Organic gardening is easier and more abundant for gardeners in short seasons with Fruition’s organic, regionally adapted seed.
Sowing our seed means more abundance for you and for future generations, as well.
If you want to grow more with less, sow organic seeds. Organic seeds come from organic plants and just as your health is linked to the health of your parents, organic seed are more likely to have these traits, compared to their conventional cousins:
-grow extensive root systems (rather than be fed chemical, soluble nutrients like MiracleGro, as they are in conventional systems)
-compete with weeds (rather than be sprayed by Round Up)
-have robust immune systems to fight insects & disease (rather than be sprayed with conventional chemicals for such things)
Also, because they are not food crops, conventional seed crops are sprayed much more (and often with much harsher chemicals) than crops that are directly consumed by people.
Why regionally adapted?
The oaks that grow in the Northeast are very different from the oaks growing in California.
Each seed adapts to its particular environment.
Most seeds are adapted to thrive in California, where much of our nation’s produce is grown. (Industrial food systems serve industry/business as usual, rather than regional markets.) Fruition Seeds’ focus is on flavor as well as:
-early maturity (check out August Ambrosia, our super early watermelon)
-cold hardiness (check out Red Russian, our kale that overwinters uncovered)
-disease resistance (check out Chiapas, our tomato that is resistant to Late & Early Blight, or Spacemaster 80, our cucumber that resists Powdery Mildew.)
If you prefer lettuce from your garden to lettuce shipped in 2,000 miles away, we’re excited for you to experience regionally adapted seed in your garden.
Heirlooms are history. And history didn’t just happen, it’s happening. Constantly. (Yes, you’re making history right now.)
Imagine: Giant Sequoias have been evolving for countless generations, a living conversation between a plant and its environment.
Our heirloom varieties are similar: they’ve often existed for untold generations, in a particular place and culture, and they will only remain heirlooms so long as they adapt to our ever-changing world, ourselves included. For the last 10,000 years humans have been domesticating wild plants and developing ever new varieties of vegetables.
In this spirit, we celebrate the flavors of heirlooms as we improve their productivity (hastening maturity dates, increasing disease resistance) to keep them relevant as our world evolves. For example, we select our Rossa di Milano (link) onions to have fewer centers & store over our long winters. Our Northern Hardy Valencia peanut (link) started out as a classic peanut which would grow but not produce abundance in our short seasons. A dedicated seed saver in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan persisted in saving its seed season after season --- but only the most productive shells from the most productive plants. Over 20 years later, our variety is the only variety we have ever found that produced reasonably in the Northeast. Sibley squash (link), introduced in Rochester in 1888, is outrageously delicious but could be more productive. So we are selecting each generation to be earlier maturing and mature more fruit per plant.
Heirlooms are gifts, the legacy and genius of our ancestors. It is our responsibility to care for them, sharing their cultural and agricultural abundance, for all people and generations to come.
For knowing seeds are not as small as they seem. May our seeds surround you with beauty and abundance!
Regionally Adapted Seed: Sow what?
Each seed tells the story of its entire life history, millions of years in the making. A few seeds, in a single generation, may travel the globe. But most will stay within their watershed and, most likely, their microclimate. In this way, seeds become profoundly adapted to place. The selection pressures of the environment (precipitation, temperatures, nutrients levels, and so on) are key in the evolution of every seed.
Agricultural seed tells an additional story, one of human relationship. Historically these seeds remained less dynamic, slowly adapting to place and spreading first on our backs, then by camel, then by boat. Fast forward to 2013: most seed companies offer seed from all over the world.
A bit of history
If ‘regional seed’ is seed becoming adapted to a bioregion, then all seed before World War I was regional. Farmers in both industrialized and developing nations saved their own seed. Integral to their livelihood, maintaining good seedstock was equally important as keeping a good bull for livestock. Over time, each variety was selected to meet the environmental conditions and farmer’s needs on the farm.
After World War I, hybrid corn set the stage and began the transition away from regional seed. Slowly at first but dominating the market within forty years, farm-grown seed was replaced by seed developed elsewhere and that would not grow true in future generations if saved. As a result, seed has become just another commodity (like fertilizer and pesticide) that all farms purchase annually.
Most of us share a blind faith that our seed is produced by the companies selling them. This is most often not the case.
