After spending hours poring over seed catalogs, fantasizing about what to grow, and figuring out the best deals, our bulk seed order for the 2016 season is off to the races! This year we are able to trial some really beautiful new varieties. In my mind, flavor, health and beauty are inextricably linked, synergistic even, when it comes to the food that we grow. I want to be growing food that emphasizes all of those qualities.
This year we are growing more heirloom and open-pollinated varieties than ever before. This is the best practice we have to undermine the power of Big Business in our food supply. While some of our produce like beans and carrots must still be bought in bulk, we are working towards growing as much of our own seed as is practical at our scale, and hopefully relying on local seed growers (or at least very sustainable growers) for the rest. After putting some time in to saving seeds this past season, I realized how incredibly easy it is to save more seed than we could ever possibly use.
In addition to growing our seed bank, we are aiming to supply our CSA with a more well rounded selection of items over a longer period of time. Because of our northern climate, this goal requires us to grow storage varieties of vegetables such as Russet Burbank Potatoes, Southport White Globe Onions, Detroit Dark Red Beets, and Danvers 126 Carrots as well as staple foods like dry beans and corn. Last season was the first time I have ever grown corn and now it is one of my favorites. Its a shame that there is so much negativity attached to such a remarkable plant. However, the crowning jewel of our growing this year, and the one I am most excited to offer, is a tomato variety that has been grown and seed saved by our neighbor Jeff for over 40 years! He calls it “Grand Pacific” and I have not been able to find anything like it for sale anywhere. These beauties commonly grow to be the size of a grapefruit and have some of the sweetest flesh I have ever tasted. They hold flavor for canning, make great sandwiches and sauces, and best of all they are have been adapting to our local weather for a long time. We are hoping to make this our staple tomato and offer a wide selection of cherry and grape tomatoes along with it.