BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
The Wolfville Farmers’ Market is holding its third annual Seedy Saturday April 10. At least two Valley seed producers will be on hand.
Pumpkin Moon Farm will have many of the over 50 varieties of heirloom and tried-and-true varieties of herb, vegetable and flower seeds. Some of their rare seeds include Canadian wild goose beans, sequoia beans, rare tomatoes and fava beans and a local historical strain of Jacob's cattle beans. Their Welsford farm specializes in herb crops and herbal products and is certified organic.
As well as herbalists and product makers, Michelle Fike says the root of the business is the fact they are also gardeners. With a graduate degree in environmental studies, she is an active member of Seeds of Diversity Canada and United Plant Savers. She came to Nova Scotia from Ontario in 1992 to get some hands-on experience on a farm after studying the global food system.
Four years later, she moved east to concentrate on farming. For five years, she operated a successful community shared agriculture farm in West Dalhousie, which had 100 shares.
“It was the biggest of its era,” Fike says, “and I began dabbling in seed saving.”
Today she has a passion for preserving native plants and heirloom varieties of seeds.
“We participate in many seed-saving, gardening and Seedy Saturday events around Nova Scotia each spring and sell over dozens of varieties of seeds and planting potatoes,” she says.
According to Fike, many well-known seed firms in the Maritimes only repack seeds to sell and don’t support the local seed system, tied today to food security.
Seedy Saturdays began in 1999 in Halifax and are well liked by enthusiastic gardeners. Across Canada, seed events are “springing” up, says Wolfville market spokesman Devin Loughead Folks, as winter-weary gardeners turn their thoughts to dreams of summer gardens.
“What better way to celebrate spring than a morning of seeds, plants, seed vendors, gardeners and inspiration?” she asks.
There will be gardening workshops and videos, seed planting demonstrations, free take-home plantings, vendors and catalogues - and a good dose of excitement about the season to come.
“What better way to celebrate spring than a morning of seeds, plants, seed vendors, gardeners and inspiration?” - Devin Loughead Folks
Another growing Valley option
Growing organic heirloom vegetable seeds in the Annapolis Valley is what Owen Bridge does handily. He began in 2008 at the age 16, with the goal of maintaining rare seeds.
“It's really starting to take off now,” he notes, as gardeners and small farmers are increasingly interested in hand-grown, open-pollinated, non-GMO seed.
He grows most of the seeds listed in his Annapolis Seeds catalogue on the small family farm near Middleton. The remainder come from Windhorse Farm in Lunenberg County. While he is not certified organic, everything Bridge grows he considers organic.
Bridge helped organizer a seed day at the Middleton Farmers Market, set this year for April 30. Annapolis Seeds are also available at, Den Haan's Garden World, Middleton; and Scotian Gold Co-op, Coldbrook.