As I upload our 2020-2021 inventory several points are worth addressing. The first is availability of quite a few varieties reflects the fact that our 2019 growing season was beyond challenging – yields were not as expected, to the point of total failure for some. This meant reduced quantities for seed stock for the 2020 season. And then along came a virus, microscopic yet huge, and as late winter / early spring 2020 progressed it became clear to us that our nation's food supply chains were unraveling. We chose to shift our growing focus to strengthening our family's food security. The “to plant” list was revised and varieties grown more for preservation purposes were kept in storage in favor of those I wouldn't mind eating if needed. (Though not nearly as dramatic, thoughts of the story of the scientists of Leningrad's Institute of Plant Industry that died of starvation during the Siege rather than eat the seeds entrusted to their preservation, came to mind.) In addition to adjusting to the pandemic induced lifestyle changes that included Scott's 9 week assignment to Kokomo, Indiana to work on GM's Project V ventilator project during prime spring planting (April and May), Mother Nature continually delighted in testing our resolve in handling pilferage by our wild neighbors throughout the season. And we can't forget July's scorching heat or September's early frost. Needless to say, availability of some varieties after this fall's harvest are impacted.
A second point of reflection is the focus of Great Lakes Staple Seeds is evolving. While we never intended to offer “everything for everybody”, COVID-19 sharpens our focus on staple crops for our Great Lakes bio-region that enhance homestead self-reliance. While I freely admit to a “pretty bean” addiction, as well as a hearty appreciation of an enthralling seed story, family food security is of greater relevance. Our seeds come directly from what we grow to feed ourselves and we will continue to grow everything we sell. This means prioritization in allocation of growing space will favor staple crop varieties with ties to the Great Lakes. Also, as these past few seasons have demonstrated shifting and unpredictable weather conditions, we will expand our inclusion of landrace and grex varieties in our plantings to better meet Mother Nature's challenges. Varieties that are grown more “because they are pretty” will go into a rotated growing schedule.
So what does this mean? Quantities are fixed. We aren't distributors of bulk seed able to restock. If 2021 brings the same level of frenzy to the seed supply, I anticipate selling out of quite a few varieties. If a particular variety interests you, I suggest not delaying.