Our Seed Story And The Importance Of Seed Saving


My name is Amy Hamilton. Along with my husband and sons we run Appalachian Seeds. This blessed business has been under my loving care since 2011. I am a passionate advocate for maintaining the genetic integrity of our food. I believe our ancestors left us invaluable gifts in the form of seeds and, like language, they can only be kept alive and passed on to future generations by being used. It is important not only to keep the diversity of genetic heritage of crops alive, but to keep the integrity and viability of these genes alive by using the most wholesome agricultural practices available. This is why I do what I do! I love this work and pass this along to you in the form of viable, and resilient seeds and plants.

Appalachian Seeds was founded in 1998 by my friend Chip Hope. Below is his story, which is the taproot of this growing business. I hope you enjoy learning how this business came into being.

My name is Chip Hope, and I’ve been a gardener as long as I can remember. The last 30 years have been spent learning organic and sustainable methods.

I earned my M. S. degree in Plant and Environmental Science from Clemson University. It was during those years at Clemson that I became absorbed in heirloom tomatoes and seed saving!

testkitchen.jpgAfter trying many, many varieties, I decided to do some “scientific” research in the Food Science Dept. Sensory Evaluation Lab… “official” taste tests, as it were. This just led me deeper into the world of heirlooms. One of the things I’ve tried to find, is the best, most true sources for these old varieties. What an interesting world that is in itself! If it were not for those folks who believe in saving seeds we'd have lost even more than we have.

My friend and business partner, Billy Haynes and I  began experimenting with varieties, and production methods and seed saving techniques, on his farm in Flat Rock, NC in 1998. From 2004-2009, my wife Julie and I grew and saved seeds on our farm in Burnsville, NC. Starting in 2010 we began growing on Wilson Creek in Collettsville, NC...the adventure continues.  

storyprocesscups.jpgOur water comes from pure mountain wells. We use mostly on-farm resources, and compost lots of animal manure for sustainable fertilizers. Our goal is to build healthy soil for healthy tomatoes! We use appropriate isolation distances for seed saving.

Besides seed, we also sold plants regionally in Western NC. They are available from the middle of April till early June at the following locations: Hendersonville Community Coop, Hendersonville NC; Earth Fare at Westgate Shopping Center; Villagers shop in West Asheville; French Broad Food Coop; The Garden Spot in Fairview; and BB Barnes, Asheville, NC; and of course, at the Asheville Herb Festival.

storysandwich.jpgWhat a great life (…well, somebody has to do it!). As we say here on the farm...Any excuse for a ‘mater sandwich! Also, Billy hosts the Flat Rock Music Festival* every  fall, and it is Some Fun! Check it out this year.

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