Well the 2016 season has been pretty good! I had to buy a new camera as the old one finally kicked the bucket. So I got a new one that can take good outdoor photos and amazing close ups, as you can see above. A good camera can really make a difference.
The one day plant sale that I hold in late May has really taken off, many returning customers and new faces too. It is nice to see all the extra seedlings go to good homes.
It was fairly dry this spring which is no big deal, but this summer was above average hot, and then there was no rain. It was the most severe drought in 75 years. Trying to keep the plants happy was tough. Out at the farm where I grow my beans, the water tanks almost went dry.
He thankfully did get a rainfall when we did not or the beans would have suffered terribly as they didn’t do so well last year as the watering system was not set up. He put together a drip line system and it worked wonderfully. So the beans survived well, produced, and no animals ravaged them! After two bad bean years, I am so thankful.
So the tomatoes toughed it out. As you may know if they get good roots down, they are fairly drought tolerant. A few varieties pouted in the heat and didn’t make much fruit, but most were ok. We finally got rain heading into fall so all the late fruit got all kinds of cracks on them, but there’s nothing you can do, an I’m not trying to win beauty contests, only good tasting tomatoes. The bird attacks though, oh my! I had to pull out all the bird netting I used a few years back when we had a summer drought. I was dumb and not proactive so some of my tomatoes got feasted on. I found out that birds have good taste and like to eat my favorites like Stump of the World and Santa Maria, sigh.
The 10th annual Buffalo~Niagara TasteFest was a big success!
There were lots of tomato lover young and old. My internet forum friend Karen Golden owner of Michigan Heirlooms drove out to the party! The best tomato overall this year was Mexico. Sweetest was Sweet Aperitif, and Tangiest was Lemon Drop. If you plan to be in the WNY area(Buffalo/Niagara Falls) at the end of summer, make sure to see if the party is happening while you’re here.
…………….Sample Seed Shop table at the World On Your Plate Conference………….
I did a lot of talks this year. I spoke at Plantasia, WNY’s spring garden show, about heirloom vegetables. I did a few talks at the North Tonawanda library including one on seed starting where everyone went home with some starter packs planted. Oh and just last month, I did a talk on Heirloom Beans at the World on Your Plate conference at Daemen College.
Also how could I forget we had a tent at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania in Sept.! It was quite the weekend, lot of work, but we had a good time and a few customers but met lots of potential new customers. The questions of the weekend were “Where are you from?” (Buffalo of course) and “Are your seed organic?” (Yes, but not certified) We kept it fun with our outfits. If you haven’t seen the tomato shirt before…
As usual we also took the yearly trek to Berea, KY for Bill Best’s Seed Swap. It is like a family reunion now, but there’s always new faces too. I love welcoming atmosphere there, and even though I have thousands of varieties of seeds, I always find new and interesting ones there. The swap is always held the first Sat. in Oct. every year so mark it on your calendar for 2017, Oct. 7th.
Oh and lastly, I drove out to Apalachin, NY last week to meet Lisa Bloodnick of Bloodnick Family Farm to see a screening of Seed The Untold Story. Some of you from FaceBook may remember The Sample Seed Shop made a large donation to help get the movie made. Here’s the trailer, Click Here It was well made, and much was discussed about the loss of varieties which we here and other small companies work to grow and promote heirlooms. I’m going to try to put together a showing in Buffalo in late winter/early spring. Hopefully this works out and sets the tone for 2017 as great year!
If you made it this far through my drivel, thank you.