Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Seed Offerings

Seed rEvolution Now


This year's seed list has a few changes from the 2015 offerings. There are some price changes, both up AND down. A few items are not available this year, and a few new ones have been added.  We have added garden-scale packs for folks seeking smaller quantities. Remember, this is all open-pollinated, public domain material, which means that you, as a grower, may save seeds that you harvest for future use. The reliability of that seed will depend on your understanding of the sometimes complex rules of seed saving. We recommend the Organic Seed Alliance's website for reference.

New for 2016~Forono Beet, grown on Fifth Crow Farm in Pescadero, California

Seed rEvolution Now is primarily an educational and consultation endeavor. We do not aspire to provide a complete inventory of all kinds of veggie seeds. What is listed here are varieties we found especially impressive. We are familiar with growing and eating all of these varieties and offer our personal assurance of their exceptional quality for organic farmers and gardeners! 

To place orders, you may call or email Steve Peters directly: 
505-660-3933          stevegrows@gmail.com


Snap Beans

Italian Pole Snap Bean 

Phaseolus vulgaris  

White-seeded, Romano-type bean. Exceptionally sweet and tender 7-8” flat pods. Vines grow to 8-10’ or more. 60-70 days to fresh snap stage.

Heirloom, traditional, thick, meaty, flat green pole bean. This white-seeded, tall climber is very productive over a long season. Excellent, rich flavor and a unique succulence. This bean has been a favorite of our family for over 20 years.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

pack (60 seeds) ~ $3.     1 lb ~ $10.      5 lbs ~ $37.50    (960 seeds per lb)    
Please call to inquire about larger quantities.

To order, either email or call Steve Peters directly:
stevegrows@gmail.com or 505-660-3933

OS Blues Bush Snap Bean

Phaseolus vulgaris  

A determinate green snap bean, relatively early-maturing. with very long, straight pods that are exceptionally tender and sweet. This variety was developed at Oregon State by breeder Jim Myers, particularly for the fresh market grower. The 4" pods maintain good eating quality for a long period on the plant, allowing for a wide picking window. 55 days to fresh snap stage.

This refined, high-yielding bush bean has great tenderness and rich flavor. This is the bean that our 100-year-old mother found especially delicious. Farmer Bill found it so far superior to the other Blue Lake variety he'd been growing that he plowed in the entire crop of the loser, rather than sell an inferior bean when he could offer this one! 
Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack ( 115 seeds) ~ $3.     1 lb. ~ $12.    5 lbs ~ $40.   ((1870 seeds per lb) 
Please call to inquire about larger quantities.


Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean

Phaseolus coccineus

These multi-purpose beans add beauty to the garden with flaming scarlet flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. A fast growing climber noted for its high-quality eating as a fresh snap when bean pods are young, as a green shell bean, or as a dry bean. The beautiful, mottled purple and black mature seeds have traditionally been used for ornamental and ceremonial purposes.  Continuously harvest for a long season of eating. 55 days to fresh snap stage.

This runner bean grows quickly to 12' or more, making a beautiful, quick screen....we like arched trellising (as shown) to facilitate picking.    The beans may be eaten at three stages. As a snap green bean of exceptional flavor when young, these have long been a favorite in Britain. When the pods swell, the beans may be removed and eaten as shell beans, rather like edamames or limas. They are excellent in minestrone. They may also be used as a dry bean when fully mature. Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack (28 seeds) ~ $3.    1 lb. ~ $16.     5 lbs ~ $60.    (450 seeds per lb) 
Please call to inquire about larger quantities.

Fava Beans 

Sweet Lorane

Vicia faba

Enormously productive 5-6' tall plants benefit from trellising. Sweet Lorane has been selected for its edible seeds as well as its usefulness as a cover crop. Now farmers can get both in one!

 Note original purple favas in photo, compared to the new selection of edible green Sweet Loranes.

 This variety  was  originally  developed from a purple bell bean used as a cover crop by plant breeder Steve Solomon. He specifically selected for winter hardiness and sturdiness. He also discovered that there was a better flavor in the occasional seeds with a lighter green hilum (the small scar that is the seed equivalent of a belly button).

