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Seed Catalog 2023

Open-pollinated and regionally adapted seeds to the West River Valley of Southern Vermont


Grown without herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers


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All seed packs are $4 each. 


NEW FOR 2022!

VEGETABLES: Viking Asparagus, Lutz Green Leaf Beet, Dragon Carrots, Perfection Fennel, Turga Parsnip, French Breakfast Radish


HERBS: Echinacea


FLOWERS: Rudbeckia Chim Chiminee


This year has been a year of maintenance. I can’t recall anything that stands out this year because I didn’t do much expanding of the gardens or growing new varieties. I did this mostly because I wanted to maintain and appreciate what land I have cultivated along with maintaining my passion for growing seeds for our community. It is easy to get the bug to grow, grow, grow but at some point it starts to become more about the business aspect of farming instead of the passion and love I have for the land and the plants that I am working with. So I took a step back, appreciated what I have and worked on “smelling the roses” more than I have in a while. I am happy to bring you a few of the biennials I have been working on over the years, along with a few of the native wildflowers that I have collected in Southern Vermont. Have a wonderful growing season!


With gratitude,

Toni Kessler


West River Seeds


5% of our profits this year will go to the Seeds of Renewal Project, a project of the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center located in Burlington, VT. Check out



Astro. 1g. 21 days baby, 40 days full size. Standard arugula with a nice spicy flavor. Great for cutting and letting it come back for another harvest. Grown at Allwinds Farm. 



NEW! Viking. ~50 seeds. Perennial. A cold hardy variety that was developed from the heirloom ‘Mary Washington’ in Ontario, Canada. Tender shoots in the spring, one of your first harvests of the season.



Mustard, Dijon. 1g. 90 days to seed. Unlike other mustards, you don’t want to eat the leaves but let it go to seed, which is yellow. Use it to make mustard or add it to pickling spices. Easy to grow.


Mustard, Red Giant. 1g. 23 baby, 45 full size. Gorgeous dark red/purple leaves. Great addition to salads or let grow and harvest for braising or stir-frying. 


Mustard, Ruby Streaks. 1 g. 45 days. Add some elegance to your salad mix with these lacy, burgundy leaves. Will also add a bit of spice. Grow in summer and fall. Will not frost kill. I am still harvesting it out of my garden in Vermont in November. 


Pac Choi, Dwarf Ching Chiang. 1g. 40 days baby, 60 days full size. Add to salads or let mature to get a baby bok choy. Grown at West River Seeds and Allwinds. 



Bush, Dry Black Turtle. ¼ oz. 85-100 days dry. Gorgeous black bean. Very productive and dries earlier than other beans. Great for chili. 


Bush, Dry Rosso Di Lucca. ½ oz. 90 days. Originating from the Northern Tuscany city of Lucca, these speckled beans are worth writing home about. Mostly orange with dark red flecks, these beans are delicious and easy to grow, don’t miss out on showing these off in your pantry over the winter. Use for chili or just cook up and add sage and olive oil, like they do in Tuscany. Great yields.


Bush, Snap Black Valentine. ½ oz. 48-55 days. Great as a green bean but can also be left to dry and used as a soup bean. 



NEW! Lutz Green Leaf. 5g. 65 days. I love this beet because it has a delicious root and the leaves are more like Swiss Chard than other beet varieties. It is also a great storage beet as I have seen it named Winterkeeper. Eat fresh, pickle or add to soups and stews. 



NEW! Dragon. ¾ g (~350 seeds). 70-80 days. Beautiful purple skin with a bright orange core. Earthy taste, consistent 7” roots and great storage capacity makes this a wonderful crop to grow in your garden.



Little Leaf H-19. 30 seeds. 58 days. Great for eating fresh or pickling. Very prolific. 


Gherkin, Mexican Sour.  ½ g. 75 days. Looks like a little watermelon. Pop in mouth right after picking or pickle/ferment to enjoy them throughout the winter. Recommend trellising.



