Sunday, May 2, 2010

An Investment That Will Really Grow: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Gardeners beware. Or maybe I should say "be aware." But there is a place in Petaluma that is so scary cool, that any of you out there with green thumbs and a passion for extreme veggies, will find very, very dangerous.

I'm talking about the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed store, or as it's affectionately known around these parts, The Seed Bank.

I say dangerous because there's only so many plants one can realistically cultivate, especially if you're like me and mostly stick to raised beds or container gardening. But you walk in to Baker Creek, housed in an old, ornate bank building on the corner of Petaluma Boulevard and Bolinas Highway, and "Ahhh" (cue celestial music), you are greeted with row after row of seed packets of the craziest, strangest, most colorful, non-GMO fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers that you ever will see. Even for me, who fully realizes my limitations both as a gardener and as a land baron, immediately had visions of running off and starting a farm. 430 gajillion varieties of eggplants? Sign me up.The Seed Bank came to Petaluma last Spring, but it took me a year to get there to explore. It was a place I saved to visit for when my mom came to town; I had a feeling it was somewhere she would find interesting as well. Well, I kick myself for not going sooner, but glad that this place is on my radar screen now.

A little homework on Baker Creek turned up that it's owned by "Jere and Emilee Gettle - a couple of 20-something homeschooled traditionalists from the Ozarks. [They] offer a mind-expanding array of 1,400 fruit and vegetable varieties, many of them collected by Jere on his travels in Southeast Asia and Central America." (O Magazine).

Ok - so once I got past the fact that these 20-something adorable kids (google them - you'll see) are doing amazing things while I am doing nothing even remotely as cool in comparison and my life is passing me by (not bitter - really - just staring 40 in the face) - I got over it and bought some seeds.
I couldn't possibly narrow down my desires in the tomato section alone (check out the photo above!), so rather than walk out of there with more vegetable seeds that I could ever possibly plant, I stuck with herbs and greens. I got two kinds of basil (lemon and lime), plus some wild zaatar oregano. I also got two packets of a European mesclun salad blend, a tangy combo of radicchio, arugula, endive, orach, mizuna, kale, mustard, corn salad and more. I'm already looking forward to big colorful bowls of spicy, zingy salads, which I will be sure to share with you. At least here on the blog, that is (the greens themselves are all mine)!

In addition to all the seeds, Baker Creek's shop also carried a fun array of locally-made products like sauces and spice mixes; handmade cards (displayed in a grapevine card rack that I plan to reproduce for myself someday); gardening tools, and tons and tons of resource books.

Anyhow, super cool place if you like to geek out over food plants as much as I do. But for all of you out there that can't make it to the Petaluma shop or Baker Creek's headquarters in Bakersfield, Missouri, you're in luck: they have an online catalog! So, as The Seed Bank has painted on its windows, "Invest in your garden!" That's money in the bank for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment