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Barley, Lawina Hulless (Organic)$3.00–$5.00
This tasty hulless barley performed well for us from spring sowings. Short plants produce 2-rowed heads that thresh easily but don’t shatter. Hulless barley is a good bioregionally appropriate substitute for rice, as it produces well, is easy to process, and cooks up into a tasty, wholesome whole grain. Lawina was our golden barley variety of choice when we produced grain for market. We obtained this variety from the breeder, Karl-Josef Müller, on our first Seed Ambassadors trip to Germany.
Basil, Thai Lemon (Organic)$3.50–$20.00
This refreshing, citrus basil is a different species than its cousins Sweet Basil and Holy Basil, and is essential in certain South and Southeast Asian dishes. Thai Lemon Basil is also delicious with seafood, or as a more complex flavorful alternative to sweet basil in other dishes. It is best when added towards the end of cooking. Leaves are smaller and more pinnate, but otherwise it grows similarly to other basil types. We received our seed from villagers at Ban Noong Ta Klong in the Issan region of Thailand, while on a Seed Ambassadors Project trip in 2009. Aka, Hoary Basil, Hairy Basil, and Lemon Basil.
Bush Snap Bean, Marona (Organic)$3.80–$14.80
Phaseolus vulgaris. Green Pods. 60 days.
A reliable green early maturing snap bean with long round pods. Early high yields that hold up well once picked. Very tasty tender beans are great for direct market sales. Good for summer and autumn rotations and produces well in dry conditions. Marona has everything you need to be a go-to market farm production variety, also perfect for gardeners who want buckets of beans. Resistant to bean common mosaic virus. We found this variety in Germany at Bingenheimer Saatgut, a biodynamic seed company.
Chard, Joy’s Midnight (Organic)$3.50–$9.50
Beta vulgaris. 30 days baby, 60 full.
Most plants have leaves that are incredibly deep dark burgundy, we have been selecting for dark leaves with almost luminescent yellow-orange midribs. Classic chard flavor, good tolerance to cold and wet conditions. In its 5th generation, there is some wonderful variability that could be selected through. Dark color and flavor intensify as plants mature; baby leaves are milder to both the eye and the tongue. Initially selected by Joy Larkcom from Bull’s Blood beet for having larger chard-type leaves (possibly crossed with a perpetual spinach type). Given to us in Ireland by Joy Larkcom on our 2007 Seed Ambassadors trip. Aka, Joy Larkcom’s Midnight
Chicory, Grumolo Rosso (Organic)$3.25–$12.00
Cichorium intybus. 60 days.
Red Grumolo type chicory, cold hardy and beautiful. Forms a beautiful rosette in winter through spring that is so pretty it could be used as a boutonniere. Also great harvested young for salad mix and as cut-and-come-again loose leaves. Shari Sirkin of Dancing Root Farm in Troutdale, Oregon, tells us it has relentless regrowth when harvested for loose leaf production. She loves it! Slightly bitter tasting, but the bitterness of the species is greatly reduced by frosts, soaking in cold water, a quick blanching or with light cooking. Great cooked in risotto. It is one of our most cold hardy winter greens.
Cosmos, Rubenza (Organic)$3.25
Rubenza Cosmos is a dynamic flower that changes color as it matures, from a deep wine maroon to a muted rose, with many shades in between. Single flowers with yellow centers appear atop ferny foliage. Upright plants grow to about 3 ½ feet, making Rubenza shorter than most cosmos so they do not need staking. Begins flowering early and continuously until frost, long stems make for a good cut flower. Winner of a Fleuroselect Novelty Award in Europe, but humans aren’t the only ones to appreciate these lovely flowers; many types of beneficial insects enjoy them while in bloom and birds happily munch on the seeds. This is one we would love to plant every year.
Escarole, Cardoncella Barese (Organic)$3.25–$30.00
Cichorium endivia. 55-65 days.
Sweet dandelion greens! A distinct variety from other escaroles, as leaves are long and serrated like a giant dandelion green. Tall leaves can reach 18″ long. We sold them by the bunch as ‘sweet dandelion greens’ with rave reviews from our CSA members. Most Italian dandelion greens are of the chicory species but these are from the related endive species. Its endive nature lends Cardoncella Barese a delightfully sweet flavor missing in most chicory (though there is still a mild bitter flavor present). Surprisingly winter hardy. Great all year-round. Slow to bolt, however it will benefit from succession sowing as it is an annual. Italian regional specialty originally from Bari in Apulia, Italy. Translated, the name means ‘little cardoon.’ Much better than cardoon in our opinion, but nothing against cardoon!