Listada De Gandia. 30 seeds. 85 days. Oval, egg shaped fruits with a purple and white stripe exterior. Needs an ample amount of heat to mature. 


NEW! Ping Tung Long. 30 seeds. 70 days. Living up to its name, these plants produce many 12-18” fruits that are long and dark purple. An Asian type eggplant, it has great tolerance for heat, disease, and moist conditions.



NEW! Perfection. 1g. 75 days. A European bulbing fennel. Sow in the spring for a summer harvest. Anise flavor, great to eat raw, make into a slaw or saute’.



Dwarf Blue Scotch. 1g. 55 days.  Low to the ground, this hardy, curly kale is one of the most delicious kales to grow in our climate. It withstands all the fluctuations in temperature, and with enough snow cover, will make it through the winter. Use the young baby leaves to add to your salads or let mature to braise or make kale chips.



Blau Gruener. 100 seeds. 100-120 days.  Hardy leeks with thick white shaft and blue-green leaves. Great for overwintering in cold climates. 



Butterhead, Northern Queen. ½  g. 50 days. One of my favorite lettuces I have ever grown. Produces beautiful green buttery heads. Resists bolting until the end of July/August if planted out in May/June. 


Looseleaf, Cracoviensis. ½ g. 50 days. Heirloom from eastern Europe pre 1885. One of the most hardy lettuces as they tolerate frosts in the spring and withstand multiple frosts in the fall (still harvesting mid November!). Produces long, pointy leaves with green and red color. Great flavor.


Romaine, Kalura. ½  g. 57 days. Large Cos-type green romaine. Cold hardy and tolerates heat. 



Bunching Onions, Dakota Winter. ~100 seeds. Hardy perennial. These onions have been growing in David Podoll’s farm (Prairie Roads Organics in North Dakota) since they were brought over from Prussia by his great grandparents. It survives the freezing cold winters of North Dakota and will overwinter great in your gardens too. Plant these in the fall for early spring onions in April/May.



NEW! Turga. 1g. 100-110 days. A hardy and productive heirloom. harvest after first frost for a sweeter root. Will overwinter in the ground for a spring harvest.



Unfortunately, all of our peas we grew this year were drying on the vine and a critter came along and stole them all. It was very disheartening but just one of the challenges of farming and seed collection. We hope to have our wonderful selection of peas next year. 



Bulgarian Carrot. 30 seeds. 70 days. Bright orange 1 ½-3 ½ “ fruits that don’t disappoint. Plants are very productive, bearing 40+ fruits at times. Great for making hot sauces, drying, or adding to salsa. 5,000-30,000 SHU.


Long Thin Cayenne. 30 seeds. 90 days red. 30,000-50,000 SHU. A well known moderate heat chili pepper that is great to use fresh or let dry to blend up for cayenne seasoning. Very prolific. 


Thai Hot. 30 seeds. 85 days. 50,000-100,000 SHU. Small Christmas light looking chili peppers that pack a lot of heat. Small bush-like plants that produce many small peppers that stick up from the plant. Vigorous and early ripening in short growing seasons.



Bell Pepper, King of the North. 30 seeds. 68 days green, 90 days red. Large beautiful fruits that are bell shaped. Great producers in our short growing season. Made it through an early June frost in WRS gardens in 2020.



Cherry Belle. 2g. 30 days. Red, round and uniform. Mild flavor when young. 


NEW! French Breakfast. 2g. 25 days. A French heirloom with a mild, spicy flavor. Oblong root that is mostly pink with a white tip. Great for snacking, salads, or stir-fry.



Pumpkin, Long Island Cheese (Moschata). 30 seeds. 110 days. New England favorite. Light skin similar to a butternut. Great for making soups, pies, and desserts. 2-3 fruits per plant.


Winter Squash, Zeppelin Delicata (Pepo). 30 seeds. 100 days. A heirloom from the late 1800’s that stores longer than other delicatas. Creamy exterior with green striping. Dark orange flesh