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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:
Ashley W
Veronica V.
Michelle M.
Canned Quilter
Seren Dipity
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. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free #Seeds #seedcompany #contest #heirloomseeds […]

    to Tweets that mention Comstock, Ferre & Co | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Xeike on November 3, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I love Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The texture, flavor, and how photogenic they are. :) They’re really hardy as well, I would have had a whole row of them this year if the deer didn’t think they were as tasty as I do. :\

    to Xeike's comment

  3. cannedquilter on November 3, 2010 at 5:54 am

    I try to grow as many heirlooms as possible. My favorites are Brandywine tomatoes and Cajun Cowhorn okra.

    to cannedquilter's comment

  4. Deb on November 3, 2010 at 6:22 am

    As many heirloom plants as possible go into our garden. Baker Seeds sounds like a fantastic company and one I would be proud to do business with.

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway :)

    to Deb's comment

  5. Stone Soup on November 3, 2010 at 6:23 am

    We have always shared the bounty of my in-laws garden across the street, but next year is it for us. My 13 year old son has decided, after reading Omnivore’s Dilemna (junior version) that we are putting in 2 raised beds next spring. We’ve always had an acre of pumpkins, which do well but are at the mercy of the weather here in Maine. This year he grew lettuce and beets for Mimi and Papa, and tended the rest of their garden. Needless to say we have plenty of pickled beets this year. After fighting off the voles for the past two years, I was thrilled to can them!

    to Stone Soup's comment

  6. Shannon on November 3, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Baker Creek seeds have been our most productive so far. And I love the different varieties.

    to Shannon's comment

  7. Susanne on November 3, 2010 at 6:56 am

    What a wonderful place & story…

    How I would like to have a really good seed company here in town. I have to order most of my stuff, because there are different shops all over town offering seeds from different companies, and there’s practically nobody with something you would call a wide selection. And there’s no heirloom specialist at all…


    to Susanne's comment

  8. Carissa White on November 3, 2010 at 7:51 am

    What a wonderful opportunity. I love heirloom seeds and can’t wait to try new “old” varieties of our favorites.

    to Carissa White's comment

  9. Heather on November 3, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I love the funky looking (and tasty) heirloom pumpkins!

    to Heather's comment

  10. kristin @ going country on November 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Woah. It’s like you visited seed heaven. That’s AWESOME.

    Hmmm . . . I think my favorite heirloom is the Stupice tomato. Early-bearing, good flavor, good producer. Although I am also extremely fond of the Black Krim–not so productive, but OH THE YUM.

    to kristin @ going country's comment

  11. Quinn on November 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

    We used heirloom seeds for the first time this year and while I didn’t get to do it yet, the prospect of saving seeds is thrilling to me.

    to Quinn's comment

  12. Deborah Auen on November 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Wow…..Great pics. I felt like I was there.I’ll have to check out these to places for my seeds.Thanks for sharing.

    to Deborah Auen's comment

  13. JennW on November 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    We just bought a house in Western Pennsylvania and I would love to get some heirloom seeds for our new gardens. Its going to be a great few years of learning as we adjust from our Southwest VA climate to that of PA.

    to JennW's comment

  14. Penny Gibbs on November 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I love Cherokee Purples! We are in Asheville NC and they do beautifully here– our Romas also were big producers this year….and the Purples we even ate green at the end of the season.

    to Penny Gibbs's comment

  15. Kirsten Serrano on November 3, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I grow lots of heirlooms. Some of my favorites are Mini White Cucumbers, Mexican Sour Gherkins, Hungarian Heart Tomatoes, Cocozelle Squash, and Zuchinno Rampicante

    to Kirsten Serrano's comment

  16. Katie on November 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Hmm…lettuce and tomato sandwiches…sounds good!

    to Katie's comment

  17. Mary W on November 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Brandywine tomatoes. I love everything about them.

    to Mary W's comment

  18. Dave on November 3, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Heirlooms are the way to go, you not only get a good tasting (usually) veg, but you can also save the seeds for the next season!

