Petra Page-Mann & Matthew Goldfarb, Fruition Seeds
Fruition Seeds, an organic seed company located in northern New York state, was founded in 2012 with a vision to revitalize the organic seed supply in the Northeast− a region not typically known for seed-growing. Fruition co-founders and farmers Petra Page-Mann and Matthew Goldfarb are committed to bucking this trend, by selecting open-pollinated cultivars to perform well in organic growing conditions specific to the short, cool, moist growing seasons of the north.
Customizing Organic Seed for the Northeast
Fruition Seeds is more than a distributor of organic seed. Goldfarb and Page-Mann are dedicated to a new direction for Northeast seed and are leading the way with their focus on crop improvements strategies. Goldfarb says the best way to ensure resilient food systems is to have varieties that are better adapted to climate, pest and disease.
The pair produces more than 60 seed crops on 5 acres of leased land in Naples and Branchport, NY, selecting varieties for field performance and vigor in organic growing conditions while doing extensive rouging for specific traits and improvements. Goldfarb refers to this process as “production work with a stock quality mindset.”
Fruition rounds out the diverse selection of seed offered through their online-only catalog by including seed sourced through a network of certified organic seed growers in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Montreal.
“More of us need to be involved in the seed system,” says Page-Mann. Market growers are already involved according to Fruition.
Fruition Seeds works with other market vegetable growers within a 60-mile radius, dubbed “collaborator farms,” in breeding partnerships designed to adapt Northeast-suited varieties for particular market needs like an early maturing, crack-resistant tomato. Goldfarb says, “This relationship allows us to be super responsive to what growers need and can’t get. It gives us a seed company insight into growers’ needs that we wouldn’t see otherwise.”
“Collaborator chefs” work with Fruition in an effort to make crop improvements tailored to the tastes of the Northeast, preserving regional food identity and cuisine.
Building a diversity of stakeholders in a regional seed system will lend to increased resilience. They envision this seed network growing to include schools, home gardeners, public institutions, and land grant universities.
Goldfarb says education is one part of this equation. Page-Mann adds that inspiration is another.
For this, she looks to the seeds themselves. Noting that a single seed can generate thousands of offspring, Page-Mann says that seeds are an “unbelievably optimistic source of change in the world.”
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