Siskiyou Seeds is a small farm based organic seed company in the Siskiyou mountains of SW Oregon growing Organic & Biodynamic since 1997. Our home farm is called Seven Seeds Farm and here we grow, trial, and develop about 3 acres of organic seed crops. The production from our farm represents about half of the 700 varieties that we offer and remainder we contract with a network of about 2 dozen small organic farms throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Siskiyou Seeds is dedicated to providing growers of all scales with organic, open-pollinated seeds of exceptional vigor, quality, and integrity. We are unique in the seed world in that we actually grow most of the seed that we sell here at our home farm.
We are grateful to share with you what we feel to be some of the best, most productive, nutritious, and beautiful varieties we know of.
Back in the winter of 1996 the idea of Seven Seeds Farm was birthed on the north slope of Sugarloaf Mountain - a wild northern spur of the rugged Siskiyou Crest that straddles the Oregon / California border. The dream was to inspire others to honor water, soil, food, animals, nature and each other by doing just that. Since then we’ve always been rooted deeply in the fertile soil of a, “show me, don’t tell me” ethos. Farming as a means to the ends of living simply on the land, grateful for being connected to the sources of sustenance, surplus as an outgrowth of tending the land and a farm business as a vehicle to sharing it. All these years later, we are still at it on the same mountainside, alongside the same delicious spring fed creek, still saving seeds and marveling at nature’s compelling beauty.
For many years we produced large quantities of organic vegetable and flower seed varieties per year for many different national-scale seed companies. Then in 2009, after a number of years beginning to dabble in plant breeding and varietal improvement work we were ready to hang our own shingle and thus Siskiyou Seeds was born. We were fortunate to receive a helpful start with the remnant seed bank from SOW Organic Seeds after it's founder, Alan Vanet passed on. Since then we have gone from growing all of the seed ourselves on 3-4 different fields scattered around our valley to producing about half the seed ourselves and working with other skillful organic seed growers throughout the Cascadia bioregion to create a diverse offering.
Although we are blessed with abundant summer sun here in what is sometimes referred to as the “banana belt of southern Oregon”, the Siskiyous can be a challenging place to garden with our winter rainforest/summer desert climate of harsh extremes. We are located at 2,000’ elevation, 42.3° North Latitude. Our average frost-free season is from June 1st until October 15th. We are USDA Zone 7 site. The varieties that we offer in this catalog have proven themselves through years of homesteading…filling countless harvest baskets and serving as the foundation for many nourishing meals. You can learn more about our growers in the subsequent section highlighting them and their farms on page Here
Seed Companies are fairly new in the great arc of the history of human civilization, having only existed for about 200 years. We believe in providing open-pollinated seeds that can be saved again for seed to further the autonomy and resilience of gardeners and land tenders and support food sovereignty. We aim to share the knowledge, information, and tools to empower people to do this. In many ways, being successful for our mission would be growing to involve Siskiyou Seeds out of commercial seed distribution and transitioning to becoming obsolete, except for plant variety improvement work.
We are fortunate to have entered the organic seed space at a fortuitous time when many old models were being re-examined with fresh eyes, uncorrupted from being entrenched in industry standards and norms. The early vanguard that came together in the 1980s and 1990s that focalized the organic seed movement and helped uplift seed to a position of centrality from its periphery of being merely another input. A consensus of these front runners was that they held open source, public domain seeds and learned to do concurrent selection and breeding with seed production. Seeds of Change and the Abundant Life Seed Foundation and the seed grower nettworrks thtt grew the seeds led this early charge of advocating for open-pollinated (non-hybrid) and heirloom seeds. Individuals such as Dr. Alan “Mushroom” Kapuler (Peace Seeds), Rich Pecarraro (early farm manager at Seeds of Change Research Farm, then later Abondonza Seeds), Alan Adesse (Wild Botanicals), Forest Shomer (Abundant Life Seeds) Richo Cech (Herb Pharm, Horizon Herbs then Strictly Medicinals), Carol Deppe (Fertile Valley Seeds), Frank Morton (Wild Garden Seeds), Bill McDorman (High Altitude Gardens then the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance), Raoul Robinson (Return to Resistance), Matthew Dillion (Organic Seed Alliance then Cliff Bars), Micaela Colley (Seeds of Change then Organic Seed Allliance) and John Navazio (Organic Seed Alliance, Johnny’s) were all very influential in helping welcome me into a new (old?) way of looking seeds. I feel fortunate to have shared the company of these seed luminaries as a young man and strive to continue this good work.
In addition to growing seeds we also have about 400 fruit and nut trees that we distribute the surplus of at a local farmers market. Considering that we try to honor Biodynamic-farming practices we raise a variety of animals to fulfill the fertility needs of our farm including sheep, ducks, chickens, and more. We also train young people in regenerative agriculture, permaculture, biodynamics and whole systems theory with apprenticeships and on-farm workshops. Our primary offering on the farm is the biannual Seed Academy 3 day intensive which is typically held in May and October.
Siskiyou Seeds is stewarded by Don Tipping & family plus a core of dedicated team for whom we are deeply grateful.
Pictured Above (L-R): Jillian Behrens, Taryn Lynx Hunter, Leona Evans, Stacey Denton, Don Tipping, Forrest Gilles and Ann Nguyen. plus Zappa, JJ and Gris.
“I have great faith in a seed.” Henry David Thoreau