6 Maine Seed Companies to Try
Johnny’s Selected Seeds display at the Common Ground Fair in Unity. Garden Spotter photo
When buying seeds for your flower or vegetable garden, it makes perfect sense to purchase them from local seed companies. After all, the seeds have probably been tested and approved for your particular zone and its many intricacies.
Where I live in Maine it is zone 6a, where average winter temperatures go as low as -5 Fahrenheit and the growing season is a short 180 days at most. High quality seeds that are suitable for the climate and conditions are essential.
Fortunately, we are lucky enough to have a number of reputable vegetable and flower seed sellers right in our own backyard, including five certified organic seed companies:
Johnny’s Selected Seeds – Johnny’s is perhaps Maine’s most recognized flower and vegetable seed brand, selling organic seed certified by the USDA and MOFGA, plus hybrid, heirloom and pelleted seed. It has fields and facilities in Albion, Fairfield and Winslow.
Fedco – Fedco is one of the few cooperative seed companies in the United States and, as such, tries to focus less on profits and more on quality product. It, too, is a certified organic seed company, specializing in cold hearty varieties and operating out of warehouses in Clinton. Fedco also sells trees, bulbs, moose tubers, and supplies.
Allen Sterling Lothrop – The oldest seed company in Maine, Allen Sterling Lothrop, first opened in 1911, is located on Rt. 1 in Falmouth, selling organic herb and vegetable seed, annual and perennial flower seed, wildflower seed and grass seed.
Pinetree Seeds – Opened in 1979, Pinetree Garden Seeds offers more than 1,300 varieties of seeds, including many heirloom and open pollinator types. The New Gloucester company says it has never sold any genetically altered seeds and never will. Some plants, bulbs, supplies and tools are also in stock.
Wood Prairie Farm – This small family farm in Bridgewater – “way up north” – sells certified organic potato seed, vegetable seed, herb seed, cover crop seed and supplies.
The Maine Potato Lady – It’s easy to guess the specialty of this Central Maine farm: certified seed. Fingerlings, onion sets, shallots and more are sold from this 100-acre farm, once part of a larger one dating to the 1600’s.