    I’d love to win!!

    to Dave's comment

  19. Kat on November 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

    As a fairly new gardener, I haven’t had much experience with heirlooms yet. I received some tomato seedlings from a friend this past year and definitely enjoyed those, although I never found out which heirloom variety they were! Would love to start the new growing season with a whole new pack of heirloom seedlings!

    to Kat's comment

  20. Michelle M. on November 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I love heirlooms. I’m collecting heirloom tomato seeds, and would love to branch out to other vegetables. This year I’m planning on growing one of the two varieties of West Virginia heirloom tomatoes I’ve found. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

    to Michelle M.'s comment

  21. LB on November 3, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I would love to win some seeds. I will be renting a plot in a community garden this coming summer and I plan to grow mostly heirloom varieties. I rented a plot in grad school a couple of summers ago, and my heirloom tomatoes were fantastic.

    to LB's comment

  22. alecia on November 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

    This past spring season was the beginnings of our new homeplace’s garden. The cherokee purple seeds were the first heirloom seeds I purchased AND had great success with them. Will try again with box car willie, black krim and some kind of german oxhart and pineapple varieties.

    I love reading your blog and have learned a lot from you- just order a catalog from bakers over the weekend.

    to alecia's comment

  23. Wendy on November 3, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I recognized Gere as soon as I saw the picture! how neat is that!!!


    to Wendy's comment

  24. prairiechick on November 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I’ve grown a lot of heirloom seeds, and tried the French Breakfast radish this year. It was so pretty, as well as having a smooth texture that my dh really liked.

    to prairiechick's comment

  25. Kelly on November 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I try to grow as many heirlooms as possible; because they’re better for us, taste better and self sustainable (well, would be if I knew more about seed saving – it’s on my list of “to learn”s). As for favourite, that’s a hard choice to make! Tomatoes are the easiest answer – so many varieties! I’m especially fond of the Reisentraube cherry tomatoes I grew this year – they LOVE the cold and are still fruiting even with light frosts at night (they had a big surge in production once the temps cooled off this fall).

    to Kelly's comment

  26. Sandra on November 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I lived near Comstock for most of my life and miss them now that I’m in CA – thanks for the update and beautiful pictures.

    Brandywines are my favorite, but we had better luck on our sunporch with Black Russians this year and they were delicious.

    to Sandra's comment

  27. Laura Z on November 3, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Wow! How cool! We try to plant heirlooms every year. We like Russian red Kale, Lolla Rossa lettuce, and I tried some Hungarian black peppers this summer that were lovely! We’ve had good luck with Amana Orange, Green Zebra, Amish Paste, Yellow Pear, and Brandywine tomatoes, but we’d love to try even more varieties. Thanks for this giveaway!

    to Laura Z's comment

  28. Denise on November 3, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Yes, I love heirloom seeds. This last season was the first I purchased them and found many lovely varieties at the Baker Creek website. I’m hoping to get all heirloom seeds for next summer, and being we live in the New England type climate here in norther NY, I’m always interested in companies that would have varieties that would work well for us.

    to Denise's comment

  29. Michelle on November 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I love Baker Creek Seeds…and I finally had a chance to visit their store in Petaluma about a month ago…it was beautiful! I could have spent hours there but I was with a small group of women who weren’t as fascinated as I was about the whole thing. Fortunately, the shop is only about an hour away so I will be able to go back and spend some time there!! How cool that you got to meet Jere!!

    to Michelle's comment

  30. Trish on November 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

    A guildmate gifted me some Zucchini Rampicante this summer, and it’s definitely on our list for next year’s garden now.

    to Trish's comment

  31. Hailey in MT on November 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Heirlooms….count me in. Thanks for sharing!

    to Hailey in MT's comment

  32. Annie on November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Wow! how great you got to meet Jere and his family. I order from Baker Creek also and am very thankful for their work. I love about any heirloom but especially like the cowhorn okra, purple hull peas, and any heirloom tomato.

    to Annie's comment

  33. Nena on November 3, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I too am a fan of Baker Creek and was happy to hear about their plans. It also reminded me that my catalog is a couple of years old and I need to request a new one. (I hate to get new catalogs every year as the selections remain primarily the same and it helps to reduce my use of trees). I started reading your blog when I found it through Simple, Frugal, Green and enjoy living vicariously through your gardening and simple living adventures. I’ve also found some wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing.

    to Nena's comment

  34. Kelly (The Sorry Gardener) on November 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

    So far, I’ve only delved into heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, and Purple Prince) … but not from seed since tomatoes at all in the Pacific Northwest are on a wing and a prayer and I need to set them out when they’re already about 3FT tall.

