Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE - SAVING AMERICA'S HEIRLOOM VEGETABLES

One of my favorite catalogs that I get in the mail comes from
Seed Savers Exchange.


They have a great back story.  It's a group that has been around since 1975.  To understand their story, you need to know what "heirloom seeds" are.  Just like the name implies, as perhaps you might have a dining room table that was passed from your Grandparents to you, or maybe a favorite piece of jewelry, or maybe even something silly that's been in the family for generations, you probably call that a "family heirloom".

Seeds are done much the same way.  Plants that have been grown on a family farm, or found alongside the road in an abandoned homestead, are gathered for their seeds so that the genetic diversity of varieties that may no longer exist elsewhere can be maintained.  Generally speaking heirloom plants are more diverse and tolerant to diseases and pests so they are important to our food supply.

In 1975, Seed Savers Exchange began.  They are a NON PROFIT organization, based in Iowa, and their goal is to preserve and pass down these varieties for future generations.  They have over 25,000 now which makes them the largest seed bank outside of the Government.

Here is their latest catalog (a treasure I love to flip through and dream of our gardens next year).

Seed Savers Exchange 2011 Catalog
If you've ever been to the grocery store and bought "heirloom tomatoes", such as the ones in the photo below, you've had the product of heirloom seeds.

Heirloom Tomatoes
You see that they are different colors and different shapes and even different tastes....because they are varieties that haven't been around in years.  There are heirloom varieties of just about every type of fruit and vegetables
(at least 25,000).

So, kudos to the hardworking folks at Seed Savers Exchange.  If you get a chance, visit their website and order a catalog.  And plant some heirloom seeds...don't forget to save some seeds and pass them on!

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