It was not that long ago, in the grand scheme of things, that multiple seed houses could be found in every state. Most seed houses had their own breeding programs and might tout some of their best varieties in their advertising. Sadly, local seed houses have, for the most part, gone away - much to the detriment of anyone who might like to grow a garden.
Wide Range of Breeding Programs
Biodeversity Heritage Library
as being introduced in 1894. The M.B. Faxon company actually had a
fairly widespread distribution of their catalogs in the late 1800s - so
we should not make the assumption that a local seed house only sold
locally. However, the sheer number of seed houses throughout the world
meant there were many more locations and organizations seeking to select
for varieties that did well under all kinds of growing conditions. The
very nature of growing to produce seed implies careful attention to how
the plants grow and how hybrid crosses pan out as they are developed.
Can you imagine how many different projects were running concurrently in
the United States with multiple seed houses in most states?
far as I have been able to tell, the M.B. Faxon company seems to have
stopped publishing catalogues in the early 1900s and I am not sure if
any strains of the "Faxon Squash" might survive today. Again, I have
not taken time to search for it beyond a cursory look, so who knows?
A.H.Ansley and Sons Hits the 'Big-time'
mentioned earlier, there were many more seed houses and they came in
all sorts of sizes with many kinds of specialty crops. Some of the
smaller, more local seed producers, such as A.H. Ansley and Sons might
concentrate on developing and growing out particular crops for seed.
Every so often, these companies might hit on a winner.
The Myth of Perfect Veggies Has Long Tradition
Some Veggies Have Lost Favor Over Time
Potato Famine or Not, Some Veggies Have Staying Power
Just Pull an Ear Off the Stalk
was a time when the difference between field corn and 'sweet' corn was
less well defined. I was briefly introduced to the idea that even field
corn could taste good if you got it 'young enough.' (Thank you Uncle
Brownie) But, then, this also implied that it had not recently been
sprayed with a myriad of pesticides and fungicides. (Thank you again,
While I still prefer to cook our corn on
the cob, I still find a certain pleasure pulling an ear off the stalk
and eating in the field. Sadly, we don't grow corn on our farm all that
often because it gets low crop priority. Well, not this year. This
year, I want my fifty row feet of corn.
Then, I'm going out there in August. I'm going to pull an ear off the stalk, peal back the shuck...