Seeds Transported Through American History
Farmers in the young United States transported big seeds in muslim or burlap bags. Little seeds were not as easy to transport. They were carried hand to hand. In 1789 The Shakers invented the seed packets. The following year D. Landreth Seed Company sealed the packet with glue. A complete packet of paper seeds cost one cent, a half cent for a half a packet. Sixty some years later the Dexter Mason Ferry Seed Company invented the seed packet display box made out of walnut or chesnut with little drawers and accompanying name plates.
David Landreth, founder of the D. Landreth Seed Company addressed the needs of the immigrants pioneering West without a farming background. In 1847 he changed his seed catalog. It became a source not only of the type of seeds available but was also an almanac, a rural register, 40-50 pages long. He wanted these pioneers to understand not only how to grow his seeds but also to understand the young country they were making a stake in – the president’s cabinet, the geo-political atmosphere of the United States and its neighbors.
The past two years there has been a boom of seed sales. The growth can be attributed to the scare of salmonella in spinach, lettuce and tomatoes, says Barbara Melera, owner of the D. Landreth Seed Company. “Then the recession turned people to their gardens for their vegetables and fruits. Large orders were for potatoes, beans, beets, rutabagas, turnips and corn, the staples, with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants a bit more exotic,” Melera pointed out. The D. Landreth Seed Company is celebrating it 225th anniversary of service to America’s Farmers and Gardeners with a Commemorative Catalog. Heirloom seed orders are taken from the United States and abroad.
Excerpted from the Commemorative Catalog: “An Echo From the North Pole” “Visit of two of (the Philadelphia Record) correspondents to Alaska. They found that Landreths’ Seeds cut a figure in that far-away country.” “Upon arriving at Sitka, nearly 5000 miles away from Philadelphia, The Record men strolled along Lincoln Street, which is Sitka’s only business thoroughfare, and read on one of the most prominent signs in that place that Landreths’ Extra Early peas were on sale within.” August 25, 1891