The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Pink Plume' celery

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Pink Plume' celery

In 1894, the Peter Henderson & Co. seed house of New York introduced Pink Plume celery. Its beautiful appearance and intense flavor inspired gardeners and seed companies to add it to their collections. By 1903, over 100 seed houses across North America were offering this variety.

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Enrico Rao' arugula

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Enrico Rao' arugula

SSE listed member Hans Hansen, of Peaceable Kingdom School in Texas, sent SSE this arugula in the mid-1990s. Peaceable Kingdom School received seeds for this variety from Ric (Enrico) Rao in 1992. Ric had been growing and saving seed from his family’s heirloom arugula since finding some seeds in his grandfather’s garden shed in 1983.

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Donations to SSE make a difference every day

Donations to SSE make a  difference every day

Do you ever wonder how your investment is used at Seed Savers Exchange?  How your donation or membership has an impact for the greater good?  Meet Lori.

“I grow heirloom tomatoes, and this year, in honor of my 50th birthday, I grew 50 varieties and I got probably a third of them from a Seed Savers Exchange member who had seeds in the Yearbook.  I talk about this place all the time and have become known in the community as someone who grows heirlooms.”

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Adding donations to the SSE Collection: The Gary Staley Collection

Adding donations to the SSE Collection: The Gary Staley Collection

All seed collectors, no matter the size of their collection, should try to gather historical and varietal information about their seeds. SSE's top Collection priorities are heirlooms with a history of being saved and shared within a family or community. Ideal donations are well documented and have a story with a clear chain of ownership and providence.

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Top 3 Heirloom Tomatoes Chosen at SSE 2015 Tomato Tasting

Top 3 Heirloom Tomatoes Chosen at SSE 2015 Tomato Tasting

The 10th annual Tomato Tasting at Heritage Farm near Decorah, IA took place on September 5th, 2015. Hundreds of attendees sampled heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes to find the best flavor and crown a champion.

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Step Up to the Plate: Stewed Lettuce

Step Up to the Plate: Stewed Lettuce

According to William Woys Weaver’s 1997 book Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History, the lettuce we know as 732 ‘Paris White Cos’ was "sold in this country as early as 1802 by Bernard M’Mahon of Philadelphia. M’Mahon sold it under the name White Cos."  Weaver describes the lettuce as “a heavy drinker and will never develop its famous crispness unless it is kept well-watered, none of which seemed out of the ordinary to me. But Weaver goes on, “This is also one of the popular lettuces that was used for stewing..." Yes, you read that correctly. Stewed lettuce. It sounded slimy to me, but intriguing nevertheless.

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Step up to the Plate: What's a Turnabaga?

Step up to the Plate: What's a Turnabaga?

At Seed Savers Exchange we sometimes lovingly refer to our collection of 103 turnips and 81 rutabagas as “turnabagas.”  Confusion reigns over these crop types; many turnips in our collection are actually rutabagas. Much of the confusion stems from the fact that a common name for rutabaga is Swedish turnip. Botanically, however, the two are different species. Our favorite example of this confusion is the ‘Westport’, or ‘Macomber’, turnip, or as it’s known in the Heritage Farm Collection, Turnip 8. 

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Feaster Heirloom Mustard Feast

Feaster Heirloom Mustard Feast

When he donated seeds to us last year, Jerome said, “Cool weather is greens weather, and we like to eat these greens on special occasions. A popular menu is to have them served with sweet potatoes and ham.” Well, this year, Jerome wanted to share his tradition with the staff at SSE, so he sent up a box of freshly picked greens to help us celebrate New Year’s Day!

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Seed Savers Exchange Members Evaluate the Collection

Seed Savers Exchange Members Evaluate the Collection

Each year Seed Savers Exchange members from across North America trial garden varieties from SSE's genebank collection. They send us reports on performance and taste qualities, and photos of the varieties growing in their gardens and harvested in their kitchens. Read on to find out some the results we've seen and some of the varieties we've tested.

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