Chesterfield Historical Society launchs heirloom seed exchange

On February 2, the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia (CHSV) will launch the CHSV Heirloom Seed Exchange, a seed lending program to preserve and promote open pollinated plant varieties with heritage and flavor that have stood the test of time. The launch will take place 10:00am-2:00pm at historic Castlewood, home of CHSV’s research library located at 10201 Iron Bridge Road, on the corner of Krause Road in Chesterfield.

According to Patty Watts, CHSV volunteer and chairman of the new Heirloom Seed Exchange, “Growing and saving heirloom seed helps preserve a piece of history, it helps preserve favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that our grandparents grew but are hard to find nowadays.” She adds, “Homegrown produce tastes great, its nutritional value nourishes body and soul.”

Annual membership in the CHSV Heirloom Seed Exchange is $5 which includes a selection of ten free packets of seeds with the understanding that, at the end of the growing season, members will return double the amount of seeds they borrow.  Ms. Watts explains, “Our Seed Exchange relies on membership to support the organization and to help sustain the diversity of heirlooms in our seed library. Our current seed inventory approaches 2,000 packets, including more than 1,000 packets of vegetables and fruits, almost 600 packets of flower seeds and close to 300 packets of herb seeds. We offer 37 different varieties of tomato, two dozen different varieties of lettuce and greens, 24 different peppers and more. There is something for everyone.”

Following the launch on February 2, the CHSV Heirloom Seed Exchange will be open at historic Castlewood every Thursday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Feb. - May, or until the seed supply is depleted).  In addition, the Seed Exchange will offer seminars throughout 2012 on planning a garden, how to produce homegrown food and how to encourage kids to eat their vegetables,  also the basics of canning and jam making as well as seed saving and drying.  These seminars will be open to the public; seminar fees will benefit CHSV in its preservation efforts.  For more information, please call 768-0616 or click on www.chesterfieldhistory.com

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