Catalog profile #9: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Location: 2278 Baker Creek Rd., Mansfield, MO 65704
Web address: www.rareseeds.com
Phone number: (417) 924-8917
Products carried: “1,500 rare, non-GMO seeds” which includes vegetables, flowers, herbs, wildflowers, and fruit and berry seeds. They also sell books, gifts, tools and subscriptions to the Heirloom Gardener magazine ($15/year).
I’ve been receiving this catalog for a few years now and I’m always amazed at the quality of it. I’m sure it must cost quite a bit to put it out every year! The selection of rare, heirloom varieties of veggies and flowers is very impressive. I’m very much in favor of trying heirloom varieties because there are so many that have wonderful flavor yet have fallen out of favor with farmers and suppliers because they don’t ship or keep well, or because they don’t look as “perfect” as American consumers would like. So please take a look at the catalog and give some a try! Here are a few notable seeds I think would be fun to test in my garden:
‘Country Gentleman’ corn _ This variety goes back to 1890 and matures in 90 days. Touted to be “sweet, delicious and milky,” there are no straight rows of kernels on these ears so they have a very unusual appearance to them. They are called a “shoepeg” type. Have you ever heard of these?
Eggplants _ Baker Creek has an impressive array of eggplant varieties in all shapes, sizes and colors… so many unusual ones that I’ve never heard of or seen before.
Grains and cover crops _ More hard-to-find seeds for eating purposes or to return nutrients to your garden soil.
‘Flame’ lettuce _ This is a gorgeous red leaf lettuce that matures in 60 days. It’s supposed to be slow to bolt to see — always a good quality in our region — with beautiful red leaves. Another beauty is ‘Lollo di Vino’ which has deep burgundy leaves and chartreuse-colored heart.
Melons _ You would not believe how many different types of melons they have! Well worth a look. Just remember that we have a season of about 120 frost-free days, so to be on the safe side, choose varieties that mature in, say, under 85 days.
‘Strawberry’ spinach _ My husband Bill and I saw this in England a couple years ago, in Anne Hathaway’s cottage garden. Dating back to 1600, the plants have leaves that you harvest like spinach greens and small red berries that are used in cooking. Very cool. I never expected to see the seeds in a catalog here in the U.S.!
‘Cream of the Crop’ _ This is a bush-type acorn (winter) squash but with white fruits. They are supposed to mature in 55 days which would be great since acorn squash are slowpokes in my garden. I’m definitely going to give these a try!
Herbs _ They offer a large variety of herb seeds, especially basil.
‘Dwarf Queeny’ mixed hollyhocks _ Ever seen dwarf hollyhocks that only grow 2-3 feet tall? I hadn’t either. They have a nice mix of pastel colors that include some beautiful magenta flowers as well.
To request a catalog: http://www.rareseeds.com/request-catalogUS/ (The catalog is FREE, which I think is amazing! It is so much fun to look through)