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Visiting Seed Savers Exchange Part Two (and a chance to win heirloom seeds)

September 23rd, 2011

While visiting Seed Savers, you will be able to see a lot of the varieties from their catalog in the gardens. There are several trial gardens filled with vegetables and flowers, they’re organized into different families. So there’s an entire garden dedicated to cabbage family plants, onions, members of the nightshade family, etc.

Even though they’re only planting a few plants of each variety and only a few of the varieties available, it really does make you realize the number of options that we have for our home gardens.

How can you not love the classic red barn and buildings? I think they provide the perfect backdrop for heirloom vegetables and poultry.

The plants are labeled well so you can note different varieties, and decide which ones you’d like to grow in your own garden. I especially loved these galvanized seed packet holders, I must find some of these!

You’ll also be able to check see some heirloom poultry and the Ancient White Park Cattle, the rare breed of cows that they keep at Heritage Farm.

After looking through the demonstration gardens and the gift shop, you can head down to the orchard to see the fruiting plants. During our visit some of the apples were ripe. They had a sign asking you not to pick apples from the trees, but to feel free to pick any up off the ground. We picked up a few and took some photos next to their labels since we’re hoping to put in orchard someday.

I’m so glad we hit the gardens when we did, the end of August. Everything was at the height of it’s beauty and production, which made up for the fact that I missed out on this in my own garden since I was gone almost the entire month of August.

Ironically as we left, we passed what you see above – field after field of hybrid and GMO corn test plots. A stark contrast to what we had spent the morning hours enjoying at Heritage Farm.

Of course, I couldn’t leave without purchasing an heirloom seed collection to give away here on the blog. After looking over all the seeds, I finally settled on the Heritage Farm Favorites Collection. It contains: Chioggia beet, A & C Pickling cucumber, Dragon carrot, Dragon’s Tongue bean, German Pink tomato, and Seed Saver’s lettuce mix. All you have to do is comment on this post for your chance to win. Winner Chosen:

If you were in charge of keeping one kind of edible plant from extinction which one would you choose?

See more from my visit:
Visiting Seed Savers Exchange Part One
For more photos of my visit to Seed Savers that didn’t make the blog, head on over to my Flickr photostream.

108 Comments to “Visiting Seed Savers Exchange Part Two (and a chance to win heirloom seeds)”
  1. Ashley on September 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this generous giveaway!

    If I had to keep one edible plant from extinction it would definitely be apples. I can’t get enough apples and I would happily dedicate my life to preserving them. I am hoping to put in a small orchard next year so I can start my life’s pursuit ;-)

    Reply to Ashley's comment

  2. Kate on September 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    There is a twig beehive shaped trellis in one of your photos. What was it supporting? It looks too open to be covering anything . . .or did I miss something?

    For my spouse . . .I’d say save the strawberry. We had a horrible crop this year-the chickens dug the bed up last fall. AND he’s going to miss the 2012 crop because he’ll be deployed. I’m hoping for enough berries to freeze for him to enjoy when he comes home.

    Reply to Kate's comment

    • Susy on September 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      There were some morning glories and some sort of squash using it for support.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. April on September 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Potatos!!! I could live on potatos alone!

    Reply to April's comment

  4. meeeee on September 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    cannabis is enough for food, medicine, energy and fibers.

    Reply to meeeee's comment

  5. Edward Verba on September 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    We would preserve apricot and peach trees. Too often they are overlooked in favor of apples and pears in Northest farms. Many farms look to grapes over them too, so I would look to preserving apricot and peach trees.

    Reply to Edward Verba's comment

  6. Elizabeth Brideau on September 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I would save pears. I love all fruits and vegetables so much, but there is just something about a bite of ripe pear melting in your mouth, and not only is it good on it’s own, but it also goes well with cheese (for savory lovers) and chocolate (for sweet lovers). I think it’s shame that for most kids (like me) their introduction to pears consists of the oversweetened, grainy cubes in canned fruit salad. Fresh, ripe pears have so much more to offer!

    Reply to Elizabeth Brideau's comment

    • Marcia on September 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      I know what you mean about pears in fruit salad. You can`t appreciate the delicious aroma of a perfectly ripe pear in those little over-processed cups.

      Reply to Marcia's comment

  7. Jen on September 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I would save Lacinato kale. So nutritious, easy to grow and versatile to cook with. I use it in soups, stews, braised as a side dish and dry it for kale chips. Thanks for the fun giveaway!

    Reply to Jen's comment

  8. Lorena Heintz on September 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    It’s hard, and quite frankly ridiculous to pick just one. We need the nutrients from them all together to remain healthy and happy. That said, I would really hate to give up the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes. As I grace the aisle marked “produce” in the grocery store, I cringe at the little plasticized red balls that they have chosen to lable as tomatoes. The choose not to tell me if mouse or fish genes have been genetically introduced to make them last a little longer. SAVE OUR HEIRLOOM, OPEN POLLINATED, ORGANIC CROPS.

