Adam Calder, Wheatsfield Co-op Produce Manager
Every year, Seed Savers Exchange releases a handful of limited-edition seeds that they have never offered before. These seeds were cared for and tended to by previous generations, then gifted to Seed Savers to be handed down to future generations.
One of those new seeds, the Fagiolini dell’occhio Cowpea, is making its first appearance in the produce department here at Wheatsfield. This interesting plant grows vines up to 6 ½ feet long and has violet colored flowers. One or two seed-pods grow per plant. These pods reach lengths of two feet, and contain around 20 seeds per pod.
The Cowpea can be eaten immature as a tender green bean, or grown to maturity so the seeds inside (also known as black-eyed peas) can be harvested and eaten.
Also new to the cooperative this year is a Bee Feed flower mix. This one packet contains the seeds of: Chinese Forget-Me-Not, Siberian Wallflower, California Orange Poppy, Purple Coneflower, China Aster, Common Poppy, Lance Leaved Coreopsis, Blue Flax, Baby Blue-Eyes, Tidy-Tips, Globe Gilia, Indian Blanket, Plains Coreopsis, Tall White Sweet Alyssum, Hyssop, Fleabane Daisy, New England Aster and Bergamot. This packet sows a fifty square foot area and works great as a border planting along fences or for the edges of a garden to attract pollinators. These plants represent a mix of flowers that bloom from the beginning to the end of the growing season, and provide food for a diverse range of pollinating insects.
There were five varieties of okra available in the Seed Savers catalog for 2021, and the produce department has all five for sale! Two of them really stand out: the full-flavored Hill Country Red and the tender Silver Queen. Like all okra, these plants grow gorgeous hibiscus-like flowers before they transform into edible seed pods. The Hill Country Red is known for its classic okra taste packed into small, plump pods. These plants produce prolifically when the pods are harvested young, and the size of the pods makes them great for pickling.
The Silver Queen okra has less ribbing than other okras, and therefor has a less fibrous and more delicate flesh. The tender nature of the pods means they can be allowed to grow up to six inches in length before being harvested, which is about twice the length okra is traditionally harvested at. The plants can reach an impressive seven feet in height, with a width of up to three feet.
These are just a few of the many varieties of seeds we have for sale. You’ll have to come in to the produce department to check out the full selection. These seeds go fast, and the supply chain is still stretched thin because of Covid-19. Stop in soon, as we cannot guarantee having any particular seed packet in stock and may not be able to re-stock this season.
$2.99 each, while supplies last