4th Annual Heirloom Garden Show

The Seeds of Yesteryear at Baker Creek

| April/May 2004

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s owner Jeremiath Gettle gets into the spirit of the 4th Annual Heirloom Garden Show.
  • Heirloom Garden Show festivities include seminars, unusual herb and vegetable varieties, food and some great heirloom entertainment.

Greeted by a cow’s moo, an old brown turkey and soon after by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s owner, Jeremiath Gettle, I knew I had recieved all the introduction to the 4th Annual Heirloom Garden Show I needed.

Gettle has been a gardener since he was 4 or 5. Encouraged by his parents’ gardening, he asked for his own garden space at an early age. He started Baker Creek Seed, named for the nearest body of water, seven years ago in the country a few miles north of Mansfield, Missouri, a small town best known as the setting for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adventures in the “Little House on the Prairie” books.

On the warm August day I arrived, the festival progressed rapidly. A steady stream of cars soon began to fill the large field. Greeters directed the visitors toward the activities and collected names and addresses for mailing lists for the seed catalog. Musicians set up their chairs on the broad open air porch and began to play foot-tapping bluegrass music. The food booth opened for business, offering hot veggie burgers (served on homemade whole-wheat buns with all the fresh tomatoes, sweet onion slices and cucumbers you could pile on), crispy heirloom apples, cookies and canned, exotic fruit juices (including guanabana, coconut, mango, papaya, durian and tamarind).

Throughout the day, speakers presented information on seed saving, heirloom varieties, trends in agriculture and organic gardening. Gettle gave a lecture and slide show of his recent seed-collecting trip to Thailand, highlighting some of the exciting new heirloom seed varieties he would be offering in his next seed catalog.

Hooked on Seeds

A remarkable seed collector, Gettle travels anywhere he can find old-world seed varieties that are in danger of extinction. New hybrid varieties, the ones sold as “new and improved,” often are just that, but they can’t be reproduced by the home grower. If you buy a hybrid seed, you have to go back to the producer and buy the seed from them the next year. Heirloom seed, by contrast, can be saved from season to season from what you have produced.

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