Welcome to Silver Heights Farm's catalog of heirloom & unusual, open pollinated vegetable transplants. We grow Butterfly Bushes every year because they tickle our fancy and attract hummingbirds, butterflies, moths and other pollinators. We also grow a very rich line of culinary and medicinal herbs and several dye plants. The flowers we grow are all old-fashioned varieties difficult to find in most markets. Backyard gardeners will find these treasures are worth browsing for.
There are a few NEW selections this year that hold the promise of performing well in the Northeast, especially in the shorter, cooler summers of the Catskill region of New York. Regional and backyard differences in flavor and productivity will abound. Each year we find certain varieties of seeds are no longer commercially available and heritage vegetables disappear from the commercial market. However, demand from gardeners continues to help keep most seed varieties available commercially. We make great efforts to find rare seeds of wonderful vegetables. If one of your favorites is missing, please help us find a seed source.
Open pollinated plants are the unheralded champions of our agricultural heritage. Their amazing genetic diversity has been developed and shepherded through the centuries by families and farmers alike. Gardeners and farmers once routinely saved a seedcrop every year for the next year’s bounty. Folks selected seeds from plants that exhibited valued characteristics so that they could enjoy this year’s bounty in the following years. Saving seeds once had a recognized, valuable place in the circle of life.
Once again we are highlighting ARK plants – those that have received Slow Food's distinctive recognition for the need to preserve endangered foods and their associated economic, social and cultural heritage. ARK plants that we grow include the following: Crane Melon; Beans—Cherokee Trail of Tears, Christmas Lima, Hutterite Soup, Mayflower, True Red Cranberry, Mississippi Silver Hull Cow Pea, Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry; Lettuces—Amish Deer Tongue, Grandpa Admire’s, Speckled, Tennis Ball; Peppers—Beaver Dam, Bull Nose, Fish, Chiltepin, Hinkelhatz, Jimmy Nardello’s, Sheepnose, Wenk’s Yellow Hots; Amish Pie Pumpkin; Moon & Stars Watermelon; Boston Marrow and Sibley Winter Squashes. ARK tomatoes we grow include: Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Brandywine Sudduth’s Strain, Burbank, Chalk’s Early Jewel, Cherokee Purple, Djena Lee’s Golden Girl, German Pink, Mortgage Lifter, Orange Oxheart, Red Fig and Valencia. Go to www.SlowFoodUSA.org to learn more.
Through learning and then teaching others how to save seeds, the rapidly disappearing genetic diversity of our plants can be preserved by gardener and farmer alike. The plants offered in this catalog provide the basic growing stock for seed saving – as well as enriching our tablefare and other delights from the garden. Quite a few of these varieties have been grown for 50 or more years. These are recognized as treasured heirlooms. These are plants that were selected and bred by individuals and their families, some that entire communities maintained over the years, and some that institutions intentionally developed to meet specific needs. When an heirloom’s “story” is known, it is included in our brief description. Here you will find the names of many dedicated plant breeders and backyard gardeners, of seed companies that introduced varieties from the many corners of the world, and of seed saving organizations that strive to ensure the preservation of older breeds of plants. We are always interested in learning any details you can share with us, including your triumphs and disappointments.