Seeds With Deep Roots: Heirloom seeds keep alive memories of people and place

illustration by Kirsten Harper

by William Woys Weavers

As far back as I can remember, I have always been surrounded by seeds. During my preschool years, I farmed with my grandparents, and it was my Grandfather Weaver, with his acre or so kitchen garden in West Chester, who raised me at his knee.

My grandfather ran an accounting business, but his heart was in plants. He started collecting seeds in the early 1930s from relatives in Lancaster County where he was born. Before long, his entire property had become a botanical showplace, with fruit trees, bee hives, a pigeon house for racing pigeons (which provided manure for the gardens) and all sorts of wonderful things no one sees today, like Pineapple Rhubarb with yellow stems.

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Happy Cat Organics

A local seed company quietly amasses a tomato treasure trove

Hearing Happy Cat Organics’ Tim Mountz talk about tomatoes is enough to make any food-loving soul long for summer. Along with his wife Amy Bloom, Mountz has compiled a seed collection featuring 200 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. If that sounds like a lot, have no fear: Mountz promises to cap the operation at 250.
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