Join this discussion to learn how to achieve the best possible results to achieve high wuality, regionally adapted seed! We will explore best practices for on-farm and backyard seed saving, seed storage and how to achieve successful germination. The presenters will share successful methods, strategies, and tricks of the trade they have gathered through first-hand experience seed saving and working with farmers in the community. Whether you are running a farm business or are a backyard gardener, this session will help you optimize your seed care.
Introduced by Rebecca Ivanoff, EFAO
Aaron Varaadi: Aaron joined High Mowing Organic Seeds in the summer of 2020 as a Commercial Grower Sales Representative, working with farmers throughout Canada. He spent the previous decade managing organic farms in western Washington state. In addition to growing diversified vegetables, he’s grown seed crops on contract for High Mowing and other seed companies, has participated in variety trials on a regional and national level, and has developed his own breeding projects in addition to collaborating on breeding projects with industry and research partners.
Hanna Jacobs: Hanna grew up on a horse farm just north of Toronto and spent much of her 20’s travelling throughout Europe and North America visiting various sustainable farms and alternative communities whose focus included renewable energy resources, co-operative living and local food delivery systems.
She attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, where she received certificates in both culinary and patisserie arts, allowing her to spend over a decade in restaurants and pastry shops.
In 2006 after the birth of her first child, she began Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. to provide reliable and safe food for her family and others in the community. A passion for feeding people quickly transformed from cooking meals to farming vegetables and herbs. Inspired by her first chef, Hanna‘s mantra in the kitchen and on the farm is always, “your meal is only as good as your raw ingredients”.
Matchbox Garden now resides in Haldimand County where Hanna focuses on seed production, soil health, and garden education. No till methods, celestial planting, and biodiversity are cornerstones for all the gardens. When Hanna isn’t farming or teaching others about it, she can be found teaching yoga or at her local Karate club.
Paul Irwin: In 2006, Paul Irwin and his wife fell in love with a 100-acre farm located outside of Rocklyn, Ontario. It reminded him of his Scottish heritage and a rallying point called Boars Rock for all of Clan McLaren to meet. So, they decided to call the farm Boars Rock to become a rallying point for their family’s agricultural future.
Not long after, Irwin purchased 5 bulbs of Music garlic from a local farm store with no idea on how to grow it. As all garlic farmers know, 5 grew into 30, and after a couple of years, they outgrew their little garden. Irwin started planting up to an acre from their original garlic seed. In a couple more years, they got their organic certificate from EcoCert and expanded to 50,000 acres. That was the year that disaster struck and they lost almost 90% of their seed stock and had to cancel a big contract of selling a large portion of the garlic.
What was left was about 10,000 cloves to plant and a tiny portion that Irwin’s wife, Lorraine asked if she could use to dehydrate and produce garlic powder. Irwin was not very supportive until he saw how fast she sold out of it at a farmers’ market. People wanted to know what was put into it and they both said nothing but pure music garlic. Those 10,000 cloves have now grown into 3 acres and over 120,000 garlic plants. They continuously grow their original seed stock and have expanded to produce some of the best garlic products available under the name of Pure Music Garlic by Boars Rock Farm. All of this was possible by replanting their clean seed stock that has adapted very well to their soil and environment.
Purchasing this product will give you access to a recording of this session from the 2023 Guelph Organic Conference.