Garbanzo, Pico Pardal (Organic)$3.50–$12.00
Cicer arietinum. Tan.
This chickpea is from León, an autonomous community in north-western Spain, where chickpeas have been a staple food since Roman times. Pico Pardal is small seeded with a pronounced beak. It is aptly named; Pico Pardal translates as “Sparrow Beak.” Creamy consistency, thin skin, cooks up fast and bakes well. If given plenty of space the bushes can become quite large and produce many small (2-bean) pods. Pico Pardal Garbanzo was recently the subject of a lawsuit in its home region. A food packer trademarked the name in 1998 and sought to restrict its usage; in 2015 the Promotional Association for Pico Pardal Garbanzo de León won the removal of the trademark because it is a traditional type that is widely grown in the region. ¡Viva las semillas! We sourced this variety from Paco Villalonga Lochridge, a Seed Savers Exchange member in Spain.
Hot Pepper, Chinese Dragon Tongue (Organic)$3.80–$6.80
Capsicum annuum. Hot. 80 days.
Long, red cayenne-type hot pepper that accordions near the stem for a cool wrinkled appearance. Peppers are good for ornamental use in ristras or on wreaths, becoming even more wrinkled as they dry. Flavor is also good; heat is slightly less than standard cayennes. Tall and productive pale green plants benefit from tomato cages or a small trellis. Light-green, unripe peppers make great pickles, tasting like an extra spicy pepperoncini. As the name suggests, fruit ripen to bright red. Originating in China. Variety given to The Seed Ambassadors Project by Ulla Grall, proprietor of Bio-Saatgut seed company in Germany.
Leek, Verdonnet (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Our best leek if you want beautiful tall white stalks from the fall through winter. Of the Swiss giant type, Verdonnet is a landrace variety that has been improved by a Swiss farmer/breeder. Swiss giants are typically great summer leeks, but these large, bright-green tasty leeks stand all winter and into the spring. A very tall shafted leek good for hilling or trenching to blanch the stalk. A variety given to us by the Irish Seed Savers Association.
Lettuce, Brown Goldring (Organic)$3.50–$6.50
Lactuca sativa. Bronze. 30 days baby; 55 full.
Similar to Bunyards Matchless with more compact and open growth, slightly frilled leaf margins and dark green, crunchy leaves with bronze tips. Excellent sweet flavor. Very cold hardy, needing little protection to overwinter. Grows fairly well in the summer as well. A British heirloom originally by the name of “Goldring’s Bath Cos.” Won an award of merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1923. The Henry Doubleday Research Association found it to have three times the Vitamin C as summer lettuces. We sourced this variety from the Heritage Seed Library in England.
Lettuce, Garnet Red Oak (Organic)$3.50
Lactuca sativa. Red Oak Leaf. 30 days baby; 55 full.
A classic red oak leaf with good deep red color and a unique, slightly upturned leaf architecture. Good color in low light conditions and fairly disease resistant. Great in most weather conditions. We have had small plants of this variety survive overwinter outside with no protection. A popular Northwest variety that has been floating around here for a long time, although it is strangely difficult to find sometimes.
Lettuce, Romulus (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Lactuca sativa. Green Romaine. 30 days baby; 60 full.
Big dark-green romaine with a crunchy delicious sweet flavor. The heads are slow to bolt and leaves form tightly without folding over on themselves to blanch a heart that is sweet. Heat tolerant and productive, we recommend this romaine especially for organic farm production, and it’s perfect for gardens, too. Released by Petoseed in 1991 before their infamous mergers. Formerly a PVP, the patent recently expired and this wonderful lettuce is now open source for us all to use freely. Originating from a cross between Valmaine and 24069, a University of Florida lettuce. Selected for tip burn and bolt resistance, large plants, non-cupping leaves and resistance to Lettuce Mosaic Virus (LMV).
Mustard, Oak Fire (Organic)$3.25–$12.00
Brassica juncea. 20 days baby, 40 days full.
A mix of gorgeous mustard greens perfect for salad mix. To quote the Urban Dictionary, “a transcendent beauty that forever consumes the hearts and minds of any who gaze at its stunning perfection.” Yes, that is a little hyperbolic for describing a mustard, but the excellent flavor, oak-shaped red and purple leaves with good moderate heat are hard to beat. Great for salad or bunching greens. Oak Fire has been our go-to spicy green for all salad mixes. Bred in Oregon by Tim Peters of Peters Seed and Research for more cold hardiness and disease resistance than other red mustards. We have seen young plants go through 10°F with no snow cover or row cover.
