As I enter my 8th season of intensive crop trialing and seed increasing, I wanted to take the opportunity to share about some of the changes taking place for 2020/21. My initial intention for starting a “seed business” was to be able to offer seed for varieties of staple crops adapted to the Midwest. While this effort has continued, the overall scope of my seed trialing took on ever expanding reaches that went way beyond my original purpose. This was not a negative consequence but rather the positive outcome of having come into contact with so many excellent seed savers here in the US and abroad whom have shared tremendous amounts of precious seed with me. To this day I am still in awe of the enormity of rare and forgotten varieties of grains and legumes, let alone vegetables. When I grew my first seed plot in 2013 I had 3 beds of Duborskian Upland Rice, the only variety of upland rice that I had ever heard of. I really felt I had stumbled onto something unique for northern climates. Jump forward to 2020, to date I have successfully trialled and offered seed for 38 varieties, with 36 new varieties awaiting trialing this summer! And that is just a drop in the bucket for the total number of known and unknown upland rice varieties.
The problem with 7 seasons of continuous trials and seed increases is that is has kept me from pursuing a long list of projects. Some involve breeding, others related to growing methods. 7 seasons has given me knowledge of a good number of specific varieties that can now be plugged into experiments like same species “mixture plots”, multi-cropping and intercropping systems. I also have a desire to work more closely with my immediate regional community. In order to be able to pursue these ideas I need to reduce the amount of space and time I have devoted to maintaining the large selection of crops that have been available through my website. For the 2021 growing season and beyond, I will be offering the following for sale through this website.
Upland Rice The successes from the 2020 trials will be available for purchase for the 2021 growing season as well as a number of varieties that have done well in the past.
Wheat There will be a number of new winter wheat varieties available in September for fall planting. These will include a number of heritage wheats from the Republic of Georgia as well as a few other European selections, including free threshing emmer and Jacobi Borstvete. A number of the best of the previous winter wheats I have grown will likely be available in the future.
All other varieties of crops will no longer be available for purchase through this website. The rarest of these varieties will still be grown on my farm in small maintenance plots. This will not provide enough seed for me to sell but in the future I hope to have seed for sharing with individuals for their trials and projects. I will also be working with some other growers like Kevin Payne in Taft California to help in maintaining these varieties. I am currently working to convert all of Sherck Seeds “seeds for sale” crop pages into an easily navigable series of posts for archival research.
I greatly appreciate all the support from customers and fellow growers I have received these last 8 seasons. I hope that Sherck Seeds (which will likely become Sherck Seeds Research) can still play a helpful role in the advancement of sustainable, diverse small scale agriculture.