Though 2020 seems far off in the future, the time is now to reserve a copy of the Baker Creek Heirloom seeds catalog. That’s because Baker Creek has already run out of its free 2019 color catalog. This year, Jere Gettle and his family celebrated their 22nd whole seed catalog listing of rare seeds. These are not your ordinary seeds. They are the essential part of Baker Creek’s mission to save and share produce varieties that are healthy, free from dangerous farm chemicals and are not GMO corporately controlled seeds. Purchases of these seeds support their local farms and ensure that local farmers and businesses who use them are also supported.
For Jere Gettle, growing things has been his passion. He’s been gardening since he was a toddler. His printed catalog debuted in 1998 when he was just 17. Since then, Baker Creek offers almost 2,000 herbs, flowers, and vegetable varieties. It’s the largest seed company to offer heirloom seeds in the United States. The free color catalog is now sent to more than 700,000 gardeners across America.
Along the way, Baker Creek established festivals to bring together gardeners, natural food enthusiasts, homesteaders, vendors, musicians and families who are interested in preserving safe foods which are not the result of genetically altered seeds. The company built a pioneer village called Bakersville to expand the opportunities for visitors to see the beauty of the Ozark hills, to visit the farm, the village, the animals, shop for seeds, explore the gardens and stop for a bite to eat at the restaurant. It’s become the place to gather for anyone who wants firsthand education about what it means to grow historic heirloom seeds. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is located 45 miles to the east of Springfield, Missouri in Mansfield, at 2278 Baker Creek Road.
It’s quite astonishing to learn that Baker Creek ships all their seeds without handling or shipping charges. The Gettle family wants everyone to have access to their seeds. They don’t ask for minimum orders either. It’s the way they do business with family and friends. It’s also the best way they know to share high quality seeds with gardeners everywhere. Their team of seed hunters travels to about 12 countries each year to bring back new seed varieties. This past year, Jere was in China and is looking forward to introducing black goji berries and true pink celery as a result of his travels. Also anticipated are 2-foot-long carrots and pearly white bitter melons from Japan, plus plenty of new peppers and even more.
This coming May 5th and 6th, Baker Creek will host its 19th annual Spring Planting Festival. More than 10,000 gardeners gather together to celebrate historic foods, seeds, plants, music and culture. Ozark crafters, historic demonstrators, gourmet chefs, international speakers, food activists, renowned musicians, homeschoolers, western re-enactors, organic growers, trendy vendors, herbal hippies and free thinkers all become a community at the village and seed farm. There is free RV camping without hookups, free tent camping, local hotels when booking early, food for purchase, and all for a $5 admission fee per adult. Children 17 years old and under are admitted free. There are no weapons allowed, and the event focuses on educating fair goers about food and gardening.
The popularity of Baker Creek has produced company growth. The Gettle family owns the historic Comstock Seed property known as Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre. It’s located in in Wethersfield, Connecticut and includes the original seed store and a natural foods market and café operated by Gettle family friends, Spiro and Julia Koulouris. The family has also opened the California Seed Bank in Petaluma, California, offering gardening supplies and a full selection of Baker Creek seeds. It’s a 45-minute drive just north of San Francisco. They’re also at the Santa Rosa, California National Heirloom Expo every September.
The Gettle family can be joined on Facebook and followed on Instagram and Twitter. It’s important to them that everyone learn about growing nutritious crops which are free of herbicides like Roundup and massive amounts of pesticides. GMO crops grown by large corporate farms are shown to be lacking in nutrients when tested against crops grown organically with heirloom seeds. Jere and his family welcome everyone to grow foods from earlier times, with the hopes that eating them will support healthier bodies.
To reserve that cherished, free copy of the 2020 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog, just head over to the website at rareseeds.com and follow the directions. Of course, it’s possible to download a pdf copy of the 2019 version, but anyone who gardens knows how much fun it is to take a seed catalog outside to the garden, stand in the fresh air and compare what’s inside the catalog to the place where the seeds may grow. It’s not that gardeners aren’t computer savvy. It’s just that there’s a huge difference between looking at the computer screen and walking through the garden. Three-year-old Jere’s first ever garden was the early inspiration for teaching everyone to grow and eat pure foods. Now everyone can share Baker Creek’s newest seed discoveries. It’s exactly what the Gettles have hoped to do.