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Resources: Heirloom Apples & Other Edibles

September 25th, 2012

It’s fall and that means apples. Mr Chiots is an avid apple fan, both the fruit and the computers. When we head to the market he’s at the apple booth asking about new and interesting varieties to try.

Last summer we visited Seed Savers Exchange and spent time in the heirloom apple orchard. We were blown away by all the beautiful heirloom apples and grapes. We even picked a few up off the ground and tasted them, something they allow and encourage.

Now that we have a larger piece of land, Mr Chiots and I have plans to put in a few more apple trees. In my dreams, a few of them will become espaliers. There are a few old apple trees with the property, most likely we don’t need to add any more. But can you really resist the wonderful heirloom varieties when you read their descriptions?

Through the years, I’ve been collecting links for places that sell heirloom apples. Here are the ones I have found, please mention any you know of in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. Most of these places offer other varieties of fruits, nuts, and perennial edibles as well.

Cloud Mountain Farm Center – Cloud Mountain Farm Center is a working 20 acre farm in the Northwest corner of Washington State. We grow fruit, vegetables and nursery plants for local markets, and to create educational opportunities for the general public and beginning and existing farmers. We offer workshops, seminars and festivals throughout the growing season, as well as internships for farmer training. The Center helps farmers and the community network to develop a strong local food system, and provides innovative information about regional agricultural opportunities. Cloud Mountain Farm Center has extensive ongoing variety and growing systems trials for both fruit trees and vegetables. Our nursery produces and sells quality woody fruit and ornamental plants for Pacific Northwest gardens, and our fruit and produce is seasonally available at the farm stand and at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Sales of nursery plants and produce go to support the educational programs at the Center.

Fedco – Welcome to Fedco Seeds, your source for cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate. Each year we observe hundreds of varieties, selecting only the best for inclusion in our catalogs. Through our product lines and cultural hints, we encourage sustainable growing methods. We offer a large selection of certified organic cultivars and regional heirloom varieties. We buy products from all over the world.

Grandpa’s Orchard – Fruit trees are our specialty. Welcome to Grandpa’s Orchard™. The best nursery source for large, high quality bare root fruit trees, nursery stock, and fruittree rootstock for your garden and back yard orchard. Grandpa’s Orchard offers hundreds of varieties of bareroot apple trees, sweet cherry trees, tart cherry trees, pear trees, peach trees, plum trees, prune trees, apricot trees, and other fruit tree varieties for your backyard orchard, including lots of hardy, heirloom, and disease resistant varieties.

Grow Organic – Apple, fruit and nut trees for the homestead. A wide variety of options.

Henry Leuthardt Nurseries – These particular heirloom varieties, grafted onto dwarfing rootstock have done exceptionally well. In fact, dwarfing such varieties has greatly improved the size, quality, and flavor of their fruit. Perhaps in perusing the items categorized as Rare and Choice or Old Varieties you will find something – something you will remember – the apple that used to make such unequaled pies and apple sauces – the apple that you saved for the teacher expecting that the memory of it would last until examination time. They also specialize in espaliered trees.

Miller Nurseries – one of the largest selections of fruit and nut trees, berries, grapes and much more. Choose from 65 varieties of apples, all types of berry plants, cherry, peach, nectarine, plum and pear trees, including Asian pear varieties. Surround yourself with ornamental bushes and roses, flowering and shade trees, asparagus, persimmons, currants, gooseberry plants, paw paws, garden aids and more!

One Green World – Source of heirloom apples and all varieties of other edibles. Located in Oregon.

Permaculture Nursery – Specializing in perennial edibles for permaculture.

Raintree Nursery – Raintree selects fruit varieties for flavor and ease of growing, with you the backyard gardener in mind. We have searched the world to collect the best backyard fruit varieties for you, the American gardener, as you will see as you enjoy our catalog.

Scott Farm Vermont – Scott Farm produces 70 varieties of ecologically grown apples – heirloom apples such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, and Cox’s Orange Pippin and unusual apples like Winter Banana and Hidden Rose – some of the finest in color, texture, and taste. Other fine fruits include quince, gooseberries, medlars, Asian pears, plums, raspberries, elderberries, table grapes, pears, blueberries, nectarines, and peaches.

