoop House report 11-5-10

    to Toni-Gardening in Wyoming's comment

  41. Kim on November 5, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Pick me Pick me! I grew my first heirloom tomatoes this year. I’m trying to figure out how to save the seeds:)

    to Kim's comment

  42. Peggy on November 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I love Baker Creek! What a great visit you had! Thank you, Peggy

    to Peggy's comment

  43. Cardie on November 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I will pick heirlooms any day over conventional seeds. They offer so much more and give back so much more dna, history, beauty, spirit…whatever you want to call it. I recently acquired 1.2 acres with house in Santa Fe and can’t wait to start growing local Northern NM chiles, squashes and beans there and also learn more about winter gardening. I love Baker Creek Seeds and am happy to find your blog thru them.

    to Cardie's comment

  44. Derwanna Hurst on November 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I have been a fan of Baker Creek seeds for quite awhile, myself. They are the only company I buy from. My favorite tomato so far from them for sauces is the Cour Di Bue. The Rocky Top and Lolla Rossa leaf lettuce seeds do well here in Pittsburgh. Actually, I haven’t had any bad experiences with anything I have bought from them. They have a wonderful HUGE selection and I salivate over their catalog every year! Makes you want to buy one of everything in the catalog! Heirloom is the only way I’ll go.

    to Derwanna Hurst's comment

  45. Miranda on November 6, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Oooooooooooh! I want to get better at starting seeds inside (tomatoes) and get to plant lettuce all through the Winter here in Austin, so i’d love a chance at this. I love growing the weird heriloom cucumbers. I never knew there were different kinds of cukes at all, and there ARE and they’re so AWESOME. I also love the heirloom tomatoes, of course and am fascinated by the idea of growing the same variety that someone in the 1800s was growing.
    Miranda´s last post ..Fall Back – and a Plea For Hot Sauce Advice

    to Miranda's comment

  46. Amy @ Homestead Revival on November 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Am I too late? Love the Baker catalog and I would LOVE some seeds! What a treat for you to be able to see their new acquisition and visit with Jere personally!
    Amy @ Homestead Revival´s last post ..Urban Chicks

    to Amy @ Homestead Revival's comment

  47. Grant on November 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Cool!!! I would love to get some seeds.

    to Grant's comment

  48. Jenny s on November 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

    I would love to plant more heirloom varieties, but I have a hard time figureing out what will work in Alaska. Our growing conditions are so unusual. Brandywines do well in the greenhouse, I do know that!

    to Jenny s's comment

  49. Karen on November 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for thinking of us while you were on your vacation by getting these seeds and offering us a chance to win the seeds! How great! I do love Baker Creek Seeds.

    to Karen's comment

  50. Friday Favorite: Breakfast Edition | Chiot's Run on November 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

    [...] HAVE WINNERS for the free seeds: Annie Dave Grant Ashley W Veronica V. Michelle M. Canned Quilter Seren Dipity Lee Amanda [...]

    to Friday Favorite: Breakfast Edition | Chiot’s Run's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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