By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator
Lettuce trial field perfection at Osborne Quality Seeds in Mount Vernon, Washington
The seed is the start of it all.
At Certified Naturally Grown, we require that our farmers' seeds are free of GMOs, not chemically-treated in any way, and that they are Certified Naturally Grown or certified organic whenever they are commercially available. Because of our thorough requirements, we are always glad to link up with the folks who are working hard to produce such high-quality essentials for any produce farm.
So it's exciting for us to welcome Osborne Quality Seeds as Business Allies of CNG! With well over 200 certified organic seed varieties to choose from, this Skagit Valley company can help round out your seed stock for your fall crops this year and seasons to come.
We caught up with Osborne Quality Seeds' Ted Bartlett to learn all about the past, present, and future of this Business Ally.
Ted Bartlett (TB): We were founded as Osborne Seed Company by Wayne and Chris Osborne in 1982, in the Skagit Valley of Washington. Gowan Seed Company acquired the business in 2017 when Chris Osborne retired. We slightly re-branded as Osborne Quality Seeds, and we’ve found our place within the company as a mostly organic-focused business unit serving small-scale growers via our website and catalog. We retain the traditional values and standards that have been in place for almost four decades, with the backing of a much larger enterprise. What we gained there is tremendous internal expertise in crops like spinach, lettuce, onions, sweet corn, and watermelons.
TB: We value farmers and the total act of farming, outstanding customer service, and sustainable practices.
CNG: How did you make the decision to support CNG as a Business Ally?
TB: We were very impressed with the concept of the certification, and how it includes small-scale growers in places where traditional organic certification may be cost-prohibitive for them. We support organic practices generally, and we applaud the efforts of these growers, and of CNG, to advance that cause.
CNG: How does Certified Naturally Grown support Osborne Quality Seeds' customers?
TB: By working with small-scale growers to monitor the adherence to organic practices in a cost-effective way, CNG supports our customers in making a positive impact in American and Canadian local food systems.
CNG: What are some exciting developments at Osborne Quality Seeds our CNG community can look forward to in the future?
TB: We are always conducting trials on the newest and best varieties at our two-acre farm in Mount Vernon, Washington. We are putting special focus this year into identifying more organically-produced seed varieties that are of a sufficiently-high quality that we’re comfortable selling them. As always, where we can’t source a great organically-produced variety, we do carry untreated seeds, to help organic growers stay in compliance with their certification requirements.
CNG: If you had a magic agricultural wand, how would you use it to improve farm systems in America?
TB: We would create programs to make resources, training, the use of land, and farming infrastructure both more readily available, and more affordable, to people who want to start farming without immediately over-extending themselves financially.
We see how well programs like this work in our home area of Washington, with organizations like Cloud Mountain and Viva Farms, and we think that a lot of good would come from similar programs being more present in other parts of the US and Canada.
CNG: Is there anything else CNG farmers and beekeepers should know?
TB: At Osborne Quality Seeds, we see ourselves as partners to you in growing healthy food via sustainable farming methods. If we haven’t worked together before, we’d love the opportunity to speak with you, and to explore ways in which we can help.