St. Lawrence Nurseries – St. Lawrence Nurseries is a small, family-run business. The Nursery was started in the 1920’s by Fred Ashworth, a Northern New York farmer and plant breeder who during his lifetime made many contributions to the world of edible and ornamental plants, but especially to the relatively undeveloped realm of cold-hardy fruit and nut trees. Bill MacKentley met Fred in 1972, and, inspired by this extremely knowledgeable yet humble and generous man, worked with him as a friend and apprentice. When Fred Ashworth died in 1977, Bill decided to continue his mentor’s work, propagating new and old varieties of cold-hardy edible plants and making them available to growers in northern climates. Bill and his wife Diana purchased the land in Potsdam, New York, where Fred had carried on most of his nursery work. Over the years, by collecting and planting seed from Fred’s original nut tree selections and by continuing to propagate the many fruit cultivars tested and recommended by Fred, we have kept much of his knowledge and experience alive. To this we have added new discoveries and experience gained from living and growing trees in an uncompromising climate.

South Meadow Fruit Catalog – Southmeadow Fruit Gardens was established to make available choice and superior varieties of fruit trees and plants for the connoisseur and home gardener. After searching for sourcewood and testing for authenticity, these varieties are propagated at our nursery in Southwestern Michigan. They are available to the public through this online catalog.

Seed Savers Exchange – they have an apple grafting workshop and you get to take home a few heirloom apples if you attend. I wanted to attend this year but had a scheduling conflict. Follow them on Facebook to keep abreast of their events.

Trees of Antiquity – As always, our nursery is centered on the rich history and future discoveries that our heirloom apple trees provide through the years. We continue to discover the unique flavors, textures and lore that surround our heirloom fruit trees and look forward to extending this experience to your home.

Tower Hill Garden – Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Boylston, MA. They are have a Shades of Autumn Festival which will include taste-testing tours of the famous antique apple orchard – with 119 varieties of pre-20th Century apples. They also offer whips or scions in the spring as well.

Vintage Virginia Apples – Rural Ridge is a family-run orchard dedicated to exploring the varieties of apple that can thrive in Albemarle County,Virginia. Thomas Jefferson experimented with 18 or more varieties of apples at Monticello, only a few miles from our orchard. Rural Ridge grows the dozen or so of those cultivars that are still extant as well as hundreds of other old-fashioned varieties that offer delightful alternatives to the limited varieties currently available in grocery stores.

Wagon Wheel Orchard – Offer bench grafts of hundreds of varieties of apples and pears. Not all varieties are offered each year. Like them on Facebook to keep up with their graft sales.

One reader mentioned in the comments that The Home Orchard Society is a great resource for gardeners like us. They offer lots of information and a scion swapping in the spring.

What’s your favorite variety of apple? Any great heirloom apple resources to add to the list?

More Resources:
Heirloom Seed List
Seed Potato Sources
Alternative Allium Sources

Resources: Heirloom Seed Companies

January 21st, 2011

For all of you interested in great heirloom non-GMO seed companies, here’s a list I’ve been compiling for a few years. I keep adding as I find more, so let me know if you have any great companies to add. Bookmark or Pin this page as a resource because I do update it often.

Abundant Life Seeds – At Abundant Life Seeds we have been protecting the genetic diversity of rare and endangered food crops since 1975. Our goal is to offer true-to-type open pollinated varieties grown using only certified organic or biodynamic farming methods. We pledge that we will not knowingly buy or sell genetically-engineered seeds or plants. We wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and ultimately people and communities

Adaptive Seeds – We grow and steward rare, diverse and resilient seed varieties and distribute these to other ecologically minded farmers, gardeners and seed savers. Most of our seed is adapted to the Pacific Northwest and short season northern climates. All of our seed is grown by us and a few local friends who act as our isolation gardens. We strictly sell only public domain, open-pollinated (OP) seed, and some diverse genepool mixes. NONE of our seeds are proprietary hybrids (F1), patented (PVP) or genetically modified (GMO) and all of our seed is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – We only offer open-pollinated seeds: pure, natural and non-GMO! We offer heirloom seeds from 70 countries, including many that we collected ourselves. Started in 1998 by Jere Gettle, as a means to preserve rare seeds. We are located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri

BBB Seeds – Founded in 1985, BBB Seed is a family-owned company located in Boulder, Colorado committed to providing high quality, open-pollinated and non-genetically modified seed to our customers. We offer an extensive variety of wildflower and vegetable seeds for all regions throughout the U.S. including high altitude gardens.

Bountiful Gardens – Bountiful Gardens sells untreated open-pollinated non-GMO seed of heirloom quality for vegetables, herbs, flowers, grains, green manures, compost and carbon crops. We are able to offer many varieties as Certified Organic, Natural, Biointensive or Grow BiointensiveTM sustainable seed. Specialties: Rare and unusual varieties. Medicinal herbs. Super-nutrition varieties.

