Seeds, seeds, and seeds. Cleaning seeds, germinating seeds, packing seeds, and ordering seeds occupied much of our energy last week.
We now offer 60 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers with more flowers coming soon. Seeds have always been a passion project of mine and not the main revenue driver behind Folks Farm. I save seeds to feel more connected to my work, continue a lineage, support a regional food system, and grow the plants I recognize as friends.
Since we have not collaborated with other seed growers, every variety has been grown and saved from our farm. We are conscious of what we grow balancing keeping our varieties from crossing and still providing diversity for our CSA and markets. I am really excited about the new additions to this year’s catalog.
After trying for 3 years we successfully saved an Italian Basil, Genovese. This variety is an organic standard across market farms. We have tried to save seed every year but they were never vigorous enough to sell. Last year we blocked off a stand of basil and never harvested from those plants. Since they were companion planted with tomatoes it became pretty difficult to harvest the tomatoes and not get in trouble with all the bees. Those plants left to flower and put all their energy into making seed did exactly that and made some super high quality offspring.
Dark Star Zucchini has also graced our offerings. This squash was developed in Northern California at Eel River Seeds. Through a collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance this new variety was bred to have an open growing habit and be as productive as its hybrid competitors. It having been our 2nd year growing this variety I can safely say that I was overwhelmed by the delicious fruits at least once last year.
Cucumbers, like summer squash, need to be isolated to avoid outcrossing. We successfully grew the heirloom Marketmore 76 Cucumber in our tomato tunnel this season. It was a blast watching the vines climb up the tomato plants and set their heavy fruits off the ground (totally unintentional). In the last moments of fall we harvested the overripe fruits, scooped and fermented the seeds, dried them, and now they are germinating close to 100%.
Biennial plants are always special to save seed from. It is amazing to see a carrot or turnip take flight with flowers and eventually seeds. This year we harvested our first commercial quantity of onion. Valencia is a large yellow Spanish onion that makes me cry every time I cut into a root. We selected the best onions from 2020 for superb winter storage, shape, and full wrappers. Come spring we replanted the bulbs in companion with fava beans. The seeds originally came from Aspen Moon Farm and before that Abbondanza in Boulder County. This is truly a regional variety having been adapted to Colorado’s Front Range for over 20 years. It is an honor to carry on the lineage of this historical and ubiquitous crop.
This week is all about getting the seed room to distribution mode, crop planning, and material orders. We are taking pre orders through our web store and hope to begin shipping seeds by the end of January. If the weather continues to be nice this week we will start moving our greenhouse from North Farm to our new rental home. It is bittersweet to move from the original Folks Farm but a much needed step towards simplifying the 2022 growing season.
We have added an additional CSA share size, The Super Share. If you plan on preserving food this year, hosting epic dinner parties, or want to give a little extra to the farm this is the share for you! Let this be your warning, this share is intended for vegetable eating heroes and will be quite a bit of food purchasing power.
Intentions of the week:
Keeping a clean and organized schedule with realistic goals
Take time to exercise and rest
Moving thoughtfully and effectively through large projects
Keep it light