Saving the Past: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

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Emilee and Jeremiath (Jere) Gettle live down a dusty, rocky road near Mansfield in rural southwest Missouri. And yet what they’ve taken on as their life’s work is considered by many to be cutting edge, to the point of being… maybe, uh… hip?

The Gettles are, arguably, the leaders of the movement to make heirloom seeds the heroes of our plates once again. Their 12-year-old company, Baker Creek Heirlooms Seeds, has grown right along with people’s desire to get back to real food. Jere has known all along that heirlooms produce the best tasting fruits and vegetables and he isn’t shy about shouting it loud and proud.

These days his operation distributes nearly 250,000 seed catalogs yearly, has put together what is generally acknowledged as one of the best seed collections around with over 1400 different varieties of seeds and even hosts a gardening forum — I Dig My Garden. As if all that was not enough, Jere and Emilee have expanded their presence by purchasing seed operations in Petaluma, California and Wethersfield, Connecticut. When do they find time to sleep?

In a New York Times article by Christine Muhlke in August, 2010, Mr. Gettle allowed this:

“A lot of people are wanting to see something done the old way. They’re tired of plastic and modern things and modern food. People just want to taste what an old vegetable used to taste like when people developed them for flavor versus shipping.”

It’s clear the local food movement is the antidote against big ag and big food and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is the advocate for real food through their company’s old-school seeds.

Have you seen the difference between heirloom and conventional seeds?

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