Botanical Interests – “At Botanical Interests our goal is to inspire AND educate so that you can create beautiful and successful gardens. ” No GMOs – recently, we enthusiastically signed the SAFE SEED PLEDGE: We do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

Circa Plants – We are Brandon and Alyssa Burns and we have been selling historic seeds and plants since 1999. You can find us throughout the spring, summer, and fall at various garden shows where we love to meet our customers. Our business uses gardens and land that have been in the family since the 1800s.

Comstock, Ferre & Co – They are the oldest continuously operated seed company in the United States, they started back in 1820. Situated in the Historic Old Town of Wethersfield, CT near the city of Hartford . . . Comstock Ferré blends perfectly with the nostalgic past in this oldest of Connecticut’s towns.

Fedco – your source for cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate. Each year we observe hundreds of varieties, selecting only the best for inclusion in our catalogs. Through our product lines and cultural hints, we encourage sustainable growing methods. We offer a large selection of certified organic cultivars and regional heirloom varieties. We buy products from all over the world.

D. Landreth Seeds – Since 1784, the D. Landreth Seed Company has been providing its customers with one of the most extensive selections of fine lawn and garden seeds in the world. Our founders introduced into the United States some of the most beloved flowers and vegetables known today including the Zinnia, the white potato, various tomatoes, and our own Bloomsdale Spinach. We have become the oldest seed house in America because we are passionate in our quest for excellence in quality, service and innovation.

Gourmet Garlic Gardens – We love the country, living simply and doing hard farm and ranch work. Life is good. We grow much of our food in the family garden and dry, can or freeze food for the winter. Gourmets can only dream about food that tastes this good.

Grow Organic (Peaceful Valley Farm Supply) – PV carries only non-GMO seeds, signs the Safe Seed Pledge every year, most of the veg seeds are heirloom, all the flower seeds are open-pollinated. Offering so much more than organic seeds, from fruit trees to canning supplies, Grow Organic has all kinds of supplies for your homestead big or small!

High Mowing Organic Seeds – High Mowing Organic Seeds is an independently-owned, farm-based seed company dedicated to supporting sustainable agriculture and providing farmers and gardeners with the highest quality certified organic seed. 100% Certified Organic, Non-GMO Seeds. Over 450 Heirloom, Open-Pollinated and Hybrid Seeds. Organic Vegetable, Herb, Flower and Cover Crop Seed Varieties.

Hudson Valley Seed Library – Regional Seeds for the Hudson Valley area.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds – Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a privately held, employee-owned seed producer and merchant headquartered in Winslow, Maine, USA. The company was established in 1973 by our Founder and Chairman Rob Johnston, Jr. Johnny’s mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information and service. Our products include vegetable seeds; medicinal and culinary herb seeds; flower seeds; cover crops, farm seed, and pasture mixes; fruit plants and seeds, and high quality, problem-solving tools and supplies. We ship throughout the United States as well as internationally. We carry sizes ranging from small to large to suit the needs of home gardeners and small growers as well as retailers and wholesalers.

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds – Our goal is to bring you the world’s best seeds and to help you cultivate the most abundant of gardens for your family. Holding your garden and kitchen close to the center of your life can lead only to good things for you, your family and friends. They do sell some Seminis/Monsanto seed varieties, but if you write and ask they’ll send you a list so you an avoid them. They develop lot of varieties in their gardens and are a terrific resource for Northern gardeners and for gardening supplies like heating mats, soil blockers, and tools.

Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds – Extraordinary and Italian heirloom seeds.

Nichol’s Garden Nursery – has served home gardeners for more than 60 years. In a time of corporate culture and takeovers, we remain a family operated business, steeped in a tradition of customer service and fine food gardening. When you order from us you receive the finest quality seeds, plants and products. If you have a gardening question our knowledgeable staff is prepared to assist you. We are an original signer of the Safe Seed Pledge and offer no genetically modified seeds or plants. We at Nichols do not sell or offer treated seed, GMO seeds and this year we have discontinued purchasing from major GMO seed developers. You will notice some varietal changes and in almost every instance we offer a comparable substitute resulting from three years of vegetable trials to fulfill this objective.

Ohio Heirloom Seeds – Ohio Heirloom Seeds is proud to sell only the finest quality vegetable and herb seeds. We pledge to you that none of our seeds have been generically altered in any manner. All varieties are open-pollinated, meaning that you can harvest seeds from your fruit and grow the exact same variety, year after year.

Renee’s Garden – Renee’s Garden seeds are selected from growers we know and trust in the USA, Holland, Italy, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Thailand, Japan, China and New Zealand. All our seeds are carefully trialed and evaluated in our test gardens in different climate zones before being added to our line. We are strong supporters of sustainable farming practices and give our business to a wide range of small organic growers whenever they can provide the grade of seed we want to supply to our customers. We do not sell treated or GMO seeds and have signed the “Safe Seed Pledge” developed by The Council for Responsible Genetics.

