“I freaked out and bought a bunch of heirloom seeds. They’ll be here in a few days.” I told my perplexed wife, who, although well-intentioned, does not have a good track record with plants. She asked the obvious: “Why did you freak out?,” and, “What’s an heirloom seed?”
The freakout started when I realized just how dependent my family and I are on the supermarket and the national supply chain. The 2020 shutdowns and disruptions have had a ripple effect that will take time to fully understand. It caused processing plants to shut down and farmers to dump thousands of pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to restaurants and businesses that were affected by the nationwide COVID shutdown. My own company, Neural Balance, was even backordered for a time on our product while we worked out supply chain issues and provided for additional safety measures.
My freak out peaked when I realized that if farmers and food distributors could not survive or stay in business to grow and distribute crops, it would be entirely up to me to feed my family. Toilet paper we could learn to live without. Food was another story. After all, how much-canned food and puddin’ can one family hoard?
It made me think of the promise and the power of the seed. Consider the tiny mustard seed. Matthew 13:31-32 says “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
In this precious stage of life, what is now much smaller than a Tic-Tac might one day be a mighty tree providing shelter and life to an abundance of living creatures or, it might be an Old Colossus Heirloom Tomato weighing in at nearly two pounds and becoming part of a tomato bisque soup to be enjoyed by your family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Some of these seeds will even burst forth with herbs and plants such as the beautiful passionflower, the cornerstone of our patented herbal/mineral/vitamin blend, Anandanol.
I received my package a few days later and was surprised to find that 50,000 assorted heirloom seeds and a packet of instructions all fit in a medium-sized padded envelope. And again, I was struck by the fact that these tiny seeds had the potential to feed my family and many of my neighbors for generations to come. This leads me to my wife’s second question… “What’s an heirloom seed?”
Heirloom seeds are a glimpse back into history, the result of generations of faithful farmers who passed down seeds from generation to generation. Heirloom seeds are non-GMO, non-hybrid, and have been time tested to offer great taste and resilience. And, while seeds harvested from most of the fruits and vegetables available in your typical grocery store may not produce and certainly will not produce consistently, heirloom seeds are quite the opposite. Plants grown from heirloom seeds will produce consistent yields, you may harvest seeds from the plants you grow and, if properly cleaned, dried, and prepared, those seeds can be used the following season or stored for future use.
Some companies who sell heirloom seeds even offer variety packs that contain seeds that are suited for your region. As we are in hot and humid Florida, one of my choices included the “Arkansas Traveler,” a tomato known to thrive in areas that other tomatoes would find too harsh.
From the simple seed to the mighty tree to the tasty fruit, we are reminded that all life, in all stages, is precious and has potential.
Proper depth, temperature, and water are all it takes to awaken these small, dried miracles and cause their potential to begin to burst forth. Keeping them alive and causing them to flourish is a whole different conversation. Hopefully, I will be back next year with updates and baskets that overflow!
Gabriel Williams is CEO of Spectrum Research Group. An 18-year veteran of the natural products industry, Gabe is a husband, father, and purveyor of unsolicited advice.