Our Gift to You GIVEAWAY!

Our customers are awesome! Your decision to buy organic seeds directly results in healthier air, water & communities, encourages further investment in organic research, and supports the many family farms (including ours!) that grow the seeds that end up in our packets.

So this month we want to say ‘Thank You’ with an organic swag bag just for you! One lucky winner will receive:

  • our comfy NEW Organic Logo Tee  that’s made in the USA & printed with eco-friendly water-based inks, available in Ocean Blue (Men’s fit) or Amethyst (Women’s fit)
  • our NEW 70% organic cotton Eco-Trucker hat to keep you cool all summer long (available in black with black mesh or blue with cream mesh)
  • our Garden Starter Seed Collection, full of easy-to-grow varieties for direct seeding and
  • a $25 Gift Certificate for seeds or supplies of your choice!

 

HOW TO ENTER
It’s easy: just click “Log In” below if you have a Facebook account (if you don’t have Facebook, just click “Use Your Email” to create a Rafflecopter account). Then follow the instructions to enter for more chances to win!

Contest starts Thursday, December 10th at 11am and ends Thursday, December 17th at 11pm EST. Good luck, have fun and happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Contests, Variety Highlights | 124 Comments

Growing Partners: Golden Earthworm Farm

This article is part of Growing Partners, our new series focusing on the farmers, gardeners, seed growers, breeders, vendors and non-profits we work with that are demonstrating leadership in environmental and social stewardship. We’re so invigorated by their trail-blazing work, we want to share it with the world–and hopefully inspire the real food leaders of tomorrow to follow in their footsteps.


Maggie, Matt & sons on the cover of our 2016 catalog

Maggie Wood and Matthew Kurek (featured on the cover of our 2016 catalog, at right) own Golden Earthworm Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm on Long Island, NY. They have been growing with High Mowing seeds since 2007 and this year they’re celebrating 20 years in business!

HMOS: First off, please give some background about your history, location and how you distribute your produce.

MW: Our farm is located on the North Fork of Long Island. We farm two parcels of land, one adjacent to Long Island Sound, and the other near the Peconic Bay. Surrounded by water, we farm in a relatively temperate climate with a great long autumn. It is increasingly dry and the soil is sandy loam to loam, so we irrigate a lot, but our soil is mostly gravel-free, making it excellent for growing root crops.

We currently have 75 acres in annual crop production, growing vegetables, strawberries and baby watermelons for a 2,100-member CSA and three farmers markets. Matthew started the farm on a half acre in 1993 and the farm was officially named, “The Golden Earthworm Organic Farm”, in 1995, so, like High Mowing, we’re celebrating our 20th year in business!

HMOS: Why did you start Golden Earthworm, and how has it grown or changed over time?


Matt Kurek with Music Garlic

MK: I started the farm after several years working as a natural foods chef in Manhattan. I’d spend hours at farmers markets in the city talking with farmers, and became interested in growing vegetables myself. I started out planting tomatoes in my backyard in Brooklyn, learning as I went, and it quickly became clear that I belonged in the field, not the kitchen. I began the farm to provide nutritious organic food for people, to provide meaningful, rewarding work with a distinct purpose for myself, and to improve the health of our environment by farming in an eco-friendly manner. And it seemed like it might be fun!

We started out selling to restaurants, which was the world I was familiar with, and then gradually shifted to a mix of farmers markets, wholesale and restaurants. But after learning about CSAs in 1999, we decided to give it a try, starting with 15 members. We were intrigued by the idea of a community-supported farm and selling directly to the people who were going to eat our produce.


A summer CSA box from Golden Earthworm

HMOS: What is the mission of Golden Earthworm? What makes it unique?

MK: Our mission is to grow exceptional quality organic produce for people at a reasonable price. We hope to bring people closer to their food and environment through their experience and relationship with our farm.

MW: We also want to show that farming can be a viable business, blending the best of traditional farming practices with developments in technology and crop nutrition research to farm efficiently.

 


Vegetables at a Golden Earthworm farmers’ market stand

HMOS: What is the relationship between Golden Earthworm and your local community, and how do you foster this relationship?

MW: As the largest CSA on Long Island, we serve dozens of communities from Queens to the East End of Long Island (where we’re located).  We’re longtime sellers at 3 farmers’ markets and work with the United Way of NYC and Just Food to bring our fresh organic produce to food pantries and emergency food programs in Queens.

In general, we have a very practical relationship with our CSA members and take the CSA experience very seriously. We provide farm updates, recipes and cooking advice through our weekly newsletter and comprehensive website, helping members get the most out of their weekly shares. Members and their families are invited to the farm in June for farm tours and for our annual CSA Harvest Fest in October, where they connect with their farmers and other members of our farm community.

HMOS: What are the biggest challenges with your business, and what innovations or technology have you embraced to overcome them?

MW: Like most farmers, securing reliable labor is a big challenge.  We’re constantly looking for innovative tools and equipment that will make us more efficient and less dependent on manual labor.  These efficiencies also help us keep our costs down and allow us to deliver our crops at a reasonable price to our customers.


Matt, Maggie & their sons in a field of Oranos F1 peppers

HMOS: How have your priorities changed over time, and how have these shifts affected the farm?

MW: A big shift happened in 2010 with the birth of our first child. Until that point, we never really thought about creating a healthy work-life balance, it was just all work, all the time!