    Reply to Lorena Heintz's comment

  9. Nancy Prawdzik-Steinbach on September 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    It’s lovely all year round but esp. Late July & August. The Fall when the leaves change and the apples are ripening–amazing! Lovely photos. Wish I could have been there–there’s no excuse, we moved back to Iowa a few yrs. ago! I love watching the corn yellow and the different shades of the soybean fields this time of year.

    Reply to Nancy Prawdzik-Steinbach's comment

  10. Sarah on September 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I’m surprised to see they keep turkeys and chickens together – we keep ours separate as we were under the impression they can pass illness quite easily between species. I’d be interested to know more about this!
    Sarah´s last post ..In Between

    Reply to Sarah's comment

  11. Robinson on September 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    It’s so hard to pick just one thing, but I guess if I could save one food plant from extinction it would have to be the tomato. As has already been mentioned, it’s nutritious and versatile and easy to preserve in a variety of ways from sweet to savory.

    Reply to Robinson's comment

  12. Catherine on September 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I agree with Lorena. No fair to force a choice! But apples, maybe? Or some variety of winter squash? Guess I’m in the autumn mood. :) Let’s save them all!

    Reply to Catherine's comment

  13. Jennifer Raper on September 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm


    Reply to Jennifer Raper's comment

  14. Mariann on September 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    If I had to save one from extinction, it would be sweet corn. With corn you can make so many other things. But i’d really love to save strawberries too. :o)

    Reply to Mariann's comment

  15. Smedette on September 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Love the SSE! That is where the bulk of my seeds are purchased every year.
    Smedette´s last post ..Tour of Accents: Part I

    Reply to Smedette's comment

  16. Debby Baker on September 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Beans. Pole beans, specifically. Mother Stallard and the like. I adore everything about them – their growth habit, their appearance, their taste. Absolutely one of my all-time favorite plants.

    Reply to Debby Baker's comment

  17. suzanne jameson on September 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I would save Jaune Flamme tomatoes. Beautiful orange fruit with a tangy taste which is wonderful. Actually, I’d save any heirloom tomato.

    Reply to suzanne jameson's comment

  18. Tommy on September 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    definitely tomatoes. or squash, or broccoli, or cauliflower, or beets. or watermelon. can’t stop.
    back to tomatoes!
    love your site!

    Reply to Tommy's comment

  19. Marcia on September 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I would have to choose….the humble potato. So versatile, so nutritious and grown world-wide, I think many would suffer from it`s disappearance. We all remember what happened in Ireland when their crops went bad four years in a row. I grew four kinds this year and an enjoying all of them, especially the Russian Blue (but should be called Russian Purple). If I had a big enough garden, I would grow more.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  20. Teresa Anderson on September 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    This is a hard one. I want to say tomatoes but then I think maybe peas instead but then there’s all the different kinds of peppers. Do you get the feeling I could go on forever with this?
    But then I think of the apples I picked the other day at my parents that are setting on my counter and how much I’m looking forward to the apple pie I’m going to make, I’m going with apples.
    Now ask me again when the squashes are ready and you will get a different answer. Although it would probably still involve pie.

    Even though I’m dating myself a little with how I write this next bit, I can’t think of a better way to say it.
    Thank you for the awesome giveaway and the totally awesome site.

    Reply to Teresa Anderson's comment

  21. Susan Thomas on September 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    If forced to choose one: tomatoes. As one who started out organically growing hybrids, I’ve been turning heirloom more and more over the years (decades!). Flavor & diversity first!

    Reply to Susan Thomas's comment

  22. aubrey hannig on September 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I would love to have these, my mom and I are gardening together because of your inspiration to work together.
    aubrey hannig´s last post ..waiting for you to look my way

    Reply to aubrey hannig's comment

  23. rogina mathes on September 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I would save the tomato! I love them so! Almost every dinner contains some type of tomato product.

    Reply to rogina mathes's comment

  24. Barbara on September 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve only been gardening for two years, and I’m still completely blown away at how wonderful EVERYTHING home grown tastes, so choosing one item is really, really hard. But if I was forced to choose just one, fresh from the back-yard green beans would win. I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without knowing what they truly taste like – absolutely delicious!

    Thanks for all the info you share and for the terrific give-away!

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  25. Pearl on September 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    That’s a hard question to answer but if I had to choose one I would save potato’s. I love them and there are so many ways to prepare them. A close second would be tomato’s.

    Reply to Pearl's comment

  26. Penny on September 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I think potatoes would be important, especially for their storage capabailites.

    Reply to Penny's comment

  27. Bobbie Kramer on September 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love winter squash and pumpkins, and would love to steward the survival of one of them!

