Save the Seed, Save the World

What can I report from the National Heirloom Exposition last week in Santa Rosa? My experience there consisted almost entirely of talking with people at Laughing Frog’s booth. I’m a hermit by nature. I estimate I had actual conversations – interesting, often informative, and sometimes inspiring conversations – with around 300 people over the course of three days. And it was great! I came home encouraged, not only about my own seedy endeavors but about the future of food and the world in general. expo14.3

There were lots of northern Californians, but people came from southern California too, and from North Carolina and Texas and Wyoming and Minnesota and New York and etc. The most popular Laughing Frog seed was Piracicaba, the Brazilian broccoli that produces forever and can still be planted this month in California. People shared pictures of their gardens, including several featuring that most photogenic of vegetables, the Trombetta squash in its loopy 4-foot length. Sunflowers, sorghum, and millet were popular with those who want to grow chicken treats, and one woman bought sorghum and millet to grow for her 18-year-old pet cow. Jaune Flamme was the #1 tomato, no doubt because it was the only variety of which I had samples. And the word is apparently out about the nutritional super-food status of purslane. Reaction shifted from the past – Why do you have this weed? – to the now – I want that.

I’ll be giving a free seed-cleaning workshop this Saturday, September 20, at the Ukiah Public Library, at noon. I’ll have tomato seeds for a demonstration of wet-seed cleaning, but most of our time will be spent on dry seeds. I’ve got lettuce and sorghum and maybe some beans. Bring your seed crops and we’ll clean them there.

Another opportunity, this one sponsored by the Lake and Mendocino Seed Bank: Seed Cleaning Party, October 5, Sunday, 1-5pm, at Ancient Lake Gardens in Kelseyville. Email for more info.