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Where Did My Favorite Heirloom Seeds Go?

Jan 13, 2012

We often get phone calls and emails concerning a customer’s favorite variety of heirloom seed and why it is not offered on the website or catalog this year. There are several reasons that items come and go. Some will be back in a year or two, while unfortunately, others will probably not return.

Every variety that we offer is grown for us and undergoes a lot of scrutiny, inspection and quality selection. Established standards are reviewed for each variety to ensure that the crop is growing true to type, both in physical characteristics and fruit production. We look at many more things than just the fruit production, however. Other characteristics such as germination time, leaf shape, blossom color and appearance, specific fruit shape, color and of course flavor all play a part in the selection process. If a variety does not meet our standards, it is pulled and put into the selection process, meaning it will be grown out and selected for the physical characteristics, traits, and flavors that distinguish that particular heirloom variety. This selection process can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years. If it is determined that the selection process will take too long or does not have a good chance of success, a new source of seed is needed.

Read the rest of "Where Did My Favorite Heirloom Seeds Go?"


Stephen Scott is co-owner of Terroir Seeds, a family owned and operated heirloom seed company that focuses on the "Cycle of Terroir"- from the soil, to the seed, to the food you eat, providing education and information on all phases of the cycle.


When it comes to rare vegetable seeds, it's important to maintain quality. Too often I find that seeds that I've purchased from a seed company are not even the variety I was expecting. I'm sure it is very difficult to maintain quality today with all the challenges facing seed companies, but if the seeds aren't true, what else do you have?
Bill, I've never had a bad seed purchase problem & I want never to have one! Do we dare name the companies that send miscellaneous or non-viable seed? After all, the sellers on eBay & elsewhere are all rated ... Have you ever asked a Bad Seed company to make it right? and if so, what happened?
I bought the organic seeds at Walmart, but I don't remember the provider company.
Your experiences only serve to underscore the importance of getting to know who you are buying seeds (and food) from! Only then can you know how they were grown and how careful (or not) they are with quality, purity and germination rates.

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