To put it simply, heirloom seeds are the bee’s knees. Heirloom seeds produce unique fruits and veggies, flowers and crops sans GMOs and pesticides, typically yielding fruits and vegetables with amazing taste and high nutritional value. What’s not to like?
Lucky for all heirloom seed lovers, heritage seeds are easy to find. The following six seed companies carry the best heirloom seeds.
Johnny’s is an employee-owned company. It started operation in 1973. The company has sworn to a “Safe Seed Pledge,” “More research and testing are necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically-engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and, ultimately, people and communities."
The company also has its organic certificate available for download. Johnny’s carries vegetable, fruit, flower seeds, herbs and cover crop and farm seeds, as well as tools and supplies.
Territorial Seed also has agreed to the Safe Seed Pledge. Territorial has a sustainable business model, and the company grows almost 20 percent of the seeds it offers. They carry vegetable seeds and plants, flowers and herbs, fruits and vines, garlic and potatoes and garden supplies. The company has an extensive supply of heirloom, open-pollinated and organics.
High Mowing is independently owned and farm-based. They support sustainable agriculture and provide farmers and gardeners with high-quality certified organic seeds. The company carries organic vegetables, organic herbs, organic flowers, “highlighted” varieties, organic cover crops and seed collections.
All of the seeds Baker Creek offers are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented. The company does not buy seeds from gene-altering companies (yay!).
Seed Savers carries vegetables, herbs, flowers, potatoes, garlic, cooking beans and more. The company distributes its heirloom varieties through the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook and the Seed Savers Exchange Catalog. Savers also maintains a Participatory Preservation Program, a program that's 36 years old: “Working with our members -- farmers and gardeners -- to ensure that these unique varieties are not lost forever, SSE encourages "participatory preservation" through membership in the Seed Savers Exchange. Each year thousands of seed varieties are exchanged among backyard preservationists through the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook for diverse reasons such as connecting to our garden heritage, finding varieties suited to a particular region, enjoying the diversity of heirloom varieties, and sourcing material to use in localized breeding projects.”
Tomato Growers, a family-owned specialty seed company, carries heirloom tomato seeds. Since its start in 1984, the company has also added peppers and eggplant to its catalog. Other seed offerings include open-pollinated types and hybrid varieties.