Now with two little boys, we have to plan for more time with them. Last year we cancelled our winter share to regroup and make up for lost time during the growing season. This year we’re easing back into a winter season CSA, but will only deliver through early winter so we can have family time in January and February.

HMOS: What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

MK: I suggest getting a few years of real farm experience to gain the necessary skills, attend as many good conferences as possible, thoroughly research future marketing options, and save some money!

HMOS: What are your goals for Golden Earthworm Farm, and how do you envision the future?

MW: We are content with our current size and only want to keep refining our farm. We’d like to secure more land so that longer rotations and field resting can become a more central part of our planning. As we strive to be better stewards of the land, we continuously refine our farming practices to be as ecologically-friendly as possible.

To learn more about Golden Earthworm, visit them on Facebook or at goldenearthworm.com

*  *  *

Maggie & Matt grow:

Marketmore 76 Cucumber

Oranos F1 Pepper

Corvair F1 Spinach

Yaya F1 Carrot

Traviata F1 Eggplant

Sweet REBA Acorn Squash

Sugar Dumpling F1 Winter Squash

Moskvich Tomato

Joan Rutabaga


Posted in Ask The Expert, Commercial Growing, Farm Ethics, Farmer Authors, Growing Tips, Kids and Gardening, Variety Highlights | Leave a comment

Chef’s Table: A Taste of the Culinary Breeding Network


Black Futsu Squash

The Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) is a group of plant breeders, chefs, seed growers, farmers and produce buyers dedicated to discovering and developing vegetable varieties with superior culinary qualities that thrive in the unique climate of the Pacific Northwest. In particular they work to identify varieties of interest, connect plant breeders with chefs to produce desirable varieties, actively promote traditional plant breeding and organic seeds, and increase knowledge exchange among breeders, growers & eaters.

 


For the 2nd Annual Variety Showcase, Chef Tim Wastell used varieties from Adaptive Seeds. His seared Albacore Tuna was cured in charred and fermented Gypsy Queen peppers and topped with a Szentesi pepper emulsion.

Our Pacific Northwest Sales Rep, Ada Snyder, recently attended the CBN’s 2nd Annual Variety Showcase held in Portland, Oregon in September 2015. The event brought together hundreds of farmers, chefs, breeders, journalists and more to taste existing, unreleased and new vegetable varieties & breeding lines focused on superior culinary quality. To get an insiders perspective of this amazing event and hear breeders & chefs discuss their creations, watch the Cooking Up a Story video feature or check out some beautiful photos here.

The Squash You’ve Never Heard Of

The CBN also works to remove barriers that present themselves to growers, chefs and eaters. Because many farmers struggle with storing winter squash, Alex Stone, OSU Vegetable Specialist, and Lane Selman, OSU Agricultural Researcher & CBN Director, are exploring the market potential of less common winter squashes that store exceptionally well.  In many cases these are larger squashes with superior flavor and a drier texture; most are unfamiliar to consumers.

In order to help growers market this kind of squash, consulting chefs Linda Colwell and Timothy Wastell analyzed 14 different winter squash types and evaluated their flavor profiles, provided suggestions for their best culinary applications and developed recipes for each one.


Chef Timothy Wastell

In November 2014 they held a Squash Party at Firehouse Restaurant. They brought together 35 farmers, chefs, seed growers and produce buyers to taste each squash raw, roasted and in a recipe, and to discuss marketing strategies for the varieties. You can learn more about the event and watch Chef Wastell prepare the Black Futsu salad recipe (below) in this video.

About Chef Timothy Wastell:

Chef Wastell loves creating food that is delicious, seasonally inspired, locally sourced, ingredient-focused, and meticulously executed for all people to enjoy. From the humble origins of small family restaurants in Michigan, Timothy has worked in some of the most highly lauded farm-focused restaurants in the West, including Game Creek and La Tour Vail, Paley’s Place, the role of Executive Chef of DOC restaurant, and most recently Executive Chef of Old Salt Supperhouse. Outside of the kitchen, Timothy is chef in residence to the Culinary Breeding Network.


Chef Timothy Wastell’s Black Futsu, Treviso & Pecorino Salad

Black Futsu Salad with Treviso, Pecorino and Anchovy

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For Salad

1 small Black Futsu squash, ripe (or substitute Musque de Provence or Butternut)

2-3 small heads of Treviso, washed

1 “grateable” chunk of Pecorino to yield about 2/3 cup grated

High-quality sea salt such as Jacobsen or Maldon

Fresh black pepper

For the Citronette

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3-1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, very gently and finely diced

1 clove garlic

4 anchovy fillets, preferably Recca brand, packed in olive oil (for a vegetarian version of this dressing, sub ½ head roasted garlic for anchovy)

Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the citronette – Combine the minced shallot and lemon juice in a bowl, season very lightly with salt and set aside. Finely chop the anchovy and garlic until a paste forms, combine with lemon/shallot mixture. Gently whisk in olive oil until just combined. This can be prepared up to a week ahead.
  2. Prepare the squash – Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop both halves. Tightly wrap and refrigerate one half for another use or tomorrow’s salad.  Cut the remaining half into two or three wedges and peel away all skin from their exterior. Very carefully, slice the wedges very thinly (think the thickness of 4-5 sheets of notebook paper stacked). Season with salt very lightly in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Compose the salad – Cut the Treviso into thin strips and toss gently in a large bowl to separate. Gently “squeeze” the sliced squash to remove any excess moisture then add to the Treviso bowl, mix gently and season lightly with salt and pepper. Liberally dress with the anchovy citronette and transfer to a serving dish. Grate Pecorino over the top, avoiding shyness, and finish with more cracked pepper. Serve.

