Where did summer go? It's hard to believe it's time to trade in the fresh watermelon slices for pumpkin pie. We are still harvesting loads of produce just in time to stash away before the winter winds blow. It feels so good to see all that delicious summer produce safely housed in the freezer or preserved in glass. The nutritional value of homegrown food far exceeds that of store bought.
If you haven't amassed some homegrown goodness yet, there is still time to build a cold frame and sow some cool season greens to enjoy through late fall and even the winter months.
By the way, have you saved any seeds from your garden this season? If the answer is no, it's not too late. If you've planted any heirloom, open-pollinated varieties, do your part by saving seed to grow next year or to share with your friends.
If you've been a long-time reader of this publication, you know how passionate my family is about protecting our generational inheritance of genetic diversity in the form of heirloom seeds. We extend our seed-saving efforts far beyond our own garden plots to across the sea where we embark on seed-saving expeditions. Several months ago, we traveled throughout Thailand in search of heirloom tribal fruit and vegetable varieties that were new to us. The memories we made were priceless as are the store of seeds we amassed on our journey. By the end of the trip, we had located and preserved 30+ heirloom varieties.
We need more passionate people who are dedicated to seeing ethnic seeds preserved as well as old-fashioned favorites here in the States. Did you know that a study by the Rural Advancement Foundation International in 1983 found that 93 percent of our historic seed varieties were beyond the chance of saving — they were extinct. Imagine all the delicious, nutrient-dense food crops our ancestors enjoyed that slipped through the cracks due to negligence and the promise of a brighter tomorrow via modern agriculture. We are now realizing the error of our ways, but regretfully it's too late for what is already lost. It's time to do our part to ensure that our grandchildren can enjoy what is left of our inheritance. It may seem like a small thing, but do your part this season; save some seeds and pass them along! You are an irreplaceable link in the preservation process!
By the time you read this issue, we will be in full swing for The National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. This annual event has grown by leaps and bounds. It's a wonderful place to meet fellow gardeners, heirloom experts and food activists, not to mention all our wonderful farmers in the furrows. Last fall we were graciously offered a night's stay at the Farmhouse Inn in Saint Helena, California, as we prepped for the Expo. Mimi and Ed Brown spoiled us with delicious food, a comfortable night’s stay, and grazing rights in their beautiful garden.
Thanks again for taking time out of your busy harvest season to peruse this issue.