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don’t forget to look in your own backyard!
I was teaching my gardening class a few weeks ago for our town’s Parks and Rec department. The topic was “Banishing the Winter Blues, Dusting Off Your Green Thumb.” During the course of the evening, we talked about the various mail order seed companies. One student interjected, what about Comstock Ferre and Company? Wow, that was a major “Duh” moment. After lecturing about the importance of local eating and growing, how could I forget a treasure like the venerable (since 1811) local seed company in our own backyard. I’ve included a few pictures below from my visit yesterday, but my point here is to remind all to check for local resources and support them! Wherever you live, look around — ask around — Google around. What’s in your own backyard? Who are your neighbors who are producing and selling what you need.
Comstock, Ferre & Co.
For those of you who are not from Connecticut, or who may not have heard of Comstock, this seed company was started over 200 years ago. It’s located in historic Old Wethersfield and is worth the visit even if all you do is look around and take in its Colonial ambiance. There are wonderful wide pine floors, wooden bins, and drawers full of seed packets and seed growing accessories, foods and crafts, and more. There’s a whole room full of antique equipment. Here are a few glimpses of what you’ll find.
and classes, too
Check out their website for their listing of spring classes. As a community service, nearly every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. they have a garden/food-related class. Topics are quite diverse and include themes such as organic gardening, spring greens, kitchen knives, lawn care, and more. And most classes are free! I went to one yesterday that they did in conjunction with Wind Hill Community Garden. Randel Agrella, Comstock’s very knowledgeable general manager, discussed “Everything You Wanted to Know about Seeds.” It was great! Learned lots about heirloom seeds, seed starting, seed savings, and general gardening. He pointed out that with the right conditions (cool and dry) most seeds can easily last three years or more.
In the summer (August 4th) I’ll be doing a canning class there at 1:00 p.m. Be sure to come!
red raspberry jam
Yes folks, there’s still time to learn about canning while making red raspberry jam. Check out the updated class schedule for details about the class scheduled for November 10, 2012.
new classes for 2013
I’ve partnered with the Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Department and the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension Service to develop a lecture/workshop series entitled, Glastonbury Grown: Gardening and Eating Locally. Here’s the series description from the Parks and Rec catalog :Eating locally and sustainably is a theme that has grown in importance in the United States since its beginnings in Alice Waters’s kitchen in Berkeley. How do we accomplish this in Glastonbury with our cooler climate and our all-too-busy lives? This new program offers six one-night presentations that explore ways to take ownership of the food you grow or buy, eat, and serve to your families; it includes a mix of sustainable gardening and local food topics. The series has been developed by long-time resident, locavore, and author Jackie Callahan Parente in conjunction with the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System.
Check out the Classes page for more information. The Parks and Rec Department will handle registration for these classes.