Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Visit To Hudson Valley Seed Library's Farm

When I saw that my favorite local seed company, Hudson Valley Seed Library, was offering a tour of their farm down near Kingston, NY, I quickly bought a ticket!  Zero hesitation.  I love this company, I love farms, and I love a good daycation.

You can read about their story on their website but the short of it is that a group of friends bought an old Catskill camp property {for non locals, think Dirty Dancing}.  One thing lead to another and one couple turned their love of preserving culture through seeds into a small business via a seed farm.  The plants they grow are grown for their seeds, not to be sold as food.  

The property is so beautiful, surrounded by woods and nature.  They have been careful to farm only a small portion of the land as to allow wild flowers and nature to live copesthetically.  

All of their seeds are grown organically and they only grow heirloom {old} varieties.  The company began as a true seed library.  Which is exactly what it sounds like.  You borrow seeds for the season, grown your own, and then save seeds to return for others to use the following year.  It keeps old varieties that grow well in local regions thriving during a time when these heirloom varieties are going extinct.  

While I love growing edibles the most, there is something so special about seeing rows of flowers.  Even now, I sit here grinning like an old Cheshire Cat!  Such a lovely, cheerful sight!

We were able to see some great seed saving demonstrations.  The first two I saw were how to save tomato and summer squash seeds, both techniques with which I am already familiar.  {Though it was fun that the tomato seeds they were saving that day were from Stone Ridge tomatoes, which I am growing and loving for the first time this year.}. Then we moved on to see seeds saved from beans using a pour-over-the-fan method which was pretty interesting.  As well as a really cool device that uses a funnel and a vacuum and looks like a homemade version of the old game Mouse Trap.  

We had a few visuals of the final products.  I bought seed for the corn below to try for the first time next year.  It's a pale blue and short variety.  But it's sweet and when cooked it actually turns a darker blue.  Cannot wait to try it out in 2017!

Beans and onions and leeks oh my...

The seeds I picked up for next year {though I've actually already placed another order and know I will order again in February when I really figure out what I need for the season}.  

If you haven't seen the art packs that surround the Hudson Valley Seed Library seeds, you are missing out.  Every variety they grow gets a unique package designed by artists.  The artists are given a story about the seed they are commissioned to work on and the art reflects that story.  We were able to hear so many really moving stories and it just brought the already beautiful artwork to life.  We also got a sneak peek at a few that are being made next year {and fun side note...I found out that all of their printing work is done right here in Troy!}.  

This tour was easily a summer highlight for me.  I went into it thinking it might be an interesting way to spend my day but I came out incredibly inspired.  The company, the mission, the employees, the projects, the ideas, the passion, and the products are all so heartwarming and uplifting.  They aren't just saving seeds, they are saving stories and cultures.  

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