On Saturday, March 16, the Westport Winter Farmers’ Market will say goodbye to its temporary winter home at Gilbertie’s Herbs and Garden Center with a free seed exchange. This exchange of seeds at the close of winter and onset of spring is both symbolic and significant.
“Collecting, sharing, and growing seeds saved by our very own shoppers, farmers, and vendors – especially heirloom varieties – involves the community personally in the promotion of local food and flora,” said Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of the WFM. “Every year we take a break from March to May to allow our farmers to prep for a new season; this exchange of seeds on the last day of the winter market represents that transition and our focus on growth for the warmer months to come.”
The public is invited to bring seeds they have saved from their own gardens or simply take home a few saved by others. Farah Marsini, WFM corporate sponsor and WFM farmers will donate seeds from their favorite crops for the community to try at home. All seeds except those of invasive species* are welcome, however, the market is encouraging people to bring and take home heirloom or organic varieties.
“Heirloom seeds are critical to reclaiming of our food system,” continued Cochran-Dougall. “These are open-pollinated plants that have been passed down from generation to generation without human intervention or manipulation. They taste better, are more nutritious, and help protect plant diversity.”
The seed exchange will run from 10 to 2 (or until all seeds are shared) Saturday, March 16 at Gilbertie’s, 7 Sylvan Avenue, Westport. Marsini will be on hand to informally discuss the importance of seed saving. Adult beverages and music will be provided.
*For a list of plants considered invasive in Connecticut, please visit the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group at UConn here: https://cipwg.uconn.edu/invasive_plant_list/#