At that point, Alan Adesse, an experienced organic seed farmer from Oregon, took over the breeding project. Within just a few years of hard selection, he developed this excellent, hardy, high-yielding edible fava bean. We recommend this versatile variety...still a great cover crop as well as a tasty, high-protein food! Limited supply.

Grower: Alan Adesse, Willamette Valley, OR

Pack (100 seeds) ~ $3.  1 lb. ~ $12.    5 lbs ~ $40.    (790 seeds per lb.)  
Please call to inquire about larger quantities.


Forono Beet~New for 2016!

Beta vulgaris

Unusual slender, 6" long beet that is ideal for canning and pickling. It has a particularly deep red interior and extraordinarily sweet flavor. This is a real gourmet item. 50-55 days. 

This 2" wide by 5" long heirloom is very similar to Cylindra, which derived from this source. It has a rich, earthy sweetness, the smooth skin is easy to peel, and roots  hold a long time in the ground without becoming "corky". The strong, healthy tops make great beet greens. 

Forono beets have a smooth texture and rich flavor that make them a welcome addition to any meal!

When seed for this favorite market variety became impossible to find, the farmers of Fifth Crow Farm on the Central California coast were trained by Seed rEvolution Now's own Steve Peters to save the best of their remaining crop to re-plant for seed, with epic results. Now the farm's seed source is secure, and we have ample seed to share!

Grower: Steve Peters & Fifth Crow Farm, Pescadero, CA

Pack (180 seeds) ~ $3.)                            
1 oz. ~ $5.     1/4 lb. ~ $18.     1 lb. ~ $60.  
(2570 seeds per oz,)

Shiraz Tall-Top Beet

Beta vulgaris

This fast growing, dual-purpose beet has outstanding vigor, a round smooth shape, dark red color, and delicious tall beet green tops. Bred specifically for organic production, it is Rhizoctonia-resistant. Shiraz can be sown in the spring for summer harvest, 55-60 days, or in the fall for winter harvest, 70-80 days.

This beet was developed specifically to meet the needs of organic growers, and its success demonstrates the great potential of targeted open-pollinated breeding. A great disease problem for organic growers is rhizoctonia, which causes pitting and roughening of the skin on beets. Shiraz was bred to resist this fungus.

Organic Seed Alliance plant breeder Dr. John Navazio worked with farmer Bill Reynolds over a number of years to perfect this variety, which proved superior to almost all other OPs and hybrids in variety trials. This dual-purpose beet combines a strong large top for tasty greens with a sweet, smooth-skinned, round deep wine-red root. Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack (200 seeds) ~ $3.   1 oz. ~ $6.   1/4 lb. ~ $18.   1 lb. ~ $54.  (2825 seeds per oz.)

Rhizoctonia  infection on a leading commercial beet
(not Shiraz, which has bred-in resistance to this common disease!)


Pronto Beet

Beta vulgaris

Another great OP beet offering, grown by certified organic seed farmer Alan Adesse of Oregon. This beet has somewhat smaller tops than Shiraz, but is a very nice, uniform, refined Detroit-type, with excellent eating quality. A favorite with some of our tasters.

 1 oz. ~ $6.    1/4 lb. ~ $18     1 lb. ~ $54.   

Not available until Fall 2016


Steve's Select Tender Early Green

Brassica oleracea

This selection of Early Green is a proven performer in a wide range of climates, from Arizona’s desert to California’s coast to Maine’s forests. The central head averages about 4” across, and is followed by a succession of side shoots, produced up until frost. The stems are especially tender and delicious and require no peeling. Excellent for home or market. Highly recommended! Re-selected by Steve Peters at Fifth Crow Farm on the central California coast. 60-70 days from transplants.

After several trials and two years of hard selection, Steve is ready to release this improved old favorite. While the nicely domed central head is smaller (3" dia.) than modern hybrids, it nonetheless offers multiple advantages. After cutting the central head, the plant continues to produce abundant tasty side shoots for several months.The stems are very tender, which increases the amount of edible, delicious broccoli that may be harvested 
 Five heads bundled together. 

