When it comes to locally-grown food, Asheville has a wealth of resources. There are tons of popular tailgate markets, bunches of restaurants that rely on local farms for fresh veggies and meats, a co-op and grocery stores that sell local produce, CSAs, the list goes on. There are organizations that promote the locavore movement, support local farmers and sustainability.
So, if it’s important to know where our veggies come from, wouldn’t it also stand to reason that it’s important to know where our seeds are from?
Before I get beyond myself, as I’m familiar with – but not fluent in — the preceding organizations and concepts, I’ll stop while I’m ahead and tell you one fun thing I did last week (related to all of the above) after my youngest child overcame the flu (ugh).
In the grocery store a couple years ago, I’d noticed a seed rack with packets from a local seed company. Huh?
Local seed? Intrigued with heirloom seeds (and the really awesome Sow True logo), I bought a few packets and thoroughly enjoyed the resulting veggies. But I kept wondering, who are the Ashevillians behind all this? And where are they?
A couple weeks ago, curiosity got the best of me, so I emailed Cathryn Zommer, Sow True’s communications guru, and told her I’m a newbie blogger but long-time gardener, and interested in finding out what they’re all about.
Cathryn invited me for a tour and was kind enough to take time out of her work day to show me their warehouse and new retail space. Here’s Cathryn with Michael, the Production Supervisor. Such nice folks with such a great operation going on….
My photos don’t give it justice, but there are probably millions of seeds in this cold storage room. There are shelves from floor to ceiling stacked with big buckets full of wonderful seeds.
Then there’s the main room where a group of folks were working: counting, weighing and packing seeds:
Here’s a box ready to go out to Earth Fare grocery store for their seed rack:
Peter Waskiewicz, the founder of Sow True, was just as nice and friendly as everybody else working there, and took time to talk with me too. I pulled this from his bio on their website, as it explains so well what they’re all about: “…he founded Sow True Seed with business partner Carol Koury in an effort to provide a source for regionally grown and selected, open-pollinated seed for the sustainably minded growers of Southern Appalachia and beyond.”
Here’s some shots from their retail area…at the end of my visit I did some serious retail therapy….which are now planted in my front bed (more to come on that….)
So, what did I learn from my field trip? Sow True adds even more texture and a strong foundation to what we’ve got going on in these mountains when it comes to keeping it local, healthy, and sustainable.
Thanks for letting me visit yall! See you in a couple days when I come to get my seed potatoes!