Episode-1152- Jere Gettle of Baker Creek on Heirloom Seeds

Jere Gettle - Founder of Baker Creek Seeds

Jere Gettle – Founder of Baker Creek Seeds

Jere Gettle always had a passion for growing things.  With the help of his parents, he planted his first garden at age 3 and became enchanted by the possibilities of what could be created with seeds, sunshine, and soil.  He began saving, collecting, and trading  seeds.  By age 13, preserving historical varieties had become his mission in life.

At the age of 17, he printed the first small Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog in 1998

His little homestead near Mansfield, Missouri, now includes an impressive seed store, 2 huge warehouses for storing and packing seeds, multiple trial gardens, and an entire pioneer village consisting of a vegan restaurant, general mercantile, apothecary, flour mill bakery, blacksmith shop, outdoor stone oven and multiple music stages that serve as locations for traditional music during the monthly heritage festivals and huge Spring Planting Festival in May.

The Gettle Family with a Melon Harvest

The Gettle Family with a Melon Harvest

Over the last several years, Jere and his wife Emilee have branched out into other related projects as well, including the nationally distributed Heirloom Gardener magazine, which is now in its 9th year of publication.  They have also expanded to a location in Petaluma, California, with their Seed Bank, a beautiful historic bank building that houses their Baker Creek retail seed operation.

The Gettle’s also  purchased and are working to restore and preserve Comstock, Ferre & Company, the oldest continuously operating seed company in New England.  They have recently published 2 books:  a general gardening book entitled The Heirloom Life Gardener and The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook.

Jere and Emilee work extensively to supply free seeds to many of the world’s poorest countries, as well as here at home in school gardens and other educational projects.  It is their goal to educate everyone about a better, safer food supply and fight gene-altered Frankenfood and the companies that support it.

Resources for today’s show…

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9 Responses to Episode-1152- Jere Gettle of Baker Creek on Heirloom Seeds

  1. I have always loved gardening. My husband and I have always raised and garden, froze, bottled, enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

  2. Amazing timing, Jack. After the interview on High Mowing, I’ve been listening to interviews on seeds all week and just yesterday I was listening to a few other interviews with Jere Gettle and thought, “Hmm, I wonder if he’s been on TSP….” Thanks!

  3. I wonder if there would be a market for a seed network for all the small companies that sell heirlooms and potential providers of seeds. Maybe even an affiliate agreement where if one company is out of stock it can send the customer to the next site.

  4. Another great show! I had just recently read about this guy in another magazine and meant to look his site up so this was a nice surprise. It’s so encouraging and educational to hear from guys like this. Good work, Jack.

  5. George McLaughlin

    Baker Creek is one of my “regulars” when I purchase seed. No need to go into all the great things I could say about their catalog. You folks covered that!

    I really enjoyed learning Jere’s more in depth knowledge in regards to what’s going on in the commercial seed industry. I am also REALLY in favor of the idea floated, on this program, of many small gardeners learning to preserve one or two things. That is huge!

    Jere’s reviews of a couple of plants at the end of the program have me already planning some new things for next year’s garden. That was quite helpful.

    I do have a problem with the term “heirloom.” As I understand it, “heirloom” refers to something passed on down from one person to another for a good many years, say, several generations. I grow two beans which my wife and I received from her grandparents, who in turn received them from relatives. That’s heirloom. But open pollinated is often equally valuable, even if it isn’t “heirloom.” For instance Sioux tomato isn’t technically an heirloom. But it is a very worthy variety which can be indefinitely preserved. This is just one thing I wish I could change in our nomenclature. I’ve been conscientiously saving seed since 1983 and seed this term broaden out until it is almost synonymous with “open pollinated.”

    Finally, I just received my first copy of Heirloom Gardener for Fathers’ Day. Wow! I haven’t been a great fan of gardening magazines since my beloved Gardens for All (National Gardening) went out of print. But this magazine has much of the flavor I’ve missed. So far, the articles I have read are quite good and I feel almost like I’m visiting with the authors, when I read; which is how it was to read Gardens for All. Thank you for such a fine publication (in spite of the name lol).

  6. Great interview man. The arrival of the Baker Creek seed catalog is always an exciting day at my homestead!

  7. Here’s another company I use a lot. They have a crazy selection of medicinal herb seeds. Definitely worth a look.

  8. Dheerecrossing

    I’ve ordered from Baker Creek for the last two years. Their service is wonderful. I’ve had some good and bad luck with the seeds but I’m going to keep trying when ever I see something I like.
    It’s companies like yours and your values that make this country great.

  9. A couple of years ago we held a workshop on composting and gardening for 800 women in El Salvador. Baker Creek donated Amaranth and Long Beans for us to give to each one of the ladies who attended and even years later their gift continues to produce here in El Salvador. They are amazing people and we appreciate there generosity. They are the real deal!