CRESCENT, Iowa — For vegetable farmer Terry Troxel, saving some crop seeds has become a way to both preserve unique varieties of plants and add to her farm’s income.
“It’s really nice to get a check in January for seeds,” says Terry, who operates Iowana Farm near Crescent in the Iowa Loess Hills. “It’s like egg money, but better.”
Iowana Farm includes 66 acres, of which 20 acres are under cultivation – 6.5 acres in certified organic vegetables and the rest in alfalfa hay. Terry raises crops in three high tunnels and in-field low tunnels to support a 60-member CSA, wholesale and restaurant sales, and her stand at the Village Pointe and Rockbrook Village farmers markets.
Formerly a casual seed-saver, Terry now saves several varieties of tomato and pepper seed for High Mowing Organic Seed Company, based in Vermont. She will share her experience with the seed-saving process at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day she is hosting on Thursday, July 26, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., on her farm near Crescent (17652 Badger Ave., on the eastern outskirts of town).
The event – “Terry’s Techniques: Seed-Saving and Cultivation Equipment” – is free to attend and will include a light dinner following the field day. RSVPs are requested for the meal to Debra Boekholder, firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 232-5661, by Monday, July 23. The field day is sponsored by Organic Crop Improvement Association International’s Chapter 1 of Iowa.
During the field day, Terry will share how the seed-saving process works, and explain the technique for saving seeds from tomato and pepper plants. She will discuss saving seed as a farm enterprise, and variety selection for seed-saving.
“To preserve heirloom varieties, we need many farms to save only one or two varieties with sufficient buffers between them,” she says, “not a few farms saving many varieties too close together.”
Terry will also do a demonstration with several types of small, modified cultivator tractors she uses on her vegetable crops – including an Allis Chalmers G tractor, and modified mowers she uses for cultivation.
Directions: Iowana Farm is 6 miles north of Omaha, just east of the town of Crescent, Iowa. From I-29, take Exit 61A toward Crescent / Pottawattamie County and head east on Old Mormon Bridge Road for 2 miles until the road dead-ends at Old Lincoln Highway. Turn left (north) and go about 0.2 mile into the town of Crescent. Turn right (east) on Badger Avenue / E. Welch Street; the farm is 0.75 mile, on the left.
Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa
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