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The Daily Wildcat

98° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    On the Spot

    On the Spot

    We walked over to North Fourth Avenue and talked to Julie Kornmeyer, the distribution and retail manager of Native Seeds S.E.A.R.C.H.

    Wildcat: I noticed when I came in there was a distinct smell. Why does it smell?

    Kornmeyer: It’s probably a combination of our spices. We have a lot of pine needle, bear grass, wood items. The store supports the conservation work we do.

    W: Why is it so important to conserve seeds? I mean, they don’t have brains, do they?

    K: No.

    W: OK.

    K: We have over 2,000 varieties of seed in the collection. So they’re food products that were used by native peoples primarily in Arizona, New Mexico and Northwestern Mexico. Things like chiles, beans, corn, squash, melons, watermelons, herbs. So we’ve been collecting those seeds for over 25 years.

    W: Don’t they go stale after a while?

    K: We freeze them in the bank, and then the overage that we don’t freeze for future growout, we have available for the public.

    W: What kind of bank?

    K: It’s a seed bank. So you put the seed away just like you’d do money in a savings account.

    W: It’s not like a sperm bank, is it?

    K: Well, I guess you could look at it the same way. You’re putting away genetic material for the future.

    W: Can you eat these seeds for a meal?

    K: Well, you’re going to grow these in your garden.

    W: Are those the seeds to make the seeds?

    K: Well, seeds to put in the ground to grow food.

    W: Oh. OK. I thought it was just you eat the seeds for dinner or something.

    K: No, you’ve gotta plant dinner.

    W: So if I buy a pack of seeds and I didn’t grow them right, they were defective, can I take them back?

    K: Yeah. I mean, they should grow.

    W: Wow, there are hundreds of different kinds of squash here!

    K: Yeah. We’ve got 300 different kinds of corn.

    W: Do you have the giant squash seed? The one in that contest, to make the biggest pumpkin, or…

    K: People have grown them and then entered them in fairs.

    W: So that person back there bought some seeds and paid $37. Is that worth it?

    K: To them. If they’re gardeners and they like doing a lot of growing.

    W: How much are these packets?

    K: $2.75.

    W: Well that’s not that bad. Like how many corns can you get from that? At least 10.

    K: There’s 50 seeds in a pack for corn.

    W: Is it one seed per corn?

    K: Uh huh.

    W: What is a poppy seed? Can you eat that?

    K: No. These are wildflower seeds.

    W: So it’s not to put on a bagel?

    K: No no no. No.

    W: Cool.

    – interview by Andi Berlin

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