A seed train hosted by the Kenosha Potato Project made a stop in Potter County, Pennsylvania this week. It carries onboard many unique botanical potato seeds also known as True Potato Seed (TPS). Each seed packet contains specific TPS that can be likened to railcars traveling along on a train.
Seed sharing with others who have a similar goals is an age-old practice that helps preserve seed diversity. This method of seed swapping uses the US Postal Service to exchange seeds. The concept is a Pinch for a Pinch. Each seed swapper on the mailing list pinches out some seeds of their liking, then adds their own seed packets to the mailing, and mails it on down the line. We’ll select some of the seeds grown by the other participants who sent along seeds from their harvest. And, we’ll soon be sending the mailing on down the line, along with our local TPS tributes as passengers onboard the outbound train. This year, we contributed RED THUMB, RUSSIAN BANANA and MAGIC MOLLY seeds from our TPS harvest.
We’ll grow-out a few of these TPS offerings as an alternative way to farm potatoes for eating, fun, learning and research. By doing some of our own plant breeding over time, we hope to evolve some reliable localized performers, known as landraces or “folk varieties.”