In 1995, my wife and I moved to Maple Corner in Calais, VT, and found a cool little house to rent. We had been traveling and the prospect of having more than 80 square feet of living space was really exciting. Our plan was to get to know the local area, work on a few farms to get a feel for some different models, and then find our own piece of property to begin our own farm. That winter we met this guy who had also just moved to Calais, to a place called Gospel Hollow. He had plans to start a seed farm with some seeds he had grown in Pennsylvania. He wanted to start a company that would some day serve the needs of organic farmers and gardeners. We had lots to talk about and became good friends.
During that first summer, Tom had a few workshops at his house, and I remember feeling like there was more going on than could possibly be contained on his small piece of land. The energy that he brought to what he was doing was just too big, and it was kind of contagious.
There were different kinds of plants everywhere you looked, in various states of maturity; the place was just wild. Having been groomed on small vegetable farms where this kind of chaos would have never worked, it was a bit of a head scratcher for me. At one point someone asked why there were sunflowers all over the place. Was it for pollination? Did it attract good bugs? Tom stopped what he was doing, looked him right in the eye and said, “They’re soul food.”
The seeds harvested from that year in Vermont were the start of High Mowing Organic Seeds—called The Good Seed that first year—as you know us today. From a single handwritten sheet of paper to a color catalog with over 650 certified organic varieties, High Mowing has become a whole-farm seed company. It has taken the hard work of lots of people to get where we are, but one of the coolest things about it is how it all unfolded, and our success is because of you. Our customers rock. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. You are part of a movement that values wholesome food, sustainable farms, and local food systems. We know that there are lots of companies that you can choose from and we are grateful for your support. Your decision to use our seeds is what has allowed High Mowing to get to where we are today. The bottom line is without you, High Mowing wouldn’t be here. Thank you from all of us.
I still have a few High Mowing packets of beans from then that were hand-labeled with a yellow marker back in the day, and they are special to me. I think back to Tom writing on each of the packets that went out the door, and I have to smile. They represent the start of something pretty amazing.
During this short lull between the end of my harvest and the beginning of my winter in the High Mowing sales office, it’s nice to take a moment to be thankful for having been a part of this wild journey and incredible community. Happy Thanksgiving.
All my best,