Monday, June 23, 2014

"I Love My Truck"

I assume many of you are familiar with the country song, "I Love My Truck". If a song can be written about loving one's truck, then I believe I can write one about my job. Being in the seed business all these years certainly has returned significant rewards to me. I have been fortunate to gain many friendships throughout my tenure with Harris Seeds. I have come to personally know plant breeders, seed managers and growers large and small across this great land, and I clearly treasure these relationships. My co-workers are a mighty fine bunch of people as well.

One of my favorite responsibilities in the seed business has begun, and will continue through the summer and fall months. It is widely known as flower and vegetable trials. Occasionally I travel to California to attend the greatest flower show on earth…Spring Trials, formally known as Pack Trials. I have not attended in a couple of years, but recall that in the past it was always a spectacular event.

At our facility in Rochester, NY, we have been noting early greens and radishes. Mark Willis, our vegetable seed manager, has put together a new oriental greens mix that is outstanding for flavor and color. We have looked at new radish entries in our high tunnel, and some will most likely hit our catalog this fall. Also in our high tunnel we have our "grafted" trial for cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. The tomatoes and peppers are setting fruit and we have picked cucumbers already. We are just finishing our plantings of annual flowers in garden beds and in containers. Photos will follow this summer.

Yes, the summer and fall months are busy times as we travel frequently to nearby Hall, New York to the Seneca Vegetable Research Farm, managed by plant breeder, Dr. Walt Whitwood and his plant breeding sons. They are super people and do a great job trialing peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn and squash for us. In late August we are off to Wisconsin to take a look at new beans and a lot of sweet corn. The trialing season comes to an abrupt end with a visit to the Bob Chase Farm in Macedon, New York. On Bob's farm is our fall ornamental trial consisting of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash. Bob is a terrific grower and does a fine job for us. There are always many new introductions that are selected and added to our product line each fall.

I do not look at my job as hard work (as it truly is), but more importantly as great fun. Yes, having a career in the vegetable and flower seed business has been truly richly rewarding. I cannot think of a better one.