Today, most seed is grown where the climate favors commercial dry seed production, such as the Pacific Northwest and Israel. Much of this seed is adapted to modern agricultural techniques (mechanization, increased external inputs), allowing for wide adaptation and the high yields resulting from significant inputs (fertilizer). Furthermore, breeding for resistance to pests and disease is rarely prioritized, relying heavily on chemical applications, resulting in varieties adapted to these sprays.
Does regional seed matter?
Each region has specific resources, growing challenges and market opportunities. Regional seed is uniquely able to excel within these needs and conditions.
Fruition Seeds provides seed grown organically and adapted for the Northeast.
“Without a company to serve the market, how do we have access to such genetics?” asks Dr. Michael Mazourek, assistant professor in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Department at Cornell University. “Seed customized to our growing conditions gives us freedom from ‘making do’ with what serves major national markets. A region’s ability to have vibrant, productive seed is critical.”
“Each farm is unique, especially each organic farm,” observes Michael Glos, also with Cornell’s Plant Breeding and Genetics. Ten years ago, Michael started saving kale seed on his own farm and has grown that seed ever since. “Regional seed is important, nothing can replace seed selected on the conditions of your specific farm.”
Conventional seed produced with quick-release fertilizer and pesticide may perform with little variation between farms. But organic systems have a spectrum of variables for seed to respond to, increasing the significance of regional seed to success.
Will Bonsall, Director of the Scatterseed project in Maine, has been saving seed for decades and has witnessed the impact of regional and on-farm selection in many crops.
“Wheat bred for the prairie soils of the grain belt, rather than the forest soils of the Northeast, are notably different,” he says. “Additional breeding for yield has neglected the flavor, nutrition and bread-making qualities of wheat.”
Regional seed, like local food, is too important to our lives to be fringe for long. The seed we have now is good. But truly excellent, well-adapted and regional seed is our privilege to cultivate. With the collaboration of seed companies, universities and individual growers, there is a strong foundation for a regional seed supply in the Northeast.
At Fruition Seeds, we wake grateful every day for the opportunity to make a difference; humbled by the potential of each seed in our care. Join us in growing, saving, sharing and celebrating organic, open pollinated, regionally adapted seed in the Northeast!
All of our seed is certified organic, non-gmo, open pollinated, and customized to thrive here in the Northeast.
Our seeds come from several different sources, each uniquely suited to produce the best seed for our regional needs. The sources include:
1. 60% Produced Our Own Farm: We grow and select seed from our certified organic farm and fields here in New York. Currently half of the varieties we offer were produced with our own hands.
2. 10% Produced With Custom Collaborator Farms: We work with partner farms to breed and improve varieties based on each farm's specific market needs. The farm is responsible for all growing requirements: the planting, cultivation, and fertilization. We are responsible for all the selections, breeding, seed harvest, cleaning and germination testing. This results in an abundance of seed for both the farmer to use and for us to share with you.
3. 20% Produced by Other Northeast Organic Seed Growers: We source additional varieties of seed from our network of certified organic
seed growers throughout the Northeast (New York, Montreal, Maine, Vermont). We only source from farms that we admire and respect in providing the highest quality organic seed possible.
4. 10% Produced by Other Organic Seed Growers outside of our region: There are several crops that are challenging to grow high quality organic seed of here in the Northeast. We are continually developing techniques and strategies to overcome the obstacles. In the meantime we do offer seed from other organic seed growers in climates more conducive to certain types of seed production. Although this seed is produced outside the Northeast, we offer these varieties because they grow well in our climate. We are confident you’ll enjoy them.
Fruition Seeds is honored and proud to be growing organic seed and building a network of the best organic seed growers and breeders in our region to increase the vitality of life itself. The alternative to corporate control of the seed supply is respect, knowledge and transparency; it is based in regional seed breeding, selection and production.
The Seed Crisis: Sow what?
Seeds are the foundation of everything: the food we eat, the clothing we wear. Everything. Yet there is a systemic global crisis in how our seeds are selected, bred, owned and distributed.
When you purchase seeds from us, you get great organic and open-pollinated seeds grown in and selected for the Northeast. But you are also contributing to the broader social, environmental, political and economic issues surrounding seed.
What do you know about the seed crisis?
Large companies are concentrating the ownership of the global seed supply under their control, treating seed as just another commodity. Genetic patenting (including hybrids and GMO) is turning seed into ‘non renewable resources’ for farmers who very often can no longer save their own seed.