The side shoot production goes on for a long time, making this an ideal crop for a backyard gardener or market grower seeking prolonged harvest and greater overall yield than single-head, 'crown-cut' hybrids provide. 
Taste trials demonstrate the superiority of this OP variety, and Steve is proud enough of his efforts to put his name on it!
Grower: Steve Peters & Fifth Crow Farm, Pescadero, CA

Pack (125 seeds) ~ $3.     
1/8 oz. ~$7.    1 oz. ~$13.    1/4 lb. $39.   1 lb. ~$100.  (7100 seeds per oz.)


Columbia Cabbage

Brassica oleracea

Columbia is a particularly attractive cabbage, with firm round heads, many of which present an appealing rose blush.  Columbia heads are perfectly spherical, and weigh in at 1 1/2 to nearly 3 lbs. It was a favorite in our tasting trial,  crisp and juicy, with a mild sweetness and no peppery aftertaste. Columbia is one of the best of the green OP varieties. It is very solid and hard; a sure winner in a trial of over a dozen varieties grown (see an earlier post), it was as good or better than the green hybrids trialed. This fine cabbage is the result of long-time organic produce and seed grower Nash Huber's efforts at his farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It is a modern OP in the public domain. 

Best for summer-fall fresh market use. Pest resistant vigorous plants produce dependable high quality yields. Very dense, crisp, juicy heads of 5-5 1/2"diameter. Sweet, mild flavor. 80-85 days from transplants.

Pack (125 seeds) ~ $3.      1/8 oz. ~ $12.  1 oz. ~ $56.   1/4 lb. ~ $135.  
(7000 seeds per oz.)



Yellow Hickory King Dent Corn 

Zea mays

~New for 2016!

We are so happy to be able to offer this valuable old workhorse variety, thanks to a collaboration with Redwood Seeds. This heirloom produces two large ears on tall (8-12') plants. Their tightly husked ears resist ear worm damage. In addition to all of the food potential in its large, flat kernels, the high volume of green material makes Hickory King a good silage crop. It has good resistance to both northern and southern leaf blight. Plants benefit from an application of bone meal and protection from high winds. 85-135 days to maturity, depending on latitude and time of planting.

Steve checks out the seed crop with Cam and Kalen at Redwood Seeds farm in northern California.

This is an heirloom variety with its roots deep in Appalachia and its future in gardens everywhere! The huge, easy-to-peel (after nixtamalization) seeds have made this a favorite variety for homemade hominy and grits. It can also be used to make corn nuts,  masa harina for tamales or tortillas, or meal for cornbread. If picked early, the ears may even be boiled or roasted for a tasty, satisfying sweet corn (though less sweet than modern varieties), or corn chowder. Here is a link with detailed instructions for nixtamaization and making tortillas:  http://decolonizeyourdiet.org/2013/07/making-gmo-free-corn-tortillas-from-scratch-a-detailed-lesson-in-nixtamal-for-beginners.html

Held in the hand of our 100 year old family matriarch, Elsie.
Pack (75 seeds) ~ $3.   1/4 ;b. (265 seeds) ~ $8.  1 lb. (1070 seeds) ~ $24.


Lemon Cucumber

Cucumis sativus

Reliable, well-loved heirloom from the 1890’s. Oval to round, apple-sized, yellow fruits are succulent and sweet with thin, tender skins. Best eaten fresh right out of the garden, although it is also a good keeper. 70-75 days.

This heirloom cucumber is now gaining in popularity as foodies discover the natural digestibility and enjoyable sweet/tart flavor of this long-time gardener's favorite. Lemon cukes are easy, reliable and highly productive. Best grown on a trellis, although it is not a requirement for big harvests of sprightly, juicy, crisp cucumbers.         
Dry-farmed on the Eel River.
Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt Cty, CA

Pack (65 seeds) ~ $3.
 1 oz. ~ $9     1/4 lb. ~ $27     1 lb. ~ $90.    (940 seeds per oz.) 


Eel River

Cucumis melo

This orange-fleshed melon was bred in Northern California after WWII, and mixes the best of Japanese and European melon genetics.  Its pointed shape and thin, spotted skin is unusual, and this melon is a gem. It's noted for its delicious peach flavors and creamy texture. Re-selected by Eel River Produce (CA).
90-95 days.

