Bespoke Seeds are Now a Thing

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Have you ever tucked into a roast beet and thought hmm, delicious but I wish it tasted a little less…earthy? Or nibbled on a cucumber, and wondered if it was possible to make it taste any better? Then pull on your gardening gloves and open a packet of Row 7 seeds.

This new seed company was co-founded by Dan Barber, the chef and co-owner of the legendary Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY, consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world. The idea for the company was sown years ago when Barber asked the vegetable breeder Michael Mazourek, an Associate Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, if he could breed a better tasting butternut squash — one that didn’t need brown sugar or maple syrup to enhance its flavor. The experimentation took years and brought Matthew Goldfarb, an organic seed grower in the Finger Lakes region of New York, into the fold. The trio’s experimentation led to the launch of Row 7.

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Normally, seeds are developed for yield and shelf life, and flavor is at the bottom of the priority list. But that’s not the case with Row 7 seeds, which are bred for maximum flavor. The seeds are also certified organic, non-GMO and made in the United States.

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The debut line has seven varieties of seeds, including the Badger Flame Beet that is mild and sweet without earthiness; Robin’s Koginut Squash, a smooth and sweet variety that changes color at peak ripeness; and the Habanada Pepper, a heatless pepper with floral and melon notes. The Upstate Abundance Potato is packed with a smooth, buttery flavor- minus the added butter. Rounding out the line are the experimental 7082 Cucumber, and more varieties of squash.

Prices vary but expect to pay around $3.50 – 4.95 for 100 seeds; one pound of potatoes is $9.95.

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