    Reply to Bobbie Kramer's comment

  28. holly on September 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I would love to try these! I hope to make a trip from Alabama up to see SSE some day, I’ll definitely head there around August, beautiful!!

    Reply to holly's comment

  29. holly on September 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm


    Reply to holly's comment

  30. Grant on September 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    WOW what more could a gardener want? Great giveaway!

    Reply to Grant's comment

  31. aruna on September 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I would probably pick tomatoes. They are my favorite.

    Reply to aruna's comment

  32. Debi Slawson on September 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I would save the tomatoes! I love growing and the flavors are so good! Nothing like the hard fake red balls the sell as tomatoes and taste like an old cuke!! debi

    Reply to Debi Slawson's comment

  33. KimH on September 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    sigh.. I would say Mandy Beans which are the variety of southern pea I sent Seed Savers some 25 years ago. I hope someone somewhere is still growing it. Last time I heard tell of it, there were about 10 people growing it.
    Beans & southern peas have kept many people alive thru some desperate times in the south… Yes.. I do love the southern pea/bean.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  34. KimH on September 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I wanted to ask (and forgot).. is that purple Morning Glory, Grandpa Otts?

    Reply to KimH's comment

  35. Sherri on September 23, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I would save the lowly potato for it’s ease in growing and harvesting, it’s long storage life requiring no processing, it’s life sustaining nutrition, and it’s incredible versatility. We can cook potatoes differently for 3 meals/day and never get tired of them if they are freshly dug from the garden!
    Sherri´s last post ..Trading

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  36. Misti on September 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Man, that is awesome! I would love to visit some of the gardens that I get my seeds from.

    I would definitely keep tomatoes alive, particularly the Arkansas Traveler variety!

    Reply to Misti's comment

  37. Allison on September 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    That is so neat to see the orchard; I’d love to tour one like that!
    Allison´s last post ..Drowning…in fruit!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  38. Robin on September 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Hard to pick just one thing to save, but if I had to pick……………. Cabbage! Love it raw or cooked, can be used so many different ways. And so healthy! Now off to track the galvanized seed packet holders down..cause they are super nifty!

    Reply to Robin's comment

  39. Jodiana on September 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I would have to save nectarines. They are my favorite fruit. Closely followed by tomatoes.
    I love the beehive trellis, I will be working on making my own next spring.

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

  40. Lori on September 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    My pick would be tomatoes! I love growing heirlooms. In fact it was heirloom tomatoes that sparked my full blown gardening obsession! I often bring my little gems into work to share, and my coworkers comment on my “strange” or “alien” looking tomatoes. I gently explain that the commercially grown, perfectly red, identically shaped orbs found in grocery stores are the truly FREAKY varieties! It goes to show how the word needs to be spread about how wonderful and REAL these heirlooms are.

    Reply to Lori's comment

  41. kmillecam on September 24, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I love planting heirloom seeds. Maybe I’ll get lucky and win the giveaway! Thanks for the beautiful pictures!
    kmillecam´s last post ..I Love…This Thing!

    Reply to kmillecam's comment

  42. Stephanie Franchini Osberg on September 24, 2011 at 1:31 am

    That’s a toughie! I guess it would be the Chioggia beet. :)

    Reply to Stephanie Franchini Osberg's comment

  43. Hailey on September 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful giveaway! Huge fan of SSE.

    Reply to Hailey's comment

  44. Ryan on September 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Garlic grow so well in our garden i think I would focus my energies there. Last year the Decorah DigIn had a number of the local growers that seed savers works with to grow the seeds in systematic ways so that cross pollination does not change the genetics.

    Reply to Ryan's comment

  45. Mary on September 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Oh, what a hard question! I think I have to go with tomatoes. Or spinach. No, tomatoes.

    I’ve loved looking at these pictures — what a gorgeous place. I”ll have to plan a trip.

    Reply to Mary's comment

  46. Annette on September 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Beets – You can plant them practically everywhere, the roots, leaves and stems are all edible, and they work great in both sweet and savory dishes.

    Reply to Annette's comment

  47. Annie on September 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    That is an impossible thing to decide! I do love growing winter squashes though so if I had to be in charge of one species only I think I’d pick that.
    Annie´s last post ..Giant Plants

    Reply to Annie's comment

  48. kittyrose on September 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Potatoes! The base for so much!

    Reply to kittyrose's comment

  49. emma on September 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Heirloom tomatoes…people just dont know what theyre missing by only getting storebought tomatoes!

    Reply to emma's comment

  50. BeccaOH on September 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hard to limit it to one, but probably tomatoes.

    Reply to BeccaOH'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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Visiting Seed Savers Exchange Part One

I mentioned on Tiny Trailer Travels Part Six that we stopped at Seed Savers Exchange on our way home. You...