Hawthorn Farm Organic Seed of Palmertston had whole racks devoted to the cult of the heirloom tomato. The newly minted Hamilton Seed Library Network was there to spread the news about sharing seeds. They want to make it as easy as checking a book out of the library.
At the Matchbox Garden & Seed Company display (), Hanna Jacobs fielded questions about everything from beans to watermelon. Matchbox is a nice little discovery, Jacobs and her husband Jason Inniss set up shop on Highway 54 near Caledonia last year.
“We found our farm on Kijiji,” Jacobs says, still almost in awe of their good luck. “We looked east of Toronto, and towards Guelph, but the real estate agent was always steering us toward places we couldn’t afford.”
Their compact two-acre spread has some of that famous Haldimand clay which Jacobs says she improves by adding composted horse manure and green cover crops such as clover. “We also heavily rotate our crops,” she says.
The move to Caledonia from the Queen West area of Toronto has been a revelation, from meeting the helpful farmers next door, to seeing the growing support from the community. At the farm, Jacobs grows over 120 varieties of organic, open pollinated (pollinated by insects, birds and wind) heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers. She sells both seeds and seedlings. She also delivers seasonal produce to local restaurants, runs a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program, and sells produce from the farm. Inniss, a chef, teaches at George Brown College and runs James Inniss Catering. “The farm is my baby,” Jacobs says. “While I can get him to help me build things and sometimes harvest, it’s all mine.”
In all Jacobs will take her seeds to 15 Seedy Saturdays. The Hamilton event was a good one. “It went well, Detroit Dark Red Beets and Gold Medal Tomato were very popular. I also sold a lot of bush beans and carrots. People are always asking about the different coloured varieties.” For gardeners who prefer to start their herb and vegetable gardens with plants, Jacobs has a seedling sale at Matchbox Garden & Seed Company on May 23rd and 24th at the farm from 10 am to 4pm, at 1350 Highway 54, Caledonia.