From the Field to You:
American Seed at Work
| Part 2
the seed has been harvested, the next step is to dry
it out and clean it. Here again, the common equipment
available doesn't quite suit the task, although it is
a little more flexible than the harvesting equipment.
We've just recently acquired the tools we need in order
to dry the harvest in the field. Up till now, we had
to rush back to the barn to spread it all out on the
floor right away. Otherwise, the green parts of the
plant, when they're loaded into the back of a truck,
will create so much heat that it can kill the seed.
the harvest is dry, it is ready to be cleaned. It is sifted
through a series of screens carefully calibrated to separate
out the seeds we want from the hitchhikers we are definitely
not interested in. Then we send it off to a lab for testing,
to be sure that the seeds are healthy and will work for
the way, of course, there are countless little stories.
Stories of disappointment, as we go to check out a site
and find it's just been mowed or sprayed. Stories of frustration,
as Mother Nature herself prevents us from a harvest with
her unexpected storms. But there are more than enough
rare and fine moments to make up for the disappointments
and frustrations. The memory of camping out overnight
in a field of bluebonnets, and listening to the seeds
exploding like popcorn in the morning as the dew began
to evaporate, is one that we will treasure forever.
and native grass seed comes in its own time, on its own
terms, in tune with its own internal rhythms and the rhythms
of the weather. It can't be rushed, and it can't be put
off till it's more convenient. When the seed tells us
it's ready, we move in the equipment. Not as straightforward
as it sounds -- harvesting equipment is designed for agricultural
crops, not for wildflowers, and we've spent long weeks
of tinkering and rigging and inventing and adjusting to
make it work for us.
all our wildflower seeds are suited to mechanical harvest,
of course. In those cases, the labor of harvest must
be done by hand, with the ages-old technology of gunnysacks
and machetes. In our catalog, you'll find these seeds
in the "Conservancy" category. It's one of
the things that makes Native American Seed unique --
we're more than happy to put in the extra time and trouble
to harvest these seeds, and do our part to preserve
the color and diversity that makes our region's natural
areas so special.
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