Dear Gardening Friends,
We are excited to present the 17th edition of our Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog, the 2014 Rare Seed Catalog. We hope you enjoy the many photographs and get inspired to preserve these treasured heirloom varieties in your garden and enjoy them in your kitchen. As we hope to increase America’s interest in pure food and gardening, we are still printing the 330,000 copies of this free seed catalog. However, we are also introducing a new publication this year. Our Whole Seed Catalog is an expanded publication of 356 pages that includes all of our seed listings plus many more stories, histories, recipes, and photographs. It is available from newsstands, bookstores, and our website.
It is our goal to preserve not only our seed culture, but also all the amazing stories and traditions that make heirloom seeds so special. These seeds bring history alive—literally! Seeds tell a story about our cultures and our families, our states and our nation. I still feel astounded when I hold in my hands the very melon variety that Thomas Jefferson grew, or a radish favored by the ancient Romans, or the squash that sustained my ancestors.
Seeds need to be treasured and preserved—not patented, genetically modified and controlled by the world’s most unethical chemical corporations who see seeds as only a means of control and profit. These companies modify and own the seeds so that they can be sprayed with nearly unlimited amounts of their toxic weedkillers, (or so the plants can produce their own toxins), and these chemical-drenched crops are proving to be dangerous not only to the insects that are considered pests, but also to the very insects that sustain and pollinate our crops. Since the introduction of GMO crops, farmers have seen drastic declines in populations of honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Frogs, fish and other wildlife are also in decline.
Last but not least, humans are also showing GMO proteins and vast amounts of agricultural chemicals in our bloodstreams, causing untold health issues and allergies. At the same time, the EPA has just ruled that our food can now contain up to 30 times more of the herbicide “Roundup,” a farm chemical linked to cancer and myriad other diseases.
Our government appears to be bought and sold by the biotech industry while public health is too often ignored. With all of this poison, control, and unwholesomeness, we believe the tide of public opinion is now strongly in favor of a more sustainable, more natural and more “heirloom” food supply. A food supply that we can feed to our children without fear, and one that comes from our local farmers, our gardens and our kitchens. Let’s bring back our food and think “outside the box.” It is time America had a revolution in the garden, on the farm, and most of all, at the dinner table: a revolution that reconnects us and our kids to the earth, to the seeds and to the value of good food.
Our food system can start to change with you! Plant a garden, save seeds, shop at farmers’ markets and locally-owned shops, and buy only commercial products labeled GMO-Free or Non-GMO. (Believe it or not, there are now 5,000 products in America labeled this way!)
Support labeling and our right to know! Dozens of states are now considering or are in the process of labeling GMO food. We are way behind! More than 60 countries already require labeling of GMO foods, and in most of these countries, GMOs have all but disappeared from store shelves, due to customer demand!
Tell your friends! Educate everyone about the dangers of our modern food system, and show them how easy good food really can be. One taste of a ripe heirloom tomato is all that it takes to convince your friends of the benefits of a more natural diet. Insist that your local stores carry non-GMO and locally grown food. This is an important step in creating a more sustainable food supply.
Save some seeds each year! It is fun and easy, and you will help preserve your heritage. Look around your community, because neighbors often have heirloom varieties that may be local treasures. Buy heirloom seeds, not just from us, but from a variety of heirloom sources. That helps keep us all in business, and it helps the various seed companies preserve their seed collections. We must all work together to promote the seeds of freedom!
Our family and our little seed business have had another incredibly busy year. On the family front, foremost is the birth of our new daughter, Malia Maria Gettle, who arrived in October. As for the business, that included a family seed collecting trip overseas, in which we discovered a multitude of “new” varieties. We had an incredible summer trialing varieties from far and wide, as well as trying to grow every type of seed we sell each year. We want to offer the best seeds possible, making sure they grow not only in our seed lab, but also in the garden. Trialing and growing seeds is almost the best part of our business, except maybe meeting our customers and hearing about their gardening adventures. We hope many of you can stop by our farm again this season; we love having visitors!
We also helped to host several festivals, including our annual big Spring Planting Festival at our Missouri farm, and also the National Heirloom Exposition, an event we co-sponsor in Sonoma County, California. In its third year, this event attracted over 17,000 gardeners and farmers from across America and a host of other countries. Also, many of you joined us for our second annual “Heirloom Festival” at our store in Connecticut.
Thank you all for supporting us and allowing us to pursue our passion for saving good seed.
Jere, Emilee, Sasha & Malia Gettle