Pinetree Garden Seeds – In addition to continuing to offer over 1100 vegetable and flower seed varieties, books, soap making, gardening products and kitchen gadgets, we will still be packing seeds by hand and answering all the phone calls and emails ourselves to provide you with the best possible service

Salt Spring Seeds – All our seeds are untreated, open-pollinated and non-GMO. We grow all our own seeds and sell only our most recent harvest.

Sand Hill Preservation Center – “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.”

Seeds of Change – 100% certified organic seed: vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Over 1,200 varieties: many heirloom, native and hard-to-find. Quality and performance in your garden or farm guaranteed!

Seed Savers – Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange members have passed on approximately one million samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners. We are a non-profit organization of gardeners dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a wonderful source for heirloom seeds and other open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds seeds with an emphasis on vegetables, flowers, and herbs that grow well in the Mid-Atlantic region. We support seed saving and traditional seed breeding. Seed savers and breeders are to thank for our rich selection and we will do whatever we can to support our customers and associates to carry on this noble tradition.

Sustainable Seed Company – We are a new generation of farmers who understand that if there is to be a bright future for humanity we need to start farming and living sustainably today. We sell over 100 varieties of heirloom seeds for less than a $1 No one out there currently does this. This creates a lot of extra work for us, but we want to make healthy food available to everyone and help stretch their ever shrinking dollar!

Territorial Seed Company – Territorial Seed Company is a privately held company, wholly owned by Tom and Julie Johns. Purchased in 1985 from its founder Steve Solomon, Tom and Julie have grown the business substantially over the past 26 years but have never strayed far from the original course set by Steve.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello – Specializing in heirloom and historical seeds

Terroir Seeds – We are a family owned and operated business focused on providing the highest quality seed, the best personal service, and making a positive impact in the community. We have a network of growers that are passionate about the seeds they grow for us. They are even more demanding about the quality than we are! We partner with growers that understand the importance of genetic purity, identifying and correcting genetic drift and continuing to select for the best possible qualities in the plants that have made them heirlooms to begin with.

Terroir Seeds – We are a family owned independent heirloom seed company offering the finest untreated heirloom vegetable, herb and flower seeds for home gardeners and small growers. We offer heirloom and open pollinated seeds, soil building and seed saving education combined with personal service, great selection and fast shipping.

The Thyme Garden Herb Company – The Thyme Garden Herb Company is an eclectic, earth friendly family business working with nature to provide organically grown herb seeds and herb plants, along with bulk dried herbs, herb teas, herb seasonings and much more. We are driven by our passion to add more to the environment than we take. Our beautiful display gardens offer visitors an opportunity to experience over 700 varieties of useful herb plants from all around the world as well as providing a source for our organically grown herb seeds and herb plants. We not only grow organic herb seeds and herb plants we have been cooking with herbs for nearly 30 years.

Vesey’s Seeds – Organic agriculture is not only good business; it is also the key to biodiversity, healthy soil and the understanding of our garden and farm ecosystems. Veseys is pleased to offer you this selection of certified organic seed – seed which has been produced under strict guidelines which govern the production of certified organic products. Veseys is also certified as a shipper/handler of organic seed.

Uprising Seeds – The majority of our seeds are still grown at our home farm Uprising Organics in Acme, WA and isolation plots throughout the county. The remainder are sourced from our great network of family farms in Washington, Oregon, N. CA and Idaho. Our growers are among the best and most experienced in the Organic Seed trade.

Victory Seed Company – Victory Seed Company is a small, family owned and operated organization that works to preserve plant varieties by locating, growing, documenting and offering heirloom and rare open-pollinated seeds to home gardeners. We grow seeds on our farm and help to support other seed farmers by purchasing from our network of growers.

West Coast Seeds (only in Canada) – specialize in certified organic, non GMO, open pollinated, and heirloom seeds and seed potatoes for organic growing.

Wild Garden Seed – We are an organic seed and vegetable farm in the Pacific Northwest. We produce farm-original varieties of many salad greens, vegetables, herbs and a few flowers.

Wood Prairie Farm – we are a small Certified Organic family farm in the State of Maine that market our products, and those of a number of other Certified Organic farmers that we know and trust, directly to our customers through our print catalog and this webstore. Our modest scale allows us to focus on producing high quality organic goods for you and your family. They have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.

Heirloom Seeds

Resources for Finding Organic Seeds:
ATTRA – search for organic seed sources

Where do you get your garden seeds from? Any great companies not listed here? 

Other Resource lists:
Heirloom Apples and other Perennial Fruits/Nuts
Seed Potato Sources
Alternative Allium Sources

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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.