My daughter, who turned 2 this week, fell in love with an 8 by 10 piece of purple felt I bought for a craft project. She has been busy using it as a doll blanket, folding it like a napkin, and generally keeping it close. I didn’t plan it that way but I think she likes it more than any of her birthday and Hanukkah gifts combined and it cost 32 cents.
As farmers, Hanukkah coincides with the arrival of stacks of beautiful seed catalogs. And now that we have celebrated the eighth night, it is time to turn our attention to seed shopping and planning the next farm season. Searching through the seed catalogs, we are always looking for something like the purple felt–a new vegetable or flower variety that will surprise us and exceed all expectations.
There is always the hope that a certain seed variety will be this coming season’s most valuable player, producing abundantly while ignoring pests and humid weather. Over the years we have found a few of these, like sungold tomatoes, okra, zinnias, and sunflowers which consistently thrive on our farm. But just like expensive toys, there are always varieties that fail to impress and are quickly tossed aside and forgotten.
So in the coming weeks, we will search for the seed equivalent of the 32 cent square of purple felt, an unexpected seed variety which will help make the 2012 farm season successful. I hope we find it.