In the process of this corporate consolidation, the world has lost 75% of the genetic diversity in our food crops in the the last 100 years according to a study from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Each time we lose a variety of a seed, a food crop becomes extinct. As crop diversity diminishes our plants lose the ability to adapt to climate change, pests and disease. The security of our food system is weakened.
Today most seed is conventionally produced for "wide adaptation." These seeds grow “good enough” in some regions, but may not excel in any of those places. Especially not the Northeast.
Very few seed companies sell seed adapted to excel in the Northeast. Those that do offer very few varieties actually grown in the region; most of their seed is purchased from all around the United States and the world.
Our response: Sow Fruition!
So many of the seeds that were developed over generations to excel in our region have been discarded in favor of the seeds that are just "good enough". No one took a stand to preserve regionally adapted varieties.
We provide organically grown, open pollinated seed that is selected and adapted specifically to excel in the Northeast. Over half the seeds we offer are grown in our own fields in the Finger Lakes of New York State. The remainder come from our custom collaborative partner farms or from other trusted growers.
By choosing open pollinated varieties for your own garden and fields, you take control of the seeds you grow and the food that nourishes you.
* You can continue to select for characteristics that are most important to you and that will excel under your specific growing conditions.
* You can save seed from open pollinated varieties, confident that future generations will always grow true to type.
* By saving seeds, you can be sure you’ll always have the varieties you enjoy most. You don’t have to worry about a variety being discontinued as a result of corporate decision-making.
* You will be actively promoting the biodiversity that is essential to both a secure food system and a healthy ecosystem.
* You will be helping to reclaim and preserve our collective seed heritage, including the skills, knowledge, and stories that are inseparable from the plants themselves.
And by growing seeds from Fruition Seeds, you will be supporting the small farmers who produce seed with their own two hands and who are interested in characteristics like seedling vigor in the greenhouse, foliage and fruit production in the field, and taste on plate. (We always select for taste, otherwise what's the point?)
Contribute to a new model for how seeds are grown, owned and distributed. Connect with a network of the best organic seed growers in our region to inspire a new direction for seeds in the Northeast.
Sow the seeds of resilience!
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
Fruition Seeds has signed the Safe Seed Pledge and taken extra steps to ensure we do not “knowingly” grow or sell GMO seed by testing all seed that is at risk of contamination. These higher risk crops include corn, beets and chard.
The Safe Seed Pledge is a program that was founded by the Council for Responsible Genetics.
The Safe Seed Pledge
“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds or plants.
“The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is 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 healthy people and communities.”
To learn more about the Safe Seed Pledge please visit www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org.
Annual: A plant that completes its life cycle in a single growing season. Common annuals include corn, squash, beans, lettuce and tomatoes.
Biennial: A plant that completes its life cycle over two growing seasons, growing in the first year and reproducing in the second. Common biennials include parnips, beets and kale.
Chaff: The unwanted debris surrounding seed before it is clean, often dry parts of the plant (e.g., pods, flowers and bits of stem).
Crossing or Cross-pollination: The transfer of pollen from one plant to another.
F1: The generation coming after a controlled cross-pollination. All hybrid varieties are F1. Literally stands for “First filial” generation (from the Latin filius, or son).
Germination: Start of plant growth within a seed, typically confirmed by the emergence of a root.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): Organisms containing genes from unrelated species that were artificially inserted by genetic engineering (GE) techniques.
Heirloom: An open-pollinated variety that has been cultivated for generations (generally families) prior to 1945.
Hybrid (F1) Variety: A variety created by the crossing of two different inbred lines. Seeds saved from hybrids are not sterile but will not breed true.
Isolation: Separation of a variety of plant from another to prevent crossing and ensure genetic purity.
Open-Pollinated Variety: Any population of plant that breeds true when randomly mated within its own variety. Like begets like, though always with some minor variation.
Pollen: Dustlike, the part of a flower that contains the male gamete and fertilizes the ovary.
Roguing: To remove plants that do not fit the description of the variety or exhibit otherwise unwanted traits.
Self-Pollination: When pollen produced by a plant lands on (and may fertilize) the same plant.
Trait: A quality such as color, size, growth habit, pest resistance and flavor that is expressed by a plant.