Baker Creek 2013 Seed Catalog Review | The Best Gardening

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds 2013 Catalog

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  • Stores located in the United States in Mansfield, Missouri (Headquarters); Petaluma, California; Wethersfield, Connecticut

The Baker Creek catalog came yesterday.  It’s full of organic and interesting heirloom varieties.  And it’s, hands down, the most interesting and beautiful seed catalog I’ve seen yet.  On the front of the catalog it has a big picture of pink zinnias, and then the title at the top, along with their website address, and at the bottom it says “2013 Pure Seed Book”.  Zinnias are pretty, but I would’ve loved to see a picture of vegetables or something.  But even on that, I am satisfied because the catalog is FULL of pictures of all sorts of garden veg.

Right on the inside of the front cover is a message from Jere Gettle.  He talks about the problems he’s faced due to seed contamination from GMO seed.  He says:

The movement to save our seed has become a global one, with gardeners everywhere bringing back the old seeds, saving and dispersing them.  The fight to keep them pure is a greater struggle each year, with corporate giants like Monsanto promoting their patented, genetically modified seeds, chemicals, and an ever widening net of genetic pollution and patent infringement suits against America’s farmers.  One of the challenges our company and the planet face annually is the loss of corn (and other crop) varieties due to cross contamination from these patented, GMO seeds. During the past 8 years since we started testing each lot of heirloom corn we sell, we have found that about 50% of America’s heirloom corn supply is already contaminated with these unwanted, patented, and possibly dangerous, GMO varieties.  We have pledged to not sell any seeds that come back positive for Monsanto’s genes in our test samples.  Not only do we not believe in offering GMO tainted seeds, but we would also be faced with possible legal action for selling these unwanted genes….

All told, GMO corn has cost our company thousands of dollars in lost crops and sales.  Worst of all, though, is that several varieties have been lost because of this contamination….

We are just one small company, but we must not give up our fight for pure food.  We fight for our right to our seed and the right for farmers to plant without fear of lawsuits from corporate giants bent on controlling every meal our children eat, feeding us untested, and mostly unwanted foods that have genes from who knows what: genes that are toxic to insects, cause tumors in rats and are likely contributing to many allergies according to many health organizations.

On page 4, at the top right is a paragraph that states:

All of our seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented.  We do not buy seed from Monsanto-owned Seminis.  We boycott all gene-altering companies.  We are not members of the pro-GMO American Seed Trade Organization!  We work with a network of about 100 small farmers, gardeners, and seed growers to bring you the best selection of seeds available!  Many of our varieties we sell were collected by us on our travels abroad.

Then I went through the catalog.  (If you haven’t read the main article describing this project, go here.  In essence, we’ve created a spreadsheet to clearly show all the different vegetable seed varieties owned by Seminis/Monsanto, and we are going through each seed catalog/website, one by one, to inform our readers which varieties are owned by Seminis/Monsanto, in response to one of the questions we get asked the most.)

Just for your information, there were 5 varieties (listed below) that were listed by the same name on the Seminis website.  I went ahead and listed them here so you could see that there are seed companies who sell seeds by some of the same names that you may see on the Seminis website, but they are not necessarily purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis.  If they can be open-pollinated, they can be produced independently.  (Baker Creek provides us with this example, because they do all open-pollination and they DON’T buy seed from Seminis.)  If the seed is a hybrid seed variety, though, and the hybrid is owned by Seminis, the seed will have been purchased from Seminis (or a grower that produces seed for Seminis, whether by having purchased the rights to do so and then sell the seed, or by being contracted to produce the seed… to be honest I’m not sure which way they do it, or if they do a bit of both).  By the way, if you haven’t read the article that inspired this whole seed catalog project, learn about it here.

Open-Pollinated Varieties
Page 41: Marketmore 76 cucumber
Page 96: Santa Fe Grande hot pepper
Page 145: Floradade tomato
Page 163: Charleston Gray watermelon, Crimson Sweet watermelon

It’s always nice to get a direct statement from the company itself, even though I think the catalog itself said quite enough.  However, I have emailed Baker Creek to see if they want to add anything to this article, and I received the following reply:

reply from Baker Creek Seed public relations person

It’s always good to have a bit more clarification.  There seems to be quite a lot of confusion on this subject, so it was good to get Jere’s reply.  I hope you’re learning just as much as I am.  This has been a very eye-opening project.

About Anni

Gardening for life, liberty, and happiness. I love running, hiking, being with my family, gardening, cooking (most especially the stuff we pick from our garden), and reading.

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