 

Stay tuned for more from the Culinary Breeding Network!

All photography by Shawn Linehan.

 

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Ask The Expert, Breeding / Research Program, Recipes, Trials, Variety Highlights | Leave a comment

Seeding Change: Where Our Donations Went in 2015

Each year High Mowing donates thousands of seed packets to schools, non-profits and community groups across the country–and this year was no exception, with a whopping 143,657 packets donated to over 600 different recipients! But where did they all go? What did those seeds become? Here are a few ways our donated seeds had powerful and far-reaching impacts this year…


Produce from the Garden at 285 Elm St. in Montpelier, VT, which received seed donations through VCGN

In Vermont we partner with the Vermont Community Garden Network, KidsGardening.org & Gardener’s Supply to provide free seeds to garden groups all over the state. This year we sent them 7,875 seed packets which were distributed to:

  • 340+ low-income gardeners in Burlington, VT
  • 140 garden leaders at Grow It! workshops
  • 95 school & education sites
  • 45 migrant farmworker gardens
  • 20 community gardens
  • 16 childcare centers
  • 11 workplaces
  • 9 Gardens for Learning sites
  • 6 affordable housing sites
  • 2 food pantries
  • 1 senior center
  • 1 library

In addition to the many organizations we supported in Vermont and the 12,000+ packets we gave away via our Community Seed Bin, we also supported hundreds of organizations located across North America with our seed donations. Here are a few examples of the projects we supplied with seed this calendar year:

Lexington Seed Library at Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA – 2500 packets

“We have held seed starting, organic gardening and seed saving classes and workshops at our local community farm in support of the seed library. We also teach workshops on worm composting and the plant life cycle in our local public schools and in the children’s room at the library. Additionally we helped create a new community garden for our public school community and used your seeds there.”

Veterans Homestead Project, Hesperus, CO – 200 packets

“We provide agricultural training and a social gathering place for combat veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI. Homestead/farm skills support self sustainability, independence, self-worth, sense of purpose, possibility for reintegration to society, possible job training, fellowship, internship or simply a healing environment for combat veterans in Southwest Colorado.”


Kingsborough Community College Urban Farm

Kingsborough Community College Urban Farm, Brooklyn, NY – 200 packets

“Serving more than 15,000 degree and another 15,000 continuing education students every year, Kingsborough Community College (KCC) is dedicated to promoting educational and employment success for both traditional and non-traditional students. We broke ground on KCC Urban Farm in 2011, and have since become *the* place for community members and college students to explore their role in local and global food systems. Managed by students, faculty, and staff, our on-campus quarter-acre site includes approximately 7,000 square feet for cultivation and produces nearly 4,000 lbs. of produce annually.

At KCC Urban Farm, our mission is to catalyze thought, dialogue and action around food system issues. The farm site, staff, harvests, and curriculum are available to students, faculty and staff as they study earth sciences, culinary arts, nutrition, sustainability, GMOs, food security, worker rights and other topics related to our food system. Instruction at the farm includes credit-bearing course integration, Continuing Education classes, job-training programs, campus workshops and farm tours tailored to support course objectives and learning outcomes distinctive for a range of academic pursuits. KCC Urban Farm is a hands-on lab where students practice and develop skills of informed inquiry and academic research in a vibrant and interactive setting.”

REM Hennepin, Minneapolis, MN – 400 packets

“REM Hennepin, Inc. primarily serves individuals from Hennepin county who experience many forms of disability. Individuals receiving services by REM Hennepin may live with intellectual developmental disability (including autism spectrum disorder), brain injury, mental health issues, complex physical needs and neurological conditions. Staff are highly trained and dedicated to promoting community integration and independence. Our company provides seeds, soil, gardening boxes, etc. to our homes so clients can learn how to tend and grow flowers and vegetables.”

John P. Stevens High School, Edison, NJ – 400 packets

“John P. Stevens High School is a registered Eco School with over 2,200 students located in Edison, New Jersey. We are continuing to find new ways to teach living-green practices. We seek to expand the understanding of “how children can make greener choices” by utilizing our greenhouse so that our students will learn the value of gardening for their own nourishment. Educating children about the importance of creating an environmentally clean and safe ecosystem is essential in today’s world. It is not just about telling students what can be done to make greener choices, it is about designing experiences to allow the students to actually make those choices. Our greenhouse and your seeds will provide a cross curricular opportunity to grow food that students will utilize in cooking classes, investigate in scientific studies, and proudly share with the community through a farm stand run by students. We plan to use seed saving techniques so that the greenhouse program will be sustainable for many years to come.”


Soil Born Farms’ Urban Farm at American River Ranch

Soil Born Farms, Sacramento, CA – 100 packets

“Soil Born Farms is a nonprofit farm and education project in Sacramento which focuses on providing experiential learning opportunities for youths and adults with the primary goal of “Connecting Food, Health, and the Environment”. Soil Born Farms focuses on organic and sustainable food production on our own farm sites and by supporting/mentoring new farmers and gardeners, reconnecting people to their food—“seed to table”, and improving access to healthy food throughout our community with a specific focus on our most underserved populations.

Our farm-based educational program directly involves about 2,500 K-12 students each year. A percentage of the food we grow on our farm site is donated to our youth program participants, senior centers, food closets, food banks and local events. The total number of people that come to our farms for tours, classes, farm stand, and public events is estimated at about 12,000 annually.

