Burpee Seeds: Your Start to Food Freedom with your own garden

By on August 21, 2015

Burpee:  from a Seedy Business to Seeds you can count onbee-on-a-flower-greg-bush

In the nineteenth century, when ordering seeds from a catalog meant you were probably a farmer, teaming up with a seed provider to plant your cash crop for the year,  there were lots of hucksters,  charlatans, and various other seed salesmen who might be just in it for the quick buck.  It’s why farmers began saving seeds that worked from one year to the next.

Enter W.Atlee Burpee Co. of Warminster, Pa., who began a guaranteed seed business that was born and has thrived for 139 years.  Why?  Because they are on an endless quest for the best seed possible for home gardens: flowers, vegetables, and herbs.  People trust Burpee Seeds.

Never in 139 years have they ever or will they ever use or promote GMO seeds.  They’re masters at traditional plant breeding practices,  hybridization techniques that have stood the test of time.  Why should they use some cockamamie scheme with sketchy motives?  They know better.garden summer 2014 077

I once again visited their home base test plot, Fordhook Farm, on August 14, 2015. Once again I was dazzled by the beauty of this 139 year old farm, amazed at the dedication and erudition of their seed professionals, and humbled at the depth of their commitment to the American home garden.

Here’s the tomatoes I harvested today from my own home garden.

According to George Ball, president and CEO of Burpee, there are today about 31 million home gardens in the United States of America.  George and the Burpee family intend to double that number to 62 million home gardens within the next 10 years.burpee George-Ball-Jr-Burpee-Seed-Company

So what?  Who cares?  And why should this matter to me?  Just ask the millennials who are just entering the marketplace as the largest single demographic in the history of the United States of America. What do they want?  To know where their food comes from, to be able to plant and grow and eat and save and put up an ever and ever large percentage of their own foods.

Why? Because in our ever more cynical world, there is less and less trust in agribusiness giants, monoculture crops, and processed foods of dubious provenance.

Is all this necessary?  Ask the 22 year old with a garden planted in a wooden wine box on the sunny fire escape in Manhattan who now grows all his own lettuces, kale, and tomatoes on a trellis.  Does he think this matters?  Yes.

Why do Millenials Garden?

Burpee has made an enormous commitment, as well, to getting home gardeners to plant the so-called Pollinator gardens.  These colorful fruit and flower gardens may be all that is standing between us and certain starvation down the road.Burpee pollinator garden with butterly on a coneflower

Well that sounds a little extreme but when you realize that for every three bites of food you put into your mouth every day, two of those bites rely on the good offices of honeybees pollinating those flowers to produce seeds and produce.

As the scientists say, no bees, no food, and if all the bees were exterminated, through carelessness, ignorance, or intentional planting of huge swaths of monoculture crops sprayed with poisonous pesticides, it wouldn’t take long to end life on earth as we know it.

Talk to Burpee’s Venelin Dimitrov, product manager, Flowers, tubers, perennial plants, shrubs and fruits and he’ll explain, happily.Venelin knows so much about honeybees it is fair to say that he considers them sentient beings.  He can tell you what honey bees think, and say, and convey to their friends in the hive.  He can tell you why you shouldn’t cut your grass too short if you insist on having a lawn, to give the honeybees a place to rest in the shade, to get a drink of water, and to prepare themselves for their next workshift.  He will tell you why you should never – repeat never – use nicotinamide pesticides anywhere on your property because of their deadly results for the bees.

As Venelin said, Bees, like humans, like a broad and varied diet of food stuffs from early spring to the first frost.  Following his lead, you can plant a pollinator garden that will make you feel good about your garden, will save the bees, and can be your part to save the planet.

Venelin is personally responsible for people losing their fear of bees and coming to embrace them as the friend to mankind that they are. Venelin and his associates at Burpee have even put together a Pollinator Garden seed packet that contains 10 or more of the top flower and herb crops you should plant to start your own Pollinator garden.

Their catalog will give you advice on what to plant and when for your zipcode. They have little gardening classes online and lots of support for the beginning gardener.

Planning for your own Autumn Garden and Beyond

I just ordered some purple pole beans and red chard to flesh out my own autumn garden.  All I can say about Burpee is that you can trust the company.  They will help you grow a garden that will bring to your home beauty, nutrition, and a feeling of satisfaction because you did, indeed, do it yourself.

W.Atlee Burpee & Co.,  www.burpee.com

And for my lunch, I’m having yet another perfect tomato sandwich made from my home grown tomatoes laced with Duke’s mayonnaise on great white bread. Yum!tomato-sandwich_lg

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About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”