Heirloom Seeds & Poultry
1878 230th Street, Calamus, IA 52729
It is our sincere hope that each and every one of our customers takes the time to read this page of our catalog. The few minutes that it takes to read this will help provide you with a better understanding of our operation and will communicate to you how we operate. We are not a large operation and all of the work is done by Linda and me with occasional inputs from outside sources. The family consists of myself (Glenn) and my wife, Linda. We are not a wholesale seed company nor are we a large hatchery. We are genetic preservationists that are in this for the genetic diversity of this planet we all call home. We produce all of our own eggs for our hatches, tend all of our own flocks, weed and care for the seed crops and produce around 80% of the seed which we sell. We also work with several close friends to produce some rare and unusual items to help give you a better variety. We purchase a few common varieties of non treated seed to expand our offerings. We use these common items in our grow-outs to run comparison tests against the heirlooms. We also raise and maintain a few common breeds of poultry. Mostly this is for comparison purposes with the heritage breeds of poultry. But, they are also maintained and sold here for the 4-H young people who need them for show in the meat and egg laying classes at the fair. This way they can place one order and be able to obtain both common breeds and rare breeds in the same order. One of our main focuses in our business is education. Working closely with the young people in 4-H gives us an opportunity to encourage them to consider maintaining rare breeds. After all, the future of the poultry fancy is, indeed, our young people.
Our primary mission is the preservation of our genetic resources. It is difficult to find the time and resources to do that properly and we need to set limits on what we can do and then do it right. You will notice that periodically we have to change our plan and do things a little differently.
Many ask why the name for our company. I purchased this farm in 1988 after the worst drought in many years and at the peak of the farm crisis. Most of the locals had ruled this 40 acre piece of ground a sandy, worthless piece of Iowa. Iowa has 25% of the U.S.’s top grade soil, but our farm is 40 acres of the deepest sand you’ll find for miles. A glacial outwash sand hill dissects the property from east to west. There is a remnant locust/mulberry woods on opposite ends of the farm that has held the sand in place for many years. Twenty-three acres are tillable and are devoted to our seed crops, some hay ground and our orchard. Seventeen acres (basically the “sand hill” part) are either into pasture or we have left a remnant chunk untouched for native flora and a remnant box turtle population. Box turtles have few places left to live and reproduce in our continuous Midwestern agricultural land. The farm name comes from its location and its mission. I came here from Idaho where I had no soil and a very poor growing climate. To me, the endless depths of loose soil seemed like “The Promised Land”. When Linda and I married in 1993, I gained a partner to expand the goals and operations of the farm. With Linda’s help, we have expanded into the preservation of the poultry and many types of heirloom seeds. It is important for people to understand the difference between a “true business” and a preservation center. A “true business” markets a product with hopes of great sales and if sales are not good, the product is discontinued. A good business philosophy would dictate that the primary goal of a business is to make money. Our preservation center operates with a slightly different philosophy. While making money is not a bad thing, our first and primary goal here is for genetic preservation of both seeds and poultry. While our catalog is loaded with many things found nowhere else, some of which are very worthy of mass production from larger operations, they may never reach that market because they don’t have a catchy name or are particularly easy to produce. We maintain those seeds and those poultry varieties even if a year goes by with maybe only one or two inquiries about them. If they make it as far as our catalog then we feel there is something unique genetically that makes them worthy to be preserved. We are always grateful to those people who share our vision and support what we are trying to do. While it is not expensive or terribly difficult to maintain a particular seed variety (although it can be time consuming), maintaining many of the poultry lines can become quite expensive as they must be fed year round. We have been encouraged by the turn-around of interest in rare and endangered poultry since the mid-1990’s. In the mid-90’s there were only a few of us out there maintaining some of the breeds that we offer. It is encouraging to note that now many of them are regaining the strength and popularity that they once had.
Years in Review
Times have definitely changed from when the printed catalog was the only option. Now with the internet, the printed catalog is a relic to some but my fondness for printed material and the “permanency” of such leaves me seeing the need to print a few copies each year to leave future generations some printed history of varieties. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I refer to my old catalogs for historical documentation to prove the history and validity of a variety. With over 2200 varieties of seed I feel it would be an injustice to not leave some written record of many of these unique varieties.
Supporters and Donors
We are grateful for the support of time, money, seeds or skills to help us with our genetic preservation efforts.: Marilyn Chandler, Jakob Loewenberg, Raymond Patterson, Davie Kennedy, Robert Gene Black, David Clark, Craig Chapman, Venita McClain, Jeff Sage, Craig Chapman, David Bailey, Robert hellrigel, Ken Ettinger,Hobart Dixon, Bob Quist, Robert Makinster, Geri Peak, Tim Peters, Christopher Hoetschl, Sarah Van leer, Mike Beam, Gary hames, Sorry Kraft, Dvaie Kennedy, Jerry Krueger, Mike Sondegrath, Ann Linnebur, Michael Supak, James Murphy, Sam and Laura Leppert, Luke Ling, Sandi and Ed Taylor, Liming Lay, Debbie Ansley, Autumn Wooding, Robynn Schwartzmann, Stanley Heeres, Charles Ellis, Scott Rifkin, Sarah Ernst, Tom Kleffman, Ellen Benek, Amy Goldman Fowler, Dennis Heltzel, Yanna Fishman.
We are grateful for the support of time, money, seeds or skills to help us with our genetic preservation efforts.: Ellen Benek, Robynn Schwarzmann, Martha Swanson, Janet Hill, Gary Hames, David Nonnenmacher, Rosetta Whitehead, James Trout, John Lap, Mike Sondegrath, Sylvia Davatz, Iris Robertson, Jerry Krueger, Glenwood Hill, Jennifer Major, Sarah Van leer, Lynn Newsome, Suzanne Staffford, Lulu Lorenz, Judy McLaughlin, John Freeburg, Heatehr Brinkerhiofff, Evan Schnadt, James Culpepper, Scott Benson, Lee Hawkins, Phillip Moore, Emily Paton, Georgia White Epperson, Erica Schwandt, Arthur Delance, Rollie Morton, Etherl Brown, Jacob Cunningham, Mary Wood, Glenn Perry, Shannon Moles, Dennis Heltzel, Amy Goldman Fowler, Pam and Edmond Brown, Danielle Knowles, Denice Vincent, George and Cristal Kastantin, Amianne Baker, Shirley Collins, Roy Steinbrecher, Amanda Legare, Tracey Burnash,
The following people have helped us greatly in 2019 with donations of either time, skills, money, seed, supplies, or encouragement. We can’t begin to tell you all how much we appreciate your support. Our sincerest apologies if we accidentally left anyone out.
Marilyn Chandler,Jeff Quattrone, Chris Johnson, Alicia Hutto, Amy Pfeiffer, Jeff Sage, MikeSondergroth , Eric Schwandtt, John Rahart, Heath Gibson, Anne Brosnan, Iris Roberston, James Gore, Jerry Krueger, Rebecca Redfield, Trina Pilonero, Mark Albrecht, David Nonemacher, James Stanchan, Winnes Family, Elizabeth Martin, Bonnie Dennis, Bruce Carter, Nicolai John Kobzev, Kazio Hiral, Craig Chapman, David Houston Bartimus, Louise Alley, Gary Hames, Amy Goldman Fowler, Bradley Edin, Virginia Merlier, Paul and Chris Hansen, Dennis Heltzel, Ethan Carver, Ellen Dice, Phyllis Erbst, , Tim and Sue Heilig, Joel and Teri Schroeder.