Our Top Five Memories of 2018

by Doug Muller

Now that January is almost here—and we already have three minutes more sunlight each day!—it's time to say goodbye to the year that has passed and prepare space in our hearts and minds for new beginnings.

As in much of the country, our 2018 growing season on the seed farm was extremely challenging. But there were many surprise successes, and our small enterprise developed many exciting partnerships and products that we can't help but celebrate.

Here are our top five seed company memories of 2018.

1.) Partnership with Shumei

Ken and Doug at a meeting of Japanese farmers in Shiga prefecture, Japan.

It's been a joy to collaborate with Shumei, a group from Japan that values spiritual healing, the importance of art and beauty, and natural agriculture. We've had the privilege of having  Shumei member Kenny Nakagawa as part of our farm crew all season. He's been learning the procedures we use to grow and process seed in order to share that experience with his organization. Then, in November, Ken and Doug traveled to Japan to give lectures and speak to Shumei members and Natural Agriculture farmers about seeds, farming, and more. It was a fantastic cross-cultural exchange that was a highlight of the year!

2.) Partnership with Seed Phytonutrients

What a pleasure it's been to supply seed packets to Seed Phytonutrients, a new health and beauty brand that is using certified organic, American-grown seeds in its bath and body formulations. The company's unique water-resistant paper bottles are the first in the industry, and they've made recycling even more fun by placing a packet of our seeds inside the bottle. We're proud to sell a selection of their products on our website: click here to see the gardener-focused products that we sell.

3.) Amazing New Art Packs

This year's round of new Art Packs, which we released in November, is top-notch. From the soft and sensual tones of Mother of Pearl Poppy to the bold, crisp lines of Watermelon Radish, there is something in this year's selections to please every gardener and art appreciator!

4.) Best Calendar Ever

We think our 2019 wall calendar is the best ever. The sharp, contemporary grids are even sharper; the cover is gorgeous; the artwork, made up mostly of last year's new Art Pack varieties, is stunning. Good news: it's not too late to pick up a copy! Just click here.

5.) Seed farm successes!

While we suffered more crop losses this year due to the seemingly endless rain that we received from late July through October (quick fact: it was the wettest September in 125+ years of recordkeeping at Mohonk Mountain House), we did have some wonderful successes!

  • Our Nozaki Chinese Cabbage seed crop was the best ever. A dry, moderately warm early summer provided the perfect conditions for the seed pods to mature and dry on the plants.
  • Pink Moon Poppy, a new variety that we'll be offering this year, stunned us with its exceptional vigor and the boldness of its hue. Plus we got loads of seeds, which was such a pleasure.
  • Woodland Nicotiana, another new flower variety, seemed unstoppable--even growing in absolutely sodden wet clay soil. The plants had big, beautiful forms with cascades of white flowers on them, then yielded loads of good seed. Hurray!
  • Peppers were generally one bright light in this year's vegetable garden. Pippin's Golden Honey Pepper excelled, dazzling us with its warm, orange-toned fruits covering mid-sized pepper bushes. It gave us a big seed harvest that helped to allay the pain of some of our lost-cause crops.
  • Finally: Upstate Oxheart Tomato never fails to disappoint. But this year we were stunned—STUNNED—by how well the vines fared in the wet season. They were tall and covered in good-looking green leaves and intact fruit well into the monsoon period. We expressed our gratitude to these plants on a regular basis!

The New Year often brings changes, and next month we will be saying goodbye to Julie Noble, a skilled member of our farm crew. We will also be preparing to say goodbye to Christine Baker, who has been providing top-notch customer service since March and will be leaving at some point over the next few months to embark on the journey of motherhood. We are grateful to both of these wonderful people for their hard work!

Interested in joining our team? Or do you know a great candidate? Our Sales Assistant/Customer Service position job listing is here, and our farm job listing will be posted on our website by January 5th.

Here's to more joys and much gratitude in 2019!