Illustration by Neil Gower
We’ve known folks who collect seed packets as art, but it’s the little lumps inside that are the big draw. We contacted several seed companies and grilled them on their best-sellers, assuming they’ll grow for you. Opened carefully, some of the prettier packets might also be worth saving. Organic seedling source Lora Hall recommends Missouri-based Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, whose pre-1890 Cherokee Purple tomato is its most popular variety. The delightful packaging features a beauty shot of the fruit against a black background (the better to show off its brilliant color) and “The Best for Salsa!” printed at the top. We also came across charmingly illustrated packets for the top-selling baby mesclun from Renee’s Garden in Felton, California, and for the sought-after Detroit dark red beet from Botanical Interests in Broomfield, Colorado. For a European winner that’s distributed locally, try the zucchetta serpente di Sicilia from Franchi Sementi, an Italian outfit founded in 1783.