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North Star Farms
P.O. Box 164
Carpio, N.D. 58725
(701) 720-2635

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Marv's Blog
Securing the seed
Written by Marv Baker   
Sunday, 23 January 2011

I probably should have done this the week after Christmas but it just so happens that I have time today to order seeds for 2011. Some of the items have already been ordered, but then there's already been a red flag.

This is the first time we've seen organic onion transplants in any catalog so I ordered some from Johnny's. Our onion crop failed last year so we decided we would try the transplants to ensure we get something of a crop this year because people don't admit it, but they like onions. 

Anyway, the catalog came the first week in January and two weeks later I ordered a variety called Red Zeppelin. A day later Johnny's fired back an email to tell me that variety has sold out. Wow! So we ordered Mercury, a similar variety, that included Walla Walla, Ebenezer and Alisa Craig, a British onion that can grow to be the size of a basketball.... so I've heard. I've never seen Alisa Craig in organic before.

We also ordered sets from Stargazer Perennials in Oregon. As you might imagine, the transplants are expensive so to circumvent going broke, we got enough transplants to ensure a crop, but ordered the bulk being sets. I still intend to get seed and get some out there  too, especially our favorite red onion, Rossa di Milano.

While scouring the catalogs last week, I ran across a variety of tomato called "Manitoba" in the Territorial Seed catalog. This has been a popular slicer here on the northern Great Plains but has never before been offered in organic. Should be a great producer since Manitoba and North Dakota climates are nearly identical. 

At a health and wellness fair in Minot on Saturday, one person expressed an interest in signing up for our CSA, but requested that we grow rapeseed. I've never seen it available before in the United States, although it is grown at the International Peace Garden for demonstration. It's popular in Sweden and parts of Canada. It may be a challenge finding it. 

This is always a fun time of year in ordering the products, but paying the bill is another matter. North Star Farms has grown so much in the six years we've been in business that the cost for seed this season will exceed our entire sales from 2005. it's really an amazing thing, people want fresh, they want local and they want organic.

I think we got into the right business at the right time. Unfortunately, it will take me the rest of the weekend to get the seeds ordered that will include something unusual like every other year. 

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