This past Saturday we held our 3rd annual seed swap here at Pine Mountain, it was a beautiful day (maybe a bit too beautiful because we didn’t have quite the turnout we expected) and we had lots of enthusiastic gardeners ready to get their hands dirty, now we just need some good weather!


Our greeting Committee


Buying seeds from Bill and Frank


Bill talks a bit about heirloom seeds

We didn’t have very many people with seeds to trade but several great folks showed up to sell their quality seed, including Bill Best of Sustainable Mountain Agriculture, Frank Barnett, a board member of Sustainable Mountain Agriculture, and Maria Stenger of Blue Ribbon Tomatoes. Bill and Frank both had a great variety of beans to sell, ranging from the ever popular Non Tough Half runner, to the Noble Fall Bean. Bill and Frank personally source all their bean seed and have great stories behind the seeds. The Noble Fall bean for example was taken from West Virginia to Oregon in 1898 by the Noble family but was almost extinct as recently as 2008; Bill sells small packets of the Noble Fall bean, so as to spread it out between many growers. The Goose Bean, also offered by Bill Best is another bean with a great story; it is said that the original seeds were taken from the craw of a wild goose shot by a hunter. Bill has many more seeds to offer, if you didn’t make it to the seed swap but are interested in buying his seeds just visit his website and online catalog.


Maria helping a gardener choose seeds

Maria Stenger also had a great selection of seeds, many of them Kentucky heirlooms, and all naturally grown. Maria’s tomato seeds are all accompanied by quirky names, great descriptions and photos that will make your mouth water. Maria’s Coyote tomato seed whose fruit is described as a pale yellow marble sized cherry with a fruity sweet flavor is a “Best Tasting Tomato” winner with the Cincinnati Heirloom Open Pollinated Tomato Associate Growers (CHOPTAG) and was a great seller at the seed swap. Several other interesting and delicious sounding tomatoes offered by Maria include the Rebecca Sebastian’s Bull Bag a monster sized heart shaped tomato, that is deep red with few seeds and a rich tomato-y flavor, and the Kentucky Heirloom Viva which is creamy white with a yellow tint and pink blush, these tomatoes weigh about ½ pound and can be scooped out with a spoon! To buy seeds from Maria visit her online store.

And a great big thank you to our fellow Grow Appalachia sites, Lotts Creek and Red Bird Mission for coming out to attend the seed swap, it’s always great to see familiar faces at our events!

Wishing all our fellow Grow Appalachia sites the best of luck in buying all their seeds and getting gardens started. Happy spring!