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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!

Sand Hill Preservation Center

February 23rd, 2010

My mom got this great new catalog in the mail this year from Sand Hill Preservation Center. I’m always on the lookout for places like this to buy seeds from so I brought home the catalog to read through it. I was amazed by the number of heirloom items from poultry to potatoes and everything in between. I’m amazed by all the wonderful things listed in the catalog, the sheer number of heirloom tomatoes is staggering! You won’t be dazzled by glossy pages with beautiful photos, you can tell this catalog is about the preservation of seeds, not about selling the latest and greatest “seedless tomato” or whatever the exciting new vegetable/flower is this year.

This is what they say about themselves:

“We are not a large operation and all of the work is done by Linda and me with occasional inputs from outside sources. The family consists of myself (Glenn) and my wife, Linda. Our two grown sons, Nick and Cory are no longer living at home. We are not a wholesale seed company nor are we a large hatchery. We are genetic preservationists that are in this for the genetic diversity of this planet we all call home. We produce all of our own eggs for our hatches, tend all of our own flocks, weed and care for the seed crops and produce around 90% of the seed which we sell. We also work with several close friends to produce some rare and unusual items to help give you a better variety. We purchase a few common varieties of nontreated seed to expand our offerings.”

I’m certainly glad I haven’t ordered any seeds yet, I’ll be getting some of my seeds from Sand Hill for sure, a few tomatoes. Now if I can only whittle down my list to what will actually fit in my limited garden space. I’m always happy to find out about new places like this order seeds from. I really appreciate what people like this do, devoting their lives to saving heirloom poultry and vegetables. I’ll definitely be supporting their efforts! When I’m in the market for chicken I’ll be buying them from Sand Hill for sure!

Have you found any new seed resources recently?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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