Every year at the end of December when the weather is cold and the gardens have been put to rest, our spring catalog starts appearing in mailboxes. People (us included) are then able to start planning their spring! We love hearing from people and how excited they are to receive our catalog because it gives them something to look forward to. So, we would like to give you a look at this year's catalog to tide you over until it hits mailboxes (in just a few short weeks!).
- The owner's letter:
In each catalog, owner, Tom Johns writes a letter to all of you; the gardeners who flip through our catalog year after year, the nursery owners, commercial growers, and to any of you who are picking up our catalog for the first time. If you've never checked out Tom's letters before, this is a great one to learn a little about Territorial's approach to growing crops—starting from the soil up.
Terroir of Soil
Artisan Cultivation Practices Grow the Best Tasting Vegetables
Artisan Cultivation Practices Grow the Best Tasting Vegetables
Terroir, pronounced [ter-wahr; French ter-war] literally refers to the character of the soil.Regardless of whether you are an enthusiastic home gardener or a small scale commercial grower, the terroir of your soil greatly effects how your vegetables will taste. People actively involved in the farm-to-table movement understand that artisan cultivation practices like organic and biodynamic farming, where growers pay attention to the health and biodiversity of the soil results in the very best tasting vegetables. The health of the soil from which the vegetables are grown imparts a unique quality and flavor that is specific to the growing site or plants' habitat.
The extent of terroir’s significance is debated vigorously in the wine industry, where soil health dictates the flavor and quality of the grapes. In the oyster industry, terroir effects the flavor of an oyster just as much as it does the flavor of a grape in the wine industry. Here terroir refers to the characteristics of the water rather than the soil. Oysters take on the exact same salt level of the water they are in. Flavors come from the individual estuaries they are grown, some have more fresh water, some have more mud flats, others are grown suspended in water — all different environments that contribute to the flavor of the oyster. You commonly see oysters marketed using their terroir, usually stated by which bay they were grown in.
The same is true for a vegetable’s soil environment. Is the produce deliciously sweet or rather bland and briny? Executive chefs definitely know the flavor difference and they develop their own list of qualities they desire for their creations, and terroir affects these. This is why they covet close relationships with local organic growers who understand the terroir of their soil. Treating vegetables like they do grass-fed beef and wild fish, they have come to understand that food grown sustainably on healthy soils provide them the most flavorful vegetables that their customers deserve.
Following this logic, shouldn’t the source of the seed for which this circle begins also use artisan cultivation practices to find the best varieties under these conditions?
At Territorial, all of our land race breeding work, all of our own-seed growing fields, and all the seed varieties we test for possible inclusion into our catalog must pass a test of top performance under these same artisan cultivation practices. We hold ourselves to these same high standards, not because we have to, but because we believe in them. We are farmers too, and we have seen the positive results that come with feeding the soil first. We invite you to become a Facebook friend, follow the seasons with us, and see our on-farm programs for growing healthy soil. You’ll see and learn how we utilize composting, cover cropping, compost tea brewing, vermiculture, and much more. As a testament to our continued commitment to organic agriculture, our own London Spring Farms is distinctively dual certified—not only USDA organic, but it also has obtained the highest, most respected degree of certification worldwide, the Demeter Quality Biodynamic certification. If you choose to grow our seed, you can be assured they’ve been grown and carefully selected for their utmost flavor and overall performance under the same artisan cultivation practices.
Tom and Julie Johns,Active owners and partners
Territorial Seed Company
- Some new layouts:
You'll notice that some of the pages are organized a little differently this year. We've laid out the page in a way where you can see all of the photos together, allowing you to easily compare products. The new layout also allowed us more room to put a photo for a product on the page if in previous years there was no photo.
- Improved photos:
There are a lot of updated photos in this edition, as well. We try to photograph our products to not only show the crop, but to tell the garden-to-plate story.
|MacGregor's Favorite Beet in the 2015 spring catalog.|
|The new photo of MacGregor's Favorite displays the beautiful greens. This is a beet that is often grown for it's greens, so it makes sense that we show them off!|
|Vegetable Spaghetti Squash in the 2015 spring catalog.|
|The new photo of Vegetable Spaghetti displays not only the squash, but how you can prepare and serve it!|
- New font and the Old Favorites:
Our Old Favorites section has a new look and a new name. Within the tomato and pepper sections, you'll see the new Classics categories. These varieties are only available as seed, and you can find complete information and photos on our website.
You may also notice that the entire catalog has been redone with a new and improved font. We find it much easier to read, and we hope that you do too!
- New products:
The Heirloom Marriage ™ Series—Last year we offered Heirloom Marriage™ Big Brandy which is a child of two heirlooms: Brandywine and Big Dwarf. This year we are expanding the series with two new additions:
Heirloom Marriage™ Perfect Flame: (F1) 65–70 days. The first to ripen in the Heirloom Marriage™ Series, this exquisite saladette is the hybrid offspring of Peron and the French heirloom, Flamme. The perfectly blemish-free fruit are luminous orange with a full flavor that’s a delightful balance of sweet and sour. Strong, productive indeterminate plants.
Heirloom Marriage™ Genuwine: (F1) 70–75 days. These luscious, ruby-red slicers are the result of a cross of Brandywine and Costoluto Genovese, two of our most
Other new products:
Butterfly Milkweed: (P) Help rebuild the Monarch butterfly’s habitat with this showy, easy-to-grow plant. As the host of choice for this delicate insect, its leaves are the singular food source to the Monarch larvae. The Butterfly milkweed’s bright orange-hued blooms are a rich source of pollen and nectar, attracting hummingbirds, bees and other beneficial insects. Widespread and well-adapted, it is native to all but 6 of the contiguous 48 states. Plant this long-lived perennial, and the true kings of the sky can consider your garden home. Hardy in zones 3–9.Reno Acorn Squash: (F1) 75 days. If you don’t have enough room to plant a winter squash, think again. Reno offers all the goodness of a traditional acorn squash on a single-stemmed, bushy plant that’s respectful of your garden space. These dark green fruit reach 5 inches across and 1 ½ pounds apiece with very refined, golden flesh that’s flavorful and sweet.
Nigella Sativa: (A) At first glance this may appear to be the unassuming, old fashioned cottage flower, Love-in-a-Mist, but this species has a powerful twist. It’s also known as Black Seed, Black Cumin, Fennel Flower, and other misleading names, as it is neither cumin nor fennel. Its seeds are used in Eastern dishes for adding a bracing zest as well as medicinally for treating a laundry list of maladies. These undemanding plants will reach 8-10 inches tall with a very similar look to its Love-in-a-Mist cousin. Once the balloon-shaped seed pods mature, you can collect the seed for grinding as a seasoning or extracting the delicious oil.
Hampton Lettuce: (OP) 45–50 days. A premier example of the latest innovations in lettuce breeding, Hampton forms big, densely packed plants with deep green, ruffled, oak-shaped leaves that are all equally sized. With just a single cut, you can harvest heaps of these uniformly sized greens. Vigorous, disease-resistant plants are very productive and slow to bolt.Nectar Carrot: (F1) 72 days. Impressive in so many ways, this Nantes type carrot excelled in our trials with top-notch germination, vigor, yield, eating quality and storability. Planted in spring, Nectar produced an impeccably uniform crop of 7–8 inch long, cigar-shaped, orange roots with smooth skin and fine-grained, sweet, tender flesh. In our field-holding test the crop retained its superior eating quality well into autumn. Tall, 10–11 inch tops provide a strong handle for easy harvest.
Look for our 2016 spring catalog in mailboxes during the last week of December. We hope you all are as excited as we are for it to come out!