Community Philosphy Blog and Library

HOMEGROWN Road Trip – Part 1. Petaluma Heirloom Seed Bank.

The product of the Hands-on Sauerkraut workshop in The HOMEGROWN Village at Maker Faire Bay Area

The product of the "Hands-on Sauerkraut" workshop in The HOMEGROWN Village at Maker Faire Bay Area

Well, we took off after Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 with full minds and bellies and headed for reaches north. San Francisco itself offers so many incredible things, some of which were represented in The HOMEGROWN Village. Ritual Coffee Roasters are a super friendly group of coffee freaks who we hope will continue to expand their caffeinated reach. We so enjoyed the final presentation of the day from K. Ruby Blume. She reminded us that her tight-knit Oakland community of urban homesteaders is what makes the struggles with quirky weather and bureaucrats worth it.

One place that we didn’t get to visit, but that I wanted to mention here is Oakland’s People’s Grocery Health and Nutrition Demonstrators Program. It’s staggering how little cooking and once-called “home economics” skills are taught these days, and these folks are helping turn that around. Do you know of a program like this that teaches nutrition and cooking in your area schools and institutions? I’d love to hear about it!

After fueling up on the heavenly triple cream MT TAM cheese from Cowgirl Creamery – smeared on a sourdough bread that can only be found in these parts, our first stop was The Petaluma Heirloom Seed Bank in Petaluma. Whoa…seeds. More seeds than you can imagine. They’re planning a giant Heirloom Seed Exposition in September 2011, so stay tuned for more information on that. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company took over this old bank building (har!) and designed it as a retail store / resource center / all-round shrine to growing.

There were whole rows of heirloom tomato varieties!

The folks that run the place were so hospitable and kind. They loaded up our already hefty seed haul with some other varieties to try: Purple plum radish, Mongogo Du Guatemala squash, Early White Vienna Kohrabi…amazing.

We’d like to share the love, so leave a comment about your favorite heirloom seeds and one of you will receive a goodie package in a few weeks. Some more photos here and on Flickr:

Next up: The northern California coast.

Tags: , , ,

11 Responses to “HOMEGROWN Road Trip – Part 1. Petaluma Heirloom Seed Bank.”

  1. Hi Cornelia–

    Great post! Hope all’s well on the West Coast.

    See you soon,


  2. Isn’t the Seed Bank awesome!?! My girlfriends and I take a Wine Country road trip every year with the Seed Bank in Petaluma being the end destination …so much fun! My favorite Heirloom Seed has to be Austrailian Butter Squash…beautiful and prolific…great keeper…I still have 2 left from last season’s harvest. I bought my seeds from Jere…happened to be at the Petaluma store when we visited last year.

  3. My favorite heirloom seeds are 5 color silverbeet. The amazing colors are radiant in the garden.

  4. mikelikespike Says:

    Any type of heirloom tomatoes are tasty….yummy…yummy…

  5. I LOVE the Seed Bank! We go there to get pretty much all of our seeds.

  6. I love the green zebra tomatoes and I LOVE Baker Creek (that catalog is garden porn LOL)

  7. Heirlom=Scrumptious! I try alot of different tomotoes…..oh, and watermelons!
    Something about just knowing that you are NOT eating a hybrid!!

  8. Cornelia,

    I’m working with a small non-profit organization near Seattle called School of the Lost Arts, and one of our goals is to revitalize sustainable living skills in the culinary, agricultural and traditional arts. We offer classes and camps at a farm for children through adults in cooking skills, nutrition, gardening, agriculture and more. Check us out at

    There is another organization near us that is working directly with 5th grade classes on nutritional eating and cooking called KidsCook, that is fantastic. Their website is

  9. […] their organic ice cream mix from Straus Creamery in Point Reyes – the same source of dairy for Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, which we enjoy whenever we’re in the Bay Area. There are fresh flowers everywhere, […]

  10. r.robinson Says:

    Love trying heirloom tomatoes, beans, potatoes and winter squashes/pumpkins. Hubby loves trying different salad greens & radishes. Our 10-yr-old loves snow & snap peas and broccoli. I have little space so I can only try a couple each year – keeps everything exciting!!

  11. We have a winner!!! Diana, your love of Baker Creek is about to get stronger and go deeper. Please send me your mailing address, and I’ll put together a package of assorted heirloom seeds that we picked up there. Please let us know how they grow!!
    email: cornelia at FarmAid dot org

Leave a Reply