A couple weeks ago we went to pick up our CSA bag. Part of the week's harvest included an small melon with a light green rind. It smelled crisp and citrus. I can't even remember the name of it. As we placed it in the car, the farmer said, "Hey, be sure to save the seeds on this for me. They cost me a dollar each."
He gave my husband instructions on how to save the seeds. When my husband cut into the melon, the texture and flavor were just like the smell. It was a very interesting fruit. He did as the farmer asked, and saved the seeds. When he counted them, he said, "You know, there's like $150 in here." The next week we returned the seeds to our farmer, keeping a few to try and plant ourselves.Seed saving has been in practice for far longer than glossy seed catalogs. For many heirloom varieties, this is the only reason they have survived and been passed along for generations. When you consider that the diversity of our food crops have been reduced by 75 percent since 1900, it really becomes critical to preserve that 25 percent we have left.
You can learn more about how to save seeds and about the history and importance of seed saving at my post for this September's Eat Local Challenge.