Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The D. Landreth Seed Catalog

The cover of the 2009-2011 Seed Catalog

When I looked in my mailbox today I was so happy to see the 2009-2011 Landreth Commemorative Seed catalog. This beautiful vintage inspired catalog is breath-taking in not only its content, but its design as well.

This year, Landreth celebrated its 225th anniversary. In the United States, only four other companies have celebrated such a milestone. To honor the anniversary, the special commemorative edition of the catalog was created using imagery from over 60 catalogs, wholesale price lists, Rural Registers and Alamanacs covering a period from 1839-1924. The catalog is filled with articles, testimonials, advertisements and artwork from the 60 year archive. It’s a catalog worthy of a place among your favorite coffee table books.

From humble beginnings in Philadelphia in 1784, David Landreth started the seed company and sold seeds to the City of Philadelphia and several nearby estates. As his reputation steadily grew, his customers included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Bonaparte (Napoleon’s brother).

David Landreth introduced the Zinnia into the United States from Mexico in 1798. In 1811, Landreth introduced the first truly white potato. In 1820, he introduced the tomato, known then as The Love Apple, and later perfected the first variety of yellow tomato. In 1826, the Company introduced a new kind of spinach to the American gardener. The spinach eventually became known as Bloomsdale Spinach, one of the most popular vegetables ever grown and a favorite of gardeners even today.

A page from the archives

The Landreth family treasured America’s and the world’s agricultural and horticultural heritage. For more than 200 years, the Landreth Catalogues, Rural Registers and Almanacs introduced and chronicled the development of seeds, many of which are now heirlooms. Bloomsdale, the Landreth family home, had the best collection of trees in the United States-only Judge Field of Princeton and the Sargent family of Boston were in the same class.

Today, the D. Landreth Seed Company is the fifth oldest corporation in America. Among its many historical claims is the fact that the company sold seed to every American president from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Landreth story is the story of an American family business which was born near the time of America’s birth and grew with America over three centuries. It’s a story of strong minded men and woman of principle, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters who pursued a path of innovation and exploration with the pioneering spirit that will always be the essence of what makes this country great.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the current owners of the D. Landreth Seed Company during our visit to Sharon Springs, NY this last fall. I was so impressed with the knowledge, the passion and the commitment they have for their business and for their customers.

You can visit the D. Landreth Seed Company on line and learn more about this incredible American institution.


Elaine said...

The cover is beautiful! I ordered some bulbs and seeds last year. I need to decide what I am going to order for this year.

mike said...

I should order seeds too... april is just around the corner! Love their vintage styling. Wish more seed companies would follow suit!