I order seeds from a number of seed companies, and, in an earlier post this past month, I shared some of my thoughts about a few organic heirloom seed suppliers that we're less than respectable. But, there are many heirloom seed suppliers that are exceptional, with excellent materal, service and authentically grown and collected varieties. In this post, I am going to share a new fav, and one which is rather new on the scene. Meet Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Oh God.......if I have to pick just one melon, which one would it be?
I first ordered from Baker Creek last spring, when I found their site online, and discovered their amazingly long list of heirloom tomatoes. Check it out, it is a little overwhelming! But enough about heirloom tomatoes, for this winter, I received a printed catalog from Baker Creek in the mail, and suddenly I could read about the amazing back story of the company, and, see what a beautiful catalog it is. The company has an inspiring back story, since it was started by Gere Gettle when he was 17 years old, and that, my friends, was only 12 years ago! In 1998 he was filling orders with his mom in his bedroom, and had 550 orders. Five years later, he printed 20,000 catalogs. In 2000, her carried 725 varieties in the catalog, and in 2008, he had 1200 varieties. This year, he printed 150,000 catalogs, and, the catalog is stunning. More like a well designed lifestlyle magazine, than a seed catalog. It's a little too tempting. Check out some of these spreads I photographed last Sunday before our big storm in New England.
They carry flowers, too. A selection of heirloom squashes make selecting just one, practically impossible. Next to tomatoes, which I will let you discover with Baker Creek, squashes are some of the most impressive when grown from heirloom seed. For ornament or flavor, heirloom squashes are suppreme. Not everything is better when grown from heirloom seed, but sometimes, they offer a more authentic product, and squashes fit into this category. With varieties from quiet villages and countries from around our planet, heirloom squashed demonstrate an ethnic narrative that few agricultural crops can today.And you can grow a piece of our human history in your garden. And taste it too. With heirlooms, often the story is what makes the experience so rich. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds tells you so much about each variety, that you just want to buy them all, and sometimes, people do. Last year, about half of the tomatoes I wanted, became sold out, so order early. I am growing some very special oriental eggplants this year. An heriloom Sweet Pea is already emerging in the greenhouse. These varieties are often more fragrant, but less showy. But there is a charm about them, that one cannot get from the big, blousy Spencer varieties from England. Some seeds of more slower growing varieties of vegetables have been started early. I am simply using seed trays for many of these, since I am only sowing a dozen seeds or so of certain peppers, eggplants and fennel.