Who we are
Hawthorn Farm produces certified organic farm selected, open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds in Central Ontario (zone 5). Certified organic by Pro-Cert since 1996, Hawthorn Farm started as most independent seed companies do, on a kitchen table with a single page printed catalogue filled by a handful of offerings. With over a decade of growing, selecting and saving organic seeds, we now have hundreds of exciting and tasty offerings. In addition, we work to support the seed community by hosting workshops and educational tours on our farm. Working closely with our counterparts in a robust network of Canadian seed growers to promote access to high quality regionally adapted seed is another endeavor we value. We are passionate about seed, and believe strongly that access to high quality seed grown for Canadians in Canada to the best of our abilities helps to build a more secure resilient food system in our local communities and nationally.
What we do
We are not your traditional seed house. We grow, harvest, process, perform germination tests, package, and distribute seeds on our farm. As organic growers we use farming techniques that build soil, enhance natural ecosystems, reduce water consumption and minimize energy inputs. We apply these ideals that all organic growers hold dearly both in and out of the field. We produce, make selections to improve and save as much high quality seed we can from our fields and distribute it to our customers in environmentally responsible packaging. Varieties we cannot produce seed for reliably in our region due to climate or in observance of commercial isolation distances are sourced from organic seed growers whom we work with closely. High quality seed production in Canada can be rigorous and demanding. Although many of the techniques used in organic agriculture apply to what we do, growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers for their seeds is very different in many ways.
Making quality organic seed accessible to Canadians is not however all that we do. During the summer months we host workshops and tours. We invite you to grow with us, and learn more about the immersive world of organic seed production and seed saving. We support a diverse array of community programs, school activities, and non-profit organizations with donations of our seeds and our time because our social philosophy is an integral aspect in our vision of who are as a company. We believe that good food starts with exceptional seed.
Why we do it
Supporting the ideas and values of equal agricultural rights for everyone, access to healthy food, the preservation of our history and ecology is a vital part of our fabric and our story.
As ancient peoples slowly shifted their lifestyles from foraging and hunting to primitive agrarian societies, the basic act of saving the last seeds to shatter from edible plants was a pinnacle moment in the advancement of human civilization. History shows the human domestication of food crops from plants considered unpalatable by today’s standards created a surplus of food from increased yields, dependable harvests, and resilience through local adaptation. With food being a key component of cultural identity, seeds and the stories they share are as diverse as their genetic profiles. The revealing nature of these gifts impacts us through their ability to travel across great distances both in natural and human systems, and the abundance created as one seed has the potential to become many through the completion of a plants’ life-cycle.
Recognizing this, it is imperative that all growers (large & small) see themselves as not only stewards of the land but also guardians of humanity's genetic heritage. Continuing the gifts of nature and nurture, saving and sharing these diverse seeds from diverse cultures and peoples, and encouraging others to do the same will always be an integral part of why we are a seed company.