I wanted to take the opportunity to briefly share some exciting additions to locally sourced seed here in the Great Lakes/Midwest region. Over the past couple of years I have gotten a chance to meet and exchange seed with a number of growers here in Indiana and Michigan. While I appreciate all my customers from all 50 states, I am always excited to engage with local growers and gardeners who can benefit from my efforts at adapting grains and other crops to our regional climate.
I wanted to mention a couple of regional seed growers who have started offering seed this year. Both are folks I personally know, have great respect for and above all, trust in their efforts to save seed, practice sustainable growing methods, and understand the need for regionally adapted seed sources.
My current trajectory as a seed grower is to focus primarily on grains. While I do offer a fair amount of legumes, tomatoes, peppers and a few others, my future focus will remain targeted on grains. These new seed businesses are offering much more by way of heritage beans, squash, and other veggies. If you are looking to add some exciting heritage crops to your gardens this spring, I urge you to check out these 2 seed houses. They currently sell all of their own seed, grown “on farm”, in Michigan.
First, I would suggest taking a look at Great Lakes Staple Seed. Operated by Eleanor and Scott Hucker, in Ortonville, Michigan. I received some of their bean seed last week (Alubia de Tolusa and Dolloff), and the seed was gorgeous and high quality! If you check out their website, you will find a great assortment of rare legumes including lentils, peas, soybeans, and other various common beans. In addition, they also have some great squash and grain varieties. I know for a fact they intend to offer a broader collection of grains in the future. Scott has been busy working his way through the entire corpus of the KUSA seed collection. These are rare grain varieties that need to be grown out, curated, and made more widely available.
Secondly, I would recommend taking a look at the Small House Farm, in Sanford, Michigan, operated by Ben and Heather Cohen. Ben has been busy helping to establish community seed banks, seed swaps, and seed libraries here in the Midwest. I met Ben in the fall of 2016, at a seed swap hosted by SEED Brown County, in Nashville, Indiana. They are now offering seed for a number of rare heirloom beans, squash and melons, as well as tomato and pepper varieties on their website. Small House Farm also sells cold pressed oils, seeds and nuts, and herbal body care products.
I also want to mention two larger, established seed companies based in Ann Arbor Michigan. Nature and Nurture Seeds specializes in seed that is locally grown, adapted to the Great Lakes Region/Midwest, and Heritage and Slow Food Ark of Taste varietals. The Ann Arbor Seed Company grows and processes open pollinated seed in Washtenaw County, Michigan, with the goal of offering local gardeners/farmers an alternative source for vegetable and ornamental seed. Both of these seed businesses offer a broad variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Grow Soil First, Grow Food Second, and please support local farmers and seed growers!