Pilgrimage to Heritage Farm (Part 1)

I’m sitting in my living room with nothing to do at the moment. There is kind of a light rain/snow mixture coming down outside.  Not exactly the day to do anything outdoors related even thought I’d love to do some fishing before the major lake freezes over for the winter.  At any rate I’m relaxing and reliving my trip this summer to Heritage Farm the headquarters for Seed Savers Exchange. Seed Savers Exchange is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving gardening heritage.  In other words they have a huge collection of heirloom and open pollination vegetables and flowers seeds that they keep in long term frozen storage should they ever be needed,

Day 1

Iowa County Side
Iowa cornfield with a few soybeans for accents. They honestly went as far as you could see in some places and had the most amazing old barns

My total reason for this trip was to attend the Annual Campout and Conference.  It’s a weekend of seed saving talk and processes mix with a few interesting events on the side.  I decided  that since I hadn’t seen a lot of the county side between Southern Indiana and north eastern Iowa that I would make this a roadtrip.  I packed up my car Wednesday, after work, with my camping stuff and my seed collection and   headed to Iowa. My goal was to cut a few hours off my Thursday drive so that I would have time to do some exploring when I got there.  Not to mention I had to setup camp and I hate doing that with the sun going down. I stayed the night in Bloomington IL, but wished Id been able to drive longer.  I was exhausted from my day at work so it just wasn’t going to happen.

Day 2

Spring Near Seed Savers Exchange
The spring the feeds the stream that ran near my campsite. It runs at the same volume year around and the water is in the low 50’s.

I woke up early refreshed and ready for my longest portion of the drive.  I was going to see a lot of places I had never seen before on this section of the trip, including the rolling corn fields of Iowa.  I made it to heritage farm at around 3pm, which was perfect.  I had passed some amazing scenery along the way ranging from small town to open crop field. I will have to say that some of the crop fields were pretty yet kind of depressing when I thought about the number of trees removed and the lack of plant diversity in the area.  I really enjoyed seeing the old barns that were dotted around the countryside.

Seed Savers Exchange
One of the many flowers from Diane’s garden you can find at Seed Savers Exchange

I set my campsite up along the back of the farm near a little stream .  The stream was close enough that I could hear it from my tent.  I was told later that day that a lot of campers used this stream as a place to wash during the weekend of camping.  The water in the stream came from an underground spring that produced very clean cool water that is the perfect environment to house trout.  I didn’t get to do any trout fishing while on this visit but maybe on the next trip.

I spent the evening relaxing and setup camp.  I had a light dinner that was cooked over my camp stove since they did not allow campfires at the campsites. It was a beautiful area with few bugs  and the July temperature was a lot cooler than most July nights.  I got to bed early that night and listed to the stream that was just a few feet away.  Tomorrow would be the field day and I would get to see a lot of the inner works of Seed Savers Exchange.

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