This regional favorite was developed originally by the infamous Bear Jones of Shively, in Humbolt County, California. As the story goes, Bear's cousin brought some melon seeds back from his stint in Japan after World War II. The so-called "Jap Melon" was delicious, but had an unfortunate tendency to go soft at the stem end of the fruit. Bear crossed it with a popular OP muskmelon, which improved it by adding surface netting. At some point it attracted the attention of another seed saver in the area, who did his own improvements and sold it as the now locally famous "Crane Melon"which is similar, but not identical to our Eel River Melon. Bear entrusted the seed to his neighbor Bill Reynolds, who added more genetic diversity, firming it further, and perfecting this sweet, creamy, delectable, peach-like melon. This is dry-farmed on his river bar farm. It is reliable and productive in the field. Highly recommended!
Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA
Pack (55 seeds) ~ $3.
1 oz. ~ $10.     1/4 lb. ~ $30.     1 lb. ~ $96.    (800 oz.)    

Christmas watermelon ~ New for 2016!
Citrullus lanatus

A rare icebox-sized watermelon with terrific flavor, texture, and storability. Averages about 8-12 lbs. 80-90 days.

This delicious, crisp, juicy melon is famous for its keeping ability, storing easily into the winter; hence the name. Bill Reynolds of Eel River Produce has been dry-farming this for produce markets and for seed for quite a few years now, and it is a proven winner. Ranging from the size of a volleyball to a basketball or a bit larger, with a pale green skin that contrasts nicely with the deep peachy-rose sweet, fragrant flesh, this is a great watermelon.
Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Pack (40 seeds) $3.    1 oz. ~ $14 (400 seeds per oz,)


Red Ruffled Pimiento

Capsicum annuum

Here is a sweet pepper whose time has come! We won't beat around the bush. We've tasted a lot of peppers, and this is hands-down the most aromatic, crunchy, delicious one around. It is quite thick-walled and meaty as well. Lovely stuffed, especially as the skin is tender so that it doesn't need to be peeled, as so many roasters do. Chefs will be inspired!

This heirloom variety was originally developed in Spain for making paprika. That's about the only thing we haven't done with it...yet! Serve it sliced raw with a dip, or in salads. It's so good that children will enjoy it as a vitamin-packed crispy treat. Each plant will produce eight to twelve fully ripe 3-4" diameter fruits (or more with an extended season).  Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack(75 seeds) ~ $3,   1/8 oz. ~ 9.   1 oz. ~ $54.   1/4 lb. ~ $180. (4360 seeds per oz.)


Winter Bloomsdale

Spinacia oleracea

This old favorite full-savoyed type has dark-green, thick, succulent, flavorful leaves. Compared with the heirloom standard Long Standing Bloomsdale, it is slower growing and slower bolting to seed as long as conditions remain relatively cool (<75° F). It is well suited for growing over-winter, as it stands up well in severe conditions. It may also be grown in early spring for early summer harvest, and in the fall for early winter harvest. A favorite of both gardeners and chefs. 45-50 days.

If you are a long-time gardener, you will remember Winter Bloomsdale, but have you tried to find seed for this old standard lately? It has become very difficult to locate, as the market has been taken over by smooth leaf varieties so popular as baby salad greens. But they can't compare to the thick, succulent, substantial, flavorful leaves of this traditional savoy type. A close examination of the leaves may remind one of the arched trusses in a Gothic cathedra. The curvilinear ribs serve the same purpose; to support more weight! Now that Slow Food has gained acceptance, it is time to revisit this almost forgotten old favorite. It's just better eating! 

Grower: Nash Huber, Olympic Peninsula, WA

Pack (230 seeds)   I oz. ~ $6.    1/4 lb. ~ $18.    1 lb. ~ $45.  (2180 seeds per oz.)


