Thank You, Lonna

February 2024 Produce Parable
Adam Calder, Produce Manager

It has been an incredible fifteen years, and now it is time to say good-bye to Onion Creek Farm seedlings grown with love and care by Lonna Nachtigal. This comes as terrible news to the legions of fans of her seedlings, and to everyone here at Wheatsfield Cooperative.

In January, Lonna sent an email where she said:

“I have been looking ahead to spring and want to let you know that I am NOT planning to grow seedlings for sale at Wheatsfield this year.

Health issues and other reasons are making me reevaluate my priorities. I’m cutting back on some things in order to concentrate on others.

Although I’ll still be gardening here at home, I won’t be growing seedlings on (what is for me) a big scale. I’ve enjoyed growing plants for you all these past years.”

As saddened as I was to read that email, I was also delighted to hear that Lonna will be able to re-prioritize her commitments so she can enjoy her life as it shifts into a new stage. Such is the nature of life. I’ve lost track over the years of the number of different local farmers that have come and gone. Each time a local farmer says they are moving on to a new chapter, it is a bittersweet moment. We hate to say goodbye, and are also excited for our local farmers to pursue their interests and goals.

I would say Lonna’s presence in the produce department has been like a solid, dependable rock all these years, but that is not an accurate description. Knowing Lonna would be there, spring after spring, with her armada of seedlings, was more like reconnecting with a trusted, loyal old friend. Even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for months, we picked up right where we left off as if no time had gone by at all.

Every time Lonna delivered her seedlings, it felt like an invasion of little green soldiers just waiting to march off to gardens all over town (we have sold over 16,500 of her seedlings in the past 15 years!) Each tiny pot held a verdant little bundle of potential. It is really something special watching people’s eyes light up as they explore the latest seedling varieties, plucking the perfect ones to plant. My favorite part of my spring-time routine each morning in the produce department is watering Lonna’s seedlings, watching the rays of light from the sun, as it rises, filter through the drops of water, as they fall.

I’ve had dozens of people come up to me over the years to tell me how much they cherish their Lonna seedlings, how they look forward to them each year, and how no other seedlings can compare to the high quality of hers. I will do my best to find a new local seedling grower to step in and provide us with seedlings, and I understand that nothing I find will quite replace everything that made Lonna’s seedlings so special.

Thank you, Lonna, for your years of toil, dedication and care. Your hard work set a very high bar for any future seedling vendor at Wheatsfield, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the joy and wisdom you have shared with me and our cooperative community.