Our Seed Story And The Importance Of Seed Saving
Gabe and I purchased this business from Chip in February of 2011. We are in the process of updating the website to tell our own story, but Chip's story is beautiful and we wanted to leave it here so you can learn about the history of this company....we hope you enjoy the story of the beginning of this delightful business!
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!
After 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.
Our 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 sell 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; Jesse Israel Garden Center and BB Barnes, Asheville, NC; and of course, at the farm.
What 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.