As required by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Washington Crucifer Quarantine, all Brassica family seed lots have been tested & found negative for blackleg (Phoma lingam) by an approved, certified lab.
Parsley Root, Hilmar (Organic)$3.80–$6.80
Pure white, 8” half-long shaped root vegetable with a mild parsley flavor. Roots are broad at shoulders, tapering to a point. Very aromatic and great in soups or roasted in the oven. Hilmar really shines as a winter vegetable when it sweetens up after a frost. Plus it’s very cold hardy – it was one of the crops that overwintered outside during our record cold snap in December 2013 with lows of 5° F! Leaves are also edible. Of the several varieties of parsley root we have tried, Hilmar is hands down the most vigorous – important for a root vegetable that, like parsnips, is relatively slow to start. Big strong tops make for good weed competitiveness, easy harvest and are nice for bunching. Sow in early June for harvest in October through February.
Parsley, Cilician (Organic)$3.25–$40.00
A very special and very rare type of parsley from a medieval kingdom in what is present-day Syria and Turkey, brought to North America via Cyprus. It has a more ferny leaf type, with a more intense flavor that makes it a great addition to any dish that calls for parsley. Tolerates shade well, possibly preferring it. Some people think Cilician parsley may be a different species than the Italian at-leaf or curly-leaf types that we are used to, or possibly even a predecessor. The region of Cilicia has a long history of struggle and has been fought over by Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, Romans, and Turks. It is a cradle of agricultural biodiversity and a place name few have heard of. We thank food writer William Woys Weaver for shedding light on this variety and piquing our interest, and to John Miller of the Old Schoolhouse Plantery in Brattleboro, Vermont, for starting us out with this great variety.
Pole Snap Bean, Oregon Giant (Organic)$3.80
Phaseolus vulgaris. Semi-flat Speckled Pods. 65 days.
This is the bean that introduced us to dual-purpose beans. We like to cook Oregon Giant pods when they are big and still juicy, although at that point they have strings like a traditional string bean. Also tasty when smaller and stringless, but with a much milder flavor. Can be used as (huge) fresh shelling beans and/or for dry beans. Pods shed off a fair amount of rain when drying down. Plants tolerate shade and cold wet weather very well. Most famous for being an Oregon heritage bean popular since the 1930s and recently it appeared to be lost. Our “genuine” strain comes from local seed saver Louise Nivison in Foster, Oregon who has been saving them for over 20 years.
Poppy, Elka White (Organic)$3.00
White breadseed type. Easy to grow, pale pink-white flowers with purple smudges. Produces mass quantities of sweet, nutty flavored white seeds that make an excellent paste/meal when ground into nut butter. Giant seed pods (1.5″ x 2″) are sealed and do not self seed. Originally from Chrenovec-Brusno, Slovakia.
Young, fall sown plants will often overwinter in our Willamette Valley climate, but are most commonly planted in early spring. Best direct sown into good garden soil. Drought tolerant.
Shelling Pea, Carruthers’ Purple Podded (Organic)$3.80
Pisum sativum. Purple Pod Shelling.
4-6′ tall vines, pink and purple flowers. Purple pods contain sweet seed for fresh shelling or freezing. One of the best purple-podded types we have grown. The purple pods are easy to find when picking. An heirloom grown by the Carruthers family in County Down, Northern Ireland for almost 40 years. Given to The Seed Ambassadors Project by the Heritage Seed Library in England. Aka, Caruther’s Purple Pod.
Shelling Pea, Clarke’s Beltony Blue (Organic)$3.80
Pisum sativum. Purple Pod Shelling.
Another purple-podded pea from Northern Ireland. This one is from County Tyrone and has been grown on the same farm there since at least 1850. Can grow up to 51⁄2′ tall. Purple pods become mottled with green when ripe and the peas have a good smooth flavor without bitterness. Our original seed came from the Heritage Seed Library in England.
Tomato, Amber (Organic)$3.25–$12.00
Solanum lycopersicum. 55-60 days. Det. Dwarf.
This was one of our earliest and tastiest tomatoes in 2010, which was for many gardeners in our area, “the year of late, bland tomatoes.” Very compact and early plants. Yellow-gold globes are plentiful and early, yielding for quite a while despite being determinate. One of the only yellow tomatoes we grew for market and CSA. Dwarf enough for container culture. Russian origin.