“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t working with seeds.”
Like other adventurous young folks, Petra left the nest to learn. Working on wilderness trails in Colorado—“and eating the most processed food on the planet”—brought home the importance of fresh, flavorful sustenance. The next stint was a decade of living and learning on organic farms, building her skills. By the time she met and fell in love with agronomist Matthew Goldfarb, the dream of a seed farm was ripe for fulfillment. When friends in Naples heard that Petra and Matthew were returning home to farm, offers of land began flooding in. The season after the pair leased 2 acres in 2013, their fertile fields began to go to seed—on purpose.
The base farm was just the start. Unlike most seed-selling businesses, Fruition produces 60 percent of its seeds, sourcing the rest from fellow organic, non-gmo growers throughout the Northeast. To ensure that Fruition sells open-pollinated seeds that are true to name and to ensure that flowers do not cross-pollinate with different varieties, Petra and Matthew grow their own on 24 acres leased inside a 10-mile radius. They introduced their own Autumn Ambrosia watermelon, and they offer PMR Delicious 51
cantaloupe developed at nearby Cornell University, both of which mature in their short summers. They also offer Applegreen eggplant and Northern Hardy Valencia peanuts that will mature in their climate. And that search for lettuce that won’t bolt in the inevitable heat wave? For northern climates, loose-leaf Gentilina and Flashy Troutback romaine are the answer to a salad lover’s prayer.
Petra spends her days monitoring fields and culling plants. “If you’re a pepper and you haven’t produced at least two very tasty fruit by late July, you’re out,” she says. “Those seeds won’t be saved.” By continually selecting the best of the best, the plants gain qualities such as disease resistance and other desirable vegetable traits—including tastiness and attractiveness. The result is more than 300 varieties of scrumptious edibles for the Northeast and similar climates.
Fruition Seeds doesn’t stop with the seed stage. To inspire fellow gardeners and furnish the tools for regional abundance, the owners are active on social media channels, producing online tutorials as well as an online garden club called Flourish (which Petra describes as “a deep dive into organic gardening with a live question-and-answer facet”). Petra has even been known to share her recipes, bringing her seeds to their best conclusion.
Applegreen eggplant is an heirloom with the unique color of a Granny Smith apple, with quick maturity, creamy flesh, and greater density than most eggplants—making it great for grilling.
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