Dark Star Zucchini

Cucurbita pepo

A dark green, straight, glossy, faceted, delicious zuke with an open plant habit, exceptional vigor and the ability to recover from environmental stresses. A dynamic collaboration between breeder John Navazio and farmer Bill Reynolds led to this outstanding variety that displays a multitude of valuable traits. Its unusually high levels of the carotenoid lutein gives the inner flesh a slightly golden cast and a nutritional boost. Bred under dryland conditions, a stronger root system helps Dark Star, besides thriving under droughty conditions, also apparently exhibits some resistance to a number of diseases, and even some frost resistance. Expect high yields of good quality zucchinis over a long period. Best grown in the West and Southwest, where solar radiation levels are high. 50-55 days.

If there is one stand out among all the great varieties offered here, it would have to be this exceptional zucchini. It is the result of another breeding project between Dr. John Navazio (formerly of the Organic Seed Alliance) and dedicated organic seed grower Bill Reynolds. This glossy, deep green, faceted zucchini was designed with the organic market grower in mind. It was made possible by the unusual dry-farm conditions on Bill's river bar produce farm. As he selected over the years, the most well-adapted plants developed a deeper root system. The resulting strain is about 1/3 larger than the select hybrid varieties commonly grown by produce farmers, and 1/3 more productive. The plants have an open habit, for easy picking, and the leaf stalks are sturdy and nearly spineless, for less scarring of fruit.

Dark Star proved its merit on a large organic produce farm in Mexico. Here you can easily see that the plants are both larger and a deeper green than the hybrid variety, Prestige, which is on the left. Farmer Bill poses proudly beside his plants.

 Because it is an OP, it continues to produce both male and female flowers throughout the season, resulting in a much longer period of productivity, with none of the malformed fruit which are often produced late in the season by hybrids. Dark Star is recommended for summer dry, sunny regions, where it is outstanding. It does not do well in low light, wet areas, where it tends to have more vegetative growth (although we have received some rave reviews from Eastern growers as well). If you want the best zucchini for the Western states, we sincerely believe this is it! Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

To watch a short video by the Hudson Valley Seed Library about Dark Star, follow this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A97hoJrUhvg

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack (30 seeds) ~ $3.    1 oz. ~ $8.     1/4 b. ~ $24.     1 lb. ~ $80.  (170 seeds per oz.)


Stella Blue

Cucurbita maxima

A medium-sized (2-4 lb), round, flattened Kabocha/Hokkaido type winter squash with an attractive slate blue skin. The rich orange flesh has a pleasant dry, flaky texture and an exceptionally sweet and nutty flavor. A favorite among our tasters! Stella Blue is particularly high yielding for this type of winter squash. 95-105 days.

Our all-time favorite winter squash! This Hokkaido or Kabocha-type Maxima, a type highly prized in Japan. Stella Blue has richly flavored, dense, rich sweet flesh, with a texture reminiscent of roasted chestnut. It is the perfect size for a family dinner, and, with pale slate blue skin and deep orange interior, makes a dramatic presentation. Long vines produce 4-5 mature squash, averaging about 7" in diameter and 4" high. Dry-farmed on the Eel River.

Grower: Bill Reynolds, Humboldt County, CA

Pack (22 seeds) ~ $3.    1 oz. ~ $7.     1/4 lb. ~ $21.     1 lb. ~ $70.   (104 seeds per oz.)

To order, either email or call Steve Peters directly:

stevegrows@gmail.com or 505-660-3933

A shipping and handling fee appropriate to each order will be applied.

We are always eager to hear how these varieties perform in other bioregions, and we're very interested to find other promising open-pollinated varieties in the public domain. Let us hear from you! Happy growing!

In keeping with our mission to return seed autonomy to the farmer, we sell only the highest quality, organically grown, open-pollinated varieties that are in the public domain. Farmers are able save seed from these crops for their own use, selecting over time to improve varieties for their particular needs and conditions. This is one way humans may restore their place as stewards of biodiversity. The careful, hands-on evaluations and continuous, rigorous selection to which each offering is subjected assure that we are providing truly superior varieties. Viability testing is conducted for every variety each year. Seed prices are wholesale, fair and competitive. Our list is limited, but growing as we find more excellent crops that suit our exacting standards, and those of organic market farmers, seed companies, co-ops, and gardeners.

For more information on some specific varieties, please refer to our other blog entries.