Frank shares his story of getting started on his market garden in 1980, and how he developed a gourmet salad greens business that shipped salads to top restaurants nation-wide. This high-end salad greens business allowed and encouraged him to start selecting the best plants for organic salad production, as well as to begin to develop new, custom varieties for his farm.
We also dig into his on-the-job education in seed breeding, how he and Karen made the transition from salad growers to seed company, and how Wild Garden Seeds has worked with partner farms to grow their seed business.
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Quotes from the Show
When you grow lettuce for seeds, it's a long term process and getting that beautiful head of lettuce is only the first part of it.
Actually, becoming a farmer was a natural selection for me, I think because I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be self-reliant. I wanted to be creative and I wanted my time to be my own and when you started thinking about it, there's not too many jobs that offer you those things other than farming.
The salad business provided me with an economic way to accomplish plant breeding over a long period of time.
I can't imagine a more productive partnership than a seed-organic produce partnership.
We've been changing since the day we started farming.
J.L. Hudson, Seesman was the first commercial buyer of Wild Garden Seeds’ seeds. It’s still a pretty interesting seedhouse.
We talked about how John Navazio had influenced both of us, and the organic farming and seed movement in general. John was my guest for Episode 074. He’s also got a great book, The Organic Seed Grower.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation funded the Hell’s Half-Acre Trial at Wild Garden Seeds. They continue to support all kinds of great research for organic growers.