“Scientists know we must protect species because they are the working parts of our life-support system.” —Biologist Paul Ehrlich
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Old Wethersfield, Connecticut
Offering heirloom, non-genetically modified seeds, Baker Creek’s store in Petaluma’s historic Sonoma County National Bank building is a beacon for gardeners, foodies and tourists. Last June, Baker Creek added a new family member—Comstock, Ferre & Co., the oldest continuously operated seed company in the United States. Owner Jerre Gettle plans to preserve Comstock’s historic East Coast garden and create a green agro-tourism destination.
Learn more, shop online, order a free seed catalog, find events and more: www.rareseeds.com.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Founded in a New Hampshire farmhouse attic in 1973 by a 22-year-old vegetable grower named Rob Johnston, Johnny’s is a partially employee-owned company dedicated to rigorous seed testing and top-quality, non-hybrid products. You can tour Johnny’s 40-acre research farm Monday through Friday, July through September.
Order seeds, catalogs and tools, arrange a visit or learn about plant breeding: www.johnnyseeds.com.
Seed Savers Exchange
Dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, Seed Savers Exchange members have been distributing rare garden seeds for 35 years. Visit their 890-acre Heritage Farm to see the group’s gorgeous preservation gardens, the source of the largest nongovernmental seed bank in the United States.
Order vegetable, herb and flower seeds, books and products, or donate to the nonprofit: www.seedsavers.org.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, offers heirloom varieties tested for performance, flavor and disease resistance. Though the group focuses primarily on plants suited to the Mid-Atlantic, it provides seeds, education and services for gardeners nationwide. The small staff doesn’t accommodate farm visits.
Order seeds or a catalog: www.southernexposure.com.
Terroir Seeds/Underwood Gardens
Chino Valley, Arizona
Family owned and operated, Terroir Seeds and its associated gardens, Underwood Gardens, specialize in heirloom, organic and rare seeds, soil building and seed saving. The group grows some of its seeds on its 3-acre garden in Chino Valley; the rest are grown by Terroir’s network of gardeners and family growers across the country.
Order seeds or a catalog: www.underwoodgardens.com.