About the Farm
Con Semilla Seeds are grown at one of three locations in Goleta, CA, a town known for lemons and aerospace engineering firms. Tucked somewhere in between, our gardens lie between 1-2 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which is responsible for our mild climate. Our soils vary from adobe clay to silty loam, but the majority is of the clay variety.
The farm was started when we outgrew the backyard and became serious about growing seed! Having three locations allows us isolate pollen from varieties that might otherwise cross, such as our pop corn and sweet corn.
The farmers here are Jesse Hersh and Heather Hartley. Jesse has been working as a horticulturalist since 2006 and a garden educator since 2010. He's been growing and saving seeds since 2009. His first crop was Fava beans and he loves them to this day. Heather is also a serious plant nerd, locavore, and food activist, who co-founded the Sol Food Festival in Santa Barbara, CA.
Our Commitment to Quality Seed
We only sell our best performers and are on a constant mission to improve our offerings. Isolation distances are determined on a species by species basis and are in accordance with current standards. We are not faint of heart and liberally "rogue" (remove from gene pool) plants that bolt early, are susceptible to disease/insect damage, or as John Navazio said, ones that "look at you funny."
Our Growing Practices
We are devoted to organic farming practices for many reasons. Soil and human health are interdependent and it is our hope to steward both thru our practices. The only weed killers we use are hoes, shovels, and hori-hori's. We fertilize mostly with horse manure and supplement with certified organic products. Organic, open-pollinated seed is important because it's where we can build an open-source alternative to high-input industrial agriculture.
Our Seed Farming Experience
I grow seed crops because it seems like the perfect handshake with the plant world. I am also very interested in biodiversity and adapting food crops to changing environments.
I learned to save seeds from personal experience and filled in the details from a handful of mentors/workshops including: Don Tipping at Seven Seeds, Bill McDorman at Native Seed Search/Seed School, and John Navazio formerly of the Organic Seed Alliance. I have ongoing dialogue with more knowledgeable farmers as I go. There is no end to the learning in this "field."
We select for general vigor, disease resistance, drought tolerance, and flavor. We only sell seed from our best performers. We encourage traits favorable to the condition of the home gardener: long harvest season, and an ability to thrive under low water, low input conditions.
Situated so close to the Pacific, our seeds are selected to handle the fluctuation between cool foggy summers and hot/dry conditions.