Donated seeds will be used in our education program (students from schools throughout the Sacramento area, including many low income schools that get sponsored through our “Adopt-A-School” program) as well as distributed to residents and gardeners.”

Greater Lansing Food Bank, Lansing, MI – 80 pounds or so

“Garden Project is a division of the Food Bank and provides community garden space for people to grow their own food to reduce food insecurity and increase their access to fresh healthy food.  We provide seeds, plants, tool lending, and educational materials to gardeners at more than 116 community gardens in the greater Lansing area. Our preliminary numbers for 2015 show that we helped 843 families grow their own food and we distributed more than 9,642 seed packets and 24,888 vegetable starts.  We just acquired some new greenhouse space, so we’ll be using donated seeds to grow more of our vegetable starts, relying less on donations from local nurseries.

The Lansing Roots Farm (just started in 2013) is an incubator farm for people that want to start market gardening, but don’t have enough resources to start on their own. Many of these farmers are refugees, and seeds go to that program as well.”

Do you work with a school, non-profit or community organization with a garden or farm? Request a seed donation!

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Farm Ethics, Health and Wellness, Kids and Gardening, Philosophy | 5 Comments

Enter to Win our Local Feast GIVEAWAY!

‘Tis the season—to turn your homegrown produce into sumptuous holiday meals! What will you make this year? Our goal is to delight and inspire your holiday cookery with a Local Feast giveaway including:

  • a beautiful covered casserole dish, for baking and taking your goodies with you
  • Deborah Madison’s gorgeous coffeetable-sized cookbook Vegetable Literacy. Her book makes wonderful winter reading and is packed with stunning photos, in-depth information and delicious recipes for every conceivable vegetable!

HOW TO ENTER
It’s easy: just click “Log In” below if you have a Facebook account (if you don’t have Facebook, just click “Use Your Email” to create a Rafflecopter account). Then follow the instructions to enter for more chances to win!

Contest starts Thursday, November 19th at noon and ends Thursday, November 26th at 11pm EST. Good luck, have fun and happy feasting!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Contests | 115 Comments

Great Gifts for Green Thumbs + FREE Shipping!

“If you want to be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden.”

~ Chinese proverb

Inspire a loved one to plant their first seeds, support a gardening addiction or deck out the green thumbs in your life with organic goodies. No matter who you’re shopping for this season, we’ve got gifts for growers of all ages and abilities. Here are some of our favorites….(And the best part? They all ship FREE to the contiguous U.S. and Canada!)

Organic Apparel

The green thumbs in your life will love our NEW hats and t-shirts! Our NEW Organic Logo Tees take comfort to the next level with 100% certified organic, ultra-soft lightweight cotton that’s made & printed in the USA with water-based inks in a unique environmentally-sound process that is sturdier, more comfortable, and more attractive than traditional plastic-based inks.

Our Men’s tees are standard fit and come in Ocean Blue; Women’s tees are moderately fitted with a slight scoopneck and come in Amethyst.

 

 

 

We’re also excited about our NEW Eco-Trucker Hat, made with 70% sturdy organic cotton and 30% recycled polyester. The new hats feature our logo embroidered on the front and an adjustable, breathable mesh back that will keep you cool and comfortable all summer long! Hats are available in black with black mesh or navy blue with cream mesh.

 

Organic Gardening Kits

Next up: the ultimate gift for urban gardeners, our Best-selling Sprouts Collection. The kit includes our three best-selling varieties of sprouting seeds as well as a sprouting lid that fits standard wide mouth jars. Sprouting is a wonderfully easy way to produce your own fresh greens, all year round (even where space and light are very limited!) and makes a great activity for kids and gardeners of all ages. Simply soak, rinse and harvest fresh sprouts in 3-5 days!

 

Take indoor gardening to the next level with our versatile Seed Starting Kit. It includes everything you need (except the seed!) to get started growing your own transplants, microgreens and shoots, with a 1020 flat, 50-cell tray, propagation dome to ensure strong germination, and a bag of our favorite potting soil from Vermont Compost.

 

 

Last year we created a wonderful NEW educational kit: the Create a Hybrid: Cha-Ching F1 Zucchini Kit. This kit is perfect for teachers, garden educators and families of all stripes, offering an extremely rare opportunity to cross the parent varieties of a commercial hybrid and compare your results with ours. If you’re planning to garden with your school, why not try making a hybrid while you’re at it? This is a wonderful way to introduce kids to traditional plant breeding, which humans have been using for thousands of years to achieve a diversity of characteristics including unique colors and shapes, high yields and disease resistance. We’ve provided everything you need to produce Cha-Ching F1 yourself, including seeds for the male and female parents of Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching F1 seeds for comparison, and detailed instructions. Just plant the parent varieties, cross their flowers, and harvest Cha-Ching seeds!

 

Organic Seed Collections

Round out your gift with a box from our broad array of curated Seed Collections, filled with an assortment of organic seed packets packaged in attractive, ready-to-gift kraft paper boxes. From beginner-level options like our 5-packet Kids’ Garden and 3-packet Easy Salad Greens Collections, to more advanced selections like our 10-packet Heirloom Vegetable Lovers’ Collection, there’s something for every skill level and budget.

 

Gift Certificates!

Give the gift of choice and make a gardener’s dream come true – it’s up to them what to plant when you give a Gift Certificate. Our Gift Certificates can be physically mailed or instantly emailed – perfect for any last-minute or long distance gifts.

 

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Variety Highlights, Winter Growing | Leave a comment

NEW for 2016: OPs for Organic Growers

Much the way innovations in horse-drawn technology ended with the invention of the tractor, innovations in open-pollinated (OP) breeding nearly ceased with the arrival of hybrids. Finally, however, the trend is starting to wane, and a select group of independent and public breeders are once more putting time and energy into developing high quality OPs. We are proud to be actively working with these breeders and are excited to share the results of their years of work with you, comprising a broad selection of new and improved OPs developed to thrive in organic conditions.

CA Blackeye 46 Cowpea

Cool-tolerant · Upright habit

Our earliest dry bean and one of the most popular black-eyed peas grown in the South. The classic Southern pea, with a cream-colored seed coat decorated with a single black “eye”. High yields of long green pods that can be eaten fresh, frozen, dried or canned. Vigorous plants have a more upright habit than CA Blackeye 5. Bred by UC Davis and the CA Agricultural Experiment Station.  (Vigna unguiculata)

Days to maturity: 65 days fresh, 80 dry
Disease Resistance: Fusarium Wilt

 

Chiba Green Soybean

Early · Compact habit

Super early edamame with delicious, very large green seeds. Consistently 5-7 days earlier than Midori Giant, yet still blew away the competition for flavor. Compact, upright plants make harvesting easy and produce predominantly 3-seeded pods with attractive deep green color. Widely adapted throughout North America. Great for small gardens!  (Glycine max)

Days to maturity: 75-80 days

 

Golden Acre Cabbage

Early fresh market · Compact habit · 3-4 lb heads

Super early, adorable green heads on compact plants; perfect for smaller households! This cute OP impressed us in our 2015 trials with its small stature and high percentage of marketable heads. Round and solid, with delicate but crunchy texture and sweet, spicy flavor with buttery undertones when cooked. Few outer wrapper leaves; short harvest window. Habit suitable for dense plantings. Slightly larger than Early Bird; earlier and more uniform than Copenhagen. (Brassica oleracea)

Days to maturity: 62 days

 

Dolciva Carrot

Long storing · 8″ roots.

The hands-down winner in our taste tests even after months of storage! Great sweet flavor, juicy crunch and incredibly long storage life made this variety a standout in our 2014-15 trials. Slightly tapered roots with good uniformity, bright orange color and strong, healthy tops. Widely-adapted and versatile for bunching or storage, but stands out most as a fall-harvested root for winter storage. (Daucus carota)

Days to maturity: 105 days

 

Nash’s Green Kale

Productive · Ideal for overwintering · 24-36″ tall

Vigorous and productive green curly type perfect for fall and winter crops. Stout, strong plants packed with curly leaves; the highest-yielding variety in our 2015 kale trials! In our trials it was sweeter and more tender than Ripbor, with more variability in height. Produces late into the season with minimal leaf yellowing; ideal for overwintering from June plantings & pairing with Olympic Red. Good resistance to powdery mildew in the damp winters of the Northwest. Bred by farmer-breeder Nash Huber of Nash’s Organic Produce in Washington State, with support from Organic Seed Alliance. (Brassica oleracea)

Days to maturity: 55 days

 

Red Ursa Kale

Open Source Seed · Bolt-resistant · 24-30″ tall

Deeply lobed, frilly tender leaves with broad pink and purple stems. A rainbow of showy signature frills and bright, contrasting stems. Colors intensify in cold weather and vary from emerald green with light pink stems to dark blue-green leaves with magenta stems. Not a curly type; tender texture and lobing similar to Red Russian. Adds loft to raw salads with similar cold-hardiness to Siberian. From Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seeds and released under the Open Source Seed Initiative. (Brassica napus)

Days to maturity: 65 days

 

Siber-Frill Kale

Open Source Seed · Specialty variety · Cold-hardy · 24″ tall

Intensely cut and curled, lacy blue green leaves with tender texture. A standout in our extensive 2015 kale trials, with stunning leaves so frilly they barely require chopping. Sweet flavor; delicious cooked, as a beautiful garnish or for adding loft to raw salads. Eye-catching frills increase with age; use row cover to reduce flea beetle feeding. Selected by Jonathan Spero at Lupine Knoll Farm in Oregon and released under the Open Source Seed Initiative. (Brassica napus)

Days to maturity: 60-70 days


Purple Sango Radish

 


Red Acre Cabbage

Purple Sango Radish Microgreens are highly sought-after thanks to their deep purple leaves and stems with spicy flavor. (Raphanus sativus) 10 days

Red Acre Cabbage Microgreens are appreciated for their beautiful emerald green leaves and bright purple stems with mild flavor. (Brassica oleracea) 8-10 days

 

New York Early Onion

Long to intermediate day · Stores well · 3-4″ bulbs

An early and dependable yellow onion selected to store until spring! Medium-sized round bulbs with attractive warm brown skin and white flesh mild enough to eat raw all winter. Milder and more tender than most yellow onions, but equally reliable in storage. Developed for direct seeding in the rich muck soils of Orange County, NY; further selected by Johnny’s Selected Seeds. (Allium cepa)

Days to maturity: 98 days

 

Lively Italian Orange Pepper

HMOS EXCLUSIVE · Italian-type · 6-8″ fruits

High quality OP with uniform, juicy orange fruits. Thick-walled, bright orange fruits make a beautiful OP market display combined with Stocky Red Roaster and Lively Italian Yellow. Impressed us with its ability to set fruit, size up and ripen; large plants loaded with fruit competed well with hybrids in our northern Vermont trials. Bred by Tom Lively of Eugene, OR and further selected by High Mowing.  (Capsicum annuum)

Days to maturity: 75 days green, 100 orange

 

Lively Italian Yellow Pepper

HMOS EXCLUSIVE · Italian-type · Vigorous, upright habit · 8-10″ fruits

Stunning sweet, thick-walled yellow fruits. Large, tapered golden yellow fruits with sweet, juicy flesh on vigorous plants. Prolific and reliable, performing well in the open field across a variety of climates and ripening well even in our northern VT fields. Bred by Tom Lively of Lively Organic Farm in Eugene, OR and further selected by High Mowing. (Capsicum annuum)

Days to maturity: 75 days green, 100 yellow

 

AmaRosa Fingerling Potato

Fingerling · Gourmet variety · Moderate storage

Gorgeous burgundy skin reveals intensely dark red flesh rich in antioxidants. A high-yielding fingerling with smooth wine-colored skin and sweet, creamy red flesh that resists fading during cooking. Superb, versatile culinary quality—delicious fried, baked, boiled, steamed or as mouthwatering pink chips. Handle gently to prevent skinning during harvest. Scab resistant. (Solanum tuberosum)

Days to maturity: Mid Season
Disease Resistance: Scab

 

D’Avignon Radish

Fresh market specialty · 3-4″ roots.

The traditional French Breakfast radish with rose-pink roots and mild flavor. Long cylindrical pink roots with bright white tips are eye-catching at early farmers markets. Vigorous and fast-growing, performing best in rich soil. Excellent for spring and fall crops of delicious mild roots. Originally from the South of France where they are traditionally eaten fresh with butter. (Raphanus sativus)

Days to maturity: 21 days

 

Schwarzer Runder Radish

Fall/winter crop · Stores well

Unusual jet-black skin makes a gorgeous contrast with the bright white flesh. Also known as Black Winter radish, with rich spicy flavor excellent for salads and crudites. Coarse outer skin allows for exceptionally long storage in the ground or the root cellar. Often eaten in Germany as a “beer radish”, served thinly sliced with salt and paired with a light beer. (Raphanus sativus)

Days to maturity: 45-50 days

 

Abundant Bloomsdale Spinach

Open Source Seed · Spring/fall crop · Ideal for full-sized leaves

Delicious glossy, dark green leaves with the most savoyed texture we’ve seen! Thick, sweet-tasting leaves with rounded shape and juicy, succulent texture. Slow growing with very large, upright leaves in the mild Pacific Northwest and slightly more compact habit in our Northeast trials. Started at the Abundant Life Seed Foundation in 2002; breeding finished by a team of organic farmers with support from Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and released under the Open Source Seed Initiative. A portion of sales from this variety supports OSA’s breeding program. (Spinacia oleracea)

Days to maturity: 45 days

 

Bush Delicata Winter Squash

PM-tolerant · Bush habit · 1.5-2 lb

Compact, tidy plants with sweet, oblong fruits. Delicious smooth, nutty flesh with hints of butter and brown sugar. Skin starts creamy white with green stripes and flecks, curing to striped light yellow. Compact plants spread only 4-6 feet. AAS winner bred by Molly Jahn and George Moriarty at Cornell University. (Cucurbita pepo)

Days to maturity: 80 days

 

Pink Boar Tomato

Indeterminate · 2-4 oz

Gorgeous wine-colored fruits with metallic green striping on vigorous vines. Strong plants loaded with rich, sweet juicy fruits perfect for slicing in salads or as an hors d’oeuvre with basil and mozzarella. Deep pink skin is stunning with contrasting olive stripes and luscious deep red flesh. An irresistible treat for chefs and farmers markets! From the Wild Boar series; bred by famer/breeder Brad Gates. Offers great performance in the challenging climates of northern CA. (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Days to maturity: 75 days

 

Elidia Basil

Slow to bolt · Compact habit · Ideal for containers

Compact, high-yielding plants with strong disease resistance. Large, shiny dark green leaves on thick, sturdy stems with short internodes; shorter than Keira. Well-suited to containers and field production, with intermediate resistance to Fusarium. High yielding and very slow to bolt. 18M seeds/oz. (Ocimum basilicum)

Days to maturity: 65 days
Disease Resistance: Fusarium Wilt

 

Greek Basil

Uniform compact habit · Container variety

Early and adorable topiary-like plants with dark green miniature leaves. Captured our hearts with the cutest, most uniformly rounded habit of any mini basil in our 2015 trials. Small, sweet leaves excellent for garnishes and salad dressings. Ideal for containers, transplant sales and a popular wedding table-topper! Our replacement for Fino Verde. Moderate resistance to downy mildew. 20M seeds/oz. (Ocimum basilicum)

Days to maturity: 55 days

 

Wega Parsley

Container or field production · Upright habit

A refined curly parsley with excellent uniformity and upright habit. Finely cut and curled, dark green leaves with mild flavor on sturdy, upright stems. One of the most attractive curly varieties we’ve seen, with lots of branching and an excellent upright habit for ease of harvest. Produces a uniform stand great for selective or mechanical harvest. Versatile and well-suited to containers as well as field production for fresh market or processing. A great alternative to Triple Curled! (Petroselinum crispum)

Days to maturity: 75 days

 

Hella Sonnenblume Sunflower

Superb cut flower · 2-3′ tall · Annual

A stunning dwarf sunflower for bouquets! Lovely 4″ diameter gold-petaled blooms are incredibly uniform on sturdy 12″ stems. Cute, undeniably dwarf plants reach only 3.5′ in height, but from the main stalk each produces an abundance of long, ruler-straight stems perfect for cutting. Easy to harvest with long vase life—an instant stand-out in our 2015 trials! From our friends at Swiss biodynamic seed company Sativa Seeds. 2,000 seeds/oz. (Helianthus annuus)

Days to maturity: 75-80 days

 

Pierrot Poppy

Prefers poor soil · 2-3′ tall · Re-seeding annual

Striking, intensely red blooms with jet black markings float above airy foliage. Silky scarlet petals form 3″ diameter flowers with four large black markings in the center. Adds a vibrant splash of color to beds and borders! Flowers have long, wiry stems over light green, ferny foliage. An abundant seed producer; may naturalize in mild climates. Scatter seeds and rake in lightly, then thin to 6″ apart. 142,000 seeds/oz. (Papaver rhoeas)

Days to maturity: 65 days

 

Planète Rouge du Jura Poppy

Prefers poor soil · 3-4′ tall · Re-seeding annual

Tall, gorgeous poppy in shades of lavender, magenta and mauve. Large, luxuriant 4-6″ blooms are mostly lavender-pink with a few bright magenta heads mixed in. Each flower center is ringed by four deep eggplant markings. Blooms contrast attractively with the waxy gray-green, scalloped foliage. A rare Swiss variety originally developed for seed and poppyseed oil production. 28,000 seeds/oz. (Papaver somniferum)

Days to maturity: 75 days

 

Pink Lavatera

Bedding plant · 3-4′ tall · Annual

Tall, sturdy spires of pink blooms set off by glossy dark green foliage. Prolific large, smooth pink flowers on tall, upright stems. A garden classic with cupped flowers ideal for borders, cottage gardens and cutting for bouquets. Similar habit to hollyhocks with attractive glossy foliage; more tolerant of Japanese Beetles than other mallows. Seed should be barely covered with soil and takes 15-20 days to germinate. Carefully transplant 12-18″ apart into full sun and poor soil with good drainage. 4,000 seeds/oz. (Lavatera trimestris)

Days to maturity: 60 days

 

Looking for more? Check out all of our NEW Varieties for 2016!

 

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Variety Highlights | Leave a comment

New Catalog Sneak Preview, How to Get Yours & New Items Live!

Spoiler alert! Our 2016 catalog will be arriving in mailboxes soon, but we just couldn’t wait to share some of the great new features for this year. Read on if you’d like a sneak peek of what’s inside…

The Paper

Once again our catalog is printed on 100% recycled paper and is coated with a very thin layer of clay (NOT corn!) for a glossy finish that brings our varieties to life. What’s new & exciting this year is that the cover is printed on a heavier, uncoated (but still 100% recycled) paper that is more durable than last year’s cover, ensuring that our catalogs are sturdy enough to make it through the mail and wherever you take them.

 

 

The Layout

Our 2016 catalog uses the same layout as last year, but with one awesome improvement: if we’ve gotten early notice that a variety has had a crop failure, will be unavailable, or is in limited supply, we’ve included a note in italics at the end of the variety description. This way you can make informed decisions when browsing our catalog, and avoid getting those pesky Backorder notices. Of course farming is risky business and there are still many factors outside of our control – so some varieties may become unavailable later in the season. But we’ve done our best to give you a heads up!

 

The Articles

This year we are proud to highlight some of the amazing farmers, seed growers and community non-profits we work with through a new series called Growing Partners. We asked each featured partner to share their story and background, and talk a little about their location, crops, the challenges they face and their goals for the future. Our hope was to spotlight the terrific things they are doing in communities across North America, and to inspire and educate by showcasing their work. We’re so grateful to these partners for sharing their stories in words and photos with our wider organic community. You’ll also learn more about us in this year’s catalog – 2016 is our 20th anniversary, and we’re celebrating!

 

The FREE Shipping Policy

Once again, all standard orders to the contiguous U.S. and Canada receive complimentary shipping, with no minimum order. Realized you forgot something important on your order? Never fear! Whether it’s a small packet with 10 seeds or a quarter pound, we’ll put it in the mail for you with no shipping charges. Just like last year, there are a few exceptions – we still need to charge for heavy items that weigh 25 lbs or more and when shipping to non-contiguous US states and territories. Questions? Learn more about our Shipping Policy.

 

 

The New Sizes

Commercial growers will be happy to hear that we have even more new large sizes this year, at even more competitive prices. You can now order larger quantities of our Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified seeds with better bulk discounts. We believe that organic seeds have the power to change the world for the better – and our goal is to make them accessible to everyone. Making organic seeds affordable for farmers growing on a large scale is an essential step in rebuilding the healthy food system of the future.

And there’s more (like our NEW varieties for 2016), but we want to leave some things a surprise, so keep an eye out for our catalogs arriving in mailboxes over the next few weeks…and if you haven’t ordered from us recently, be sure to request your FREE catalog here!

 

 

 

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Philosophy | 17 Comments

5 Environments for Storing Vegetables Until Spring

It was not long ago that the preservation of homegrown foods for year round use was a practical necessity. As a result, root cellars and large, unheated pantries were common features of the home. While most farms will have established storage systems, smaller farms and gardeners may have to get a little creative. However, many crops can still be stored through the winter with minimal equipment. The trick is to do as our ancestors did and make use of all the existing microclimates around the house. With a simple digital thermometer you can easily determine the high and low temperatures (and even humidity) of a given environment, and make any modifications needed before putting your harvest in storage.  When investigating your microclimates, try a variety of locations, since there can be big differences in temperature across a single room like a basement.

Adjusting the Environment

To create a warmer environment, locate the source of any drafts and use insulation, spray foam or weatherstripping to enclose the space and/or reduce air circulation from the outside. Most people won’t want to make their home any colder in winter, so it’s best to start with an environment that’s a bit cooler than you’d like, then insulate. For larger growers it may make sense to build a cooler or walk-in using a CoolBot. Just keep in mind that temperatures will be lower in mid-winter than they are now, and plan accordingly when making modifications.

Humidity can be adjusted in most locations, and can be increased by keeping produce in bags, using a humidifier or by keeping a dish of water filled in dry environments. Humidity can often be decreased by using a de-humidifier or by increasing air circulation to the home or outside, depending on the ambient conditions.

Ethylene is another important factor to consider. It is known as the “ripening horomone”, causing fruits and vegetables to ripen and turn sooner – and some fruits, especially apples, give off large amounts. For this reason it is best to store apples separately from all other crops to prevent spoilage.

Cold & Moist

An environment that is cold and moist (about 32°F and 90% humidity) is ideal for storing a wide variety of crops including beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, greens, leeks, parsnips, radishes and rutabagas—in general crops that are not harmed by near-freezing temperatures, or may even benefit by turning carbohydrates into sugars. Some good options for creating these conditions include using an old refrigerator turned to a low setting, placing these crops in insulated but unheated garages, sheds, bulkheads or mudrooms, or by building a root cellar. Roots like carrots, beets and parsnips will store well packed in a crate full of moist sand or in perforated plastic bags in cold storage.

 

Cool & Moist

Cool and moist environments (around 40-50°F and 90% humidity) are ideal for crops that suffer from chilling injury (or too much sugar production) at temperatures below 40°F. These include melons, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and snap beans. Of these crops only potatoes will store until spring, but you can at least extend the season for the others by storing them appropriately. Some good options for creating these conditions include basements, a crisper drawer or perforated plastic bag in the fridge, insulated porches, bulkheads or entryways, or an unheated room or summer kitchen.

 

 

Cool & Dry

A cool, dry environment that is 40-50°F and 50-75% humidity works well for crops like onions and garlic. Try an unheated room, dry basement, insulated entryway or just inside the basement door, where they’ll get good air circulation. Mesh bags, baskets or crates all make good containers that allow air to circulate freely. Some people store onions and garlic at room temperature, but they’re likely to rot or dessicate under these conditions.

 

Warm & Dry

A slightly warmer but still cool environment that is 50-55°F and 50-75% humidity is ideal for crops like winter squash and sweet potatoes. Once these crops have cured they will go bad quickly at room temperature, but in the cooler environment of a basement, pantry or mudroom, they can easily last until spring. Try to arrange them in a single layer, if possible, to ensure good air circulation and avoid bruising – shallow, stackable crates work well for this.

Room Temperature

The ordinary temperature inside your kitchen (usually 65-75°F) is fine for some things—dried hot peppers, dry beans and dried herbs will all last just fine in this environment. For short-term storage, room temperature is fine for onions, garlic and potatoes (in a dark cupboard) too. However these will start to turn if kept at room temperature for more than a few weeks. A closet, pantry or other space that is even slightly cooler will help your storage crops last longer, so experiment and see what else is available.

To learn more, check out some of the great storage resources online such as:

The Green Mountain College Report on Cold Storage Options for Diversified Farms

Barbara Pleasant’s Mother Earth News Article, How to Harvest, Cure and Store 20 Storage Crops

and UVM Extension’s Crop Storage Resources

And if you missed it, check out our recent article The Cure All: A Guide to Curing Vegetables for Winter Storage

Posted in Beginner Gardeners' Guide, Growing Tips, Winter Growing | Leave a comment

Lacto-Ferment the Harvest Kit GIVEAWAY!

When the weather turns cooler and the farm and garden chores begin to ease up here in northern VT, our thoughts turn to stashing the harvest for winter meals. We want you to eat local year-round, too, wherever you live – so this month one lucky winner will receive a lacto-fermenting kit to preserve healthy, delicious krauts, kimchis and pickles. Fermented foods are rich in vitamins and probiotics, add a satisfying kick to winter meals and make great use of any less-than-perfect produce. Our lucky winner will receive:

  • a traditional 2 gallon stoneware fermenting crock with weights and cover (a $50 value), contributed by our friends at Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier, VT
  • a copy of the fermenting cookbook classic, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz and
  • a $25 gift certificate for seeds, garlic or supplies of your choice!

HOW TO ENTER
It’s easy: just click “Log In” below if you have a Facebook account (if you don’t have Facebook, just click “Use Your Email” to create a Rafflecopter account). Then follow the instructions to enter for more chances to win!

Contest starts Friday, October 16th and ends Friday, October 23rd at 11pm EST. Good luck, have fun and happy fermenting!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in About High Mowing Organic Seeds, Beginner Gardeners' Guide, Contests, Recipes | 272 Comments