    I really just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your photos. I could feel and smell the place. I especially LOVED the photo of the antique filing cabinet and seed packets. Very nice.

    to Kelly (The Sorry Gardener)'s comment

  35. Tommy on November 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Baker Creek is awesome. They have a tremendous selection of heirlooms. I just wish they had more detail on planting tricks and suggestions. Sometimes their seed packs lack on details (when to plant, suggested depth and spacing, zones where a certain variety grows best, other details, etc.).
    But overall I love their selection—it’s amazing what they’ve assembled.
    My vote for favorite heirloom is cherokee purple tomato—love them!

    to Tommy's comment

  36. Jennifer on November 3, 2010 at 11:32 am

    This year I tried peppers, tomatoes and squash which were heirloom varieties. Tomatoes are my favorite garden item, heirlooms win hands down for taste!

    to Jennifer's comment

  37. Stacey K on November 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I would love, love, love some seeds. We had such a short growing season this year. I ordered my seeds from Azure and the were heirloom but there was no where near the choice in the pictures. Drool!!!

    to Stacey K's comment

  38. Melanie G on November 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    What a great field trip! Sounds wonderful :-) I’ve love to have some of their heirloom seeds, too, and would for sure share them with my sister.

    to Melanie G's comment

  39. Sharon Beckham on November 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    These pics are absolutely magnificent with such cool colors of nature.
    I came across your blog on internet and wondered why I haven’t visited it before. I am a hobby gardener myself and love to see my plants grow and produce nice flowers.

    I am an instant follower and bookmarked the blog instantly.
    On my first visit to the blog I would like to share something too. I recently came across a magnificent resource which gives us a wonderful opportunity to Organize Seeds easily and conveniently. And the best thing is that its still FREE to join.
    I am sure that you and other blog followers will love it too!
    I hope to learn more about gardening from you and other fellows here.
    Happy Gardening

    to Sharon Beckham's comment

  40. amy manning on November 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    How fun! So far I haven’t tried out many heirloom tomatoes. I keep going for the ones that are supposed to do the best in my climate. They’re pretty boring and bland. So, next year I am going to try many more varieties.

    to amy manning's comment

  41. Ashley W on November 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I would love to grow more heirlooms – especially tomatoes!

    to Ashley W's comment

  42. Jacqui on November 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I had my very first gardening summer this year and can’t wait to do so again next summer! The heirlooms I planted definitely set themselves apart from everything else I planted and I’ll only be planting heirlooms in my garden from now on :)!

    to Jacqui's comment

  43. Mrs. Mac on November 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, what a treat that would be to go there :) I like heirloom tomatoes, squash, and lettuce the best. With limited space, I try to make choices that I know we will eat

    to Mrs. Mac's comment

  44. Jenn on November 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I love Baker Creek and really hope that I’ll get to visit Comstock, Ferre soon (I live in Maine, so I’m not too far away)! I hope I get the opportuntity to try some new varieties of lettuce and tomato!

    to Jenn's comment

  45. erin on November 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I absolutely adore my Hutterite Soup Beans (white, creamy soup bean) and Brandywine tomatoes! Long Island Cheese Squash is a dear second. Baker Creek sounds like a fabulous company. I will definitely consider them when ordering seeds next year.

    to erin's comment

  46. Zonnah on November 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I love their seeds as well!

    to Zonnah's comment

  47. Kelly Welch on November 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I grew an heirloom watermelon this year. The plant was beautiful and the fruits were so pretty. Unfortunately, I got only a few watermelons this year and all but 1 was devoured by the shrew who lives in our yard! But the 1 we ate was delicious! The variety was Moon and stars.

    to Kelly Welch's comment

  48. Caroline on November 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Yay, I’m so glad you made it there!

    to Caroline's comment

  49. Laura on November 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t think I’ve grown any heirloom plants in my garden. I’d like to start though and this would be a good way. I’m going to have to look into Baker Creek. :)

    to Laura's comment

  50. Tree on November 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Ready to try my hand at some heirlooms this year.! :)

    to Tree's comment


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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