A time-honored winter tradition for the Midwestern farmer is reading through the seed catalogs. Some years go well, some not so much, but the beautiful tableau of rich colors, mouthwatering descriptions, and endless possibilities wash away any second thoughts about committing to another season. We’ve just spent the better part of a month flipping through our catalogs and thought we’d share with you a little bit about what we’re getting and where those seeds are coming from.
In total, we’ll be growing a whopping 81 varieties of 40 or so different crops! We’ll have plenty of delicious tomatoes, broccoli, onions, sugar snap peas, beans, lettuce, onions, herbs, and squash, to mention just a few. Some of the “exciting” things I’m talking about include Chioggia beets, striped like a candy cane on the inside, Dragon carrots with a deep purple exterior and a mix of orange and yellow within, cone-shaped Caraflex cabbages, and we’re even planning on growing baby ginger. We have fun growing your food and want you to have fun eating it too – both delicious and visually appealing.
The vast majority of our seed comes from High Mowing Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds in the Northeast. High Mowing is doing great work providing all-organic seed and doing much-needed plant breeding for organic growers (i.e. plants that do well in systems with more hand labor and fewer pesticides). Johnny’s is an employee-owned company and has consistently offered some of the highest quality seed available, and bred some of my personal favorite varieties (Carmen peppers are the sweetest, most delicious I’ve ever had. I could eat 4 or 5 in a row just as a snack in the field).
We’ve also got a few varieties from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA, which offers thousands of heirloom varieties and it feels special to be growing plants that have a real history of place. Pride of Wisconsin will be the cantaloupe appearing in your late summer boxes, as will Wisconsin 55 tomatoes, and the Cincinnati Market Radish (upper-right) comes from my hometown in Ohio. A radish shaped like a carrot – how cool is that! Something new and different will be baby ginger from East Branch Ginger in Hawaii.