Anyone who has a farm or garden knows that despite our best efforts, things don’t always go according to plan. Now imagine tending a garden with over 600 varieties of vegetables and flowers. The fruit of this garden is the High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog. It seems that the two things that no one wants to hear this time of the year, especially us, is Out of Stock and Backorder. After 20 years of putting a catalog together, why can’t we make these go away? The seed that we offer in the catalog falls into one of three categories;
  • seed produced on our farm,
  • seed produced by another grower under contract, or
  • seed from other seed companies.
When we are putting the catalog together, we are confident that all of our crops will mature and produce high quality seed, but that doesn’t always happen. Much of the time, any given variety is being produced by only one grower, and a crop failure can have a dramatic effect on our catalog, and force us to Out of Stock. The other situation is the Backorder. Here, we are waiting on seed from a vendor, but there’s a hold up. The seed may need more cleaning or testing, and we are all left waiting. Once we receive the seed, we will often do additional cleaning and testing. Then we have to pack it up and get it out the door. All of this takes time. Crops grown for seed are “in the ground” for a long period of time, and are exposed to more problems from pests and disease. In the conventional seed world, there are numerous products at the ready to fight these threats; in the organic seed industry the options are fewer. One of the current realities around the organic seed industry is that the occurrence of Out of Stocks can be higher than in the conventional seed market. As the number of varieties increases, and the amount of producers of those varieties increases, this should be less of a problem. But until then, who knew growing an industry could be so much work? We are all aware of the benefits of using organic seeds, but unfortunately, the burdens can be greater for those on the front of the curve. But just think, in the future, you will be able to tell everyone the role you played in creating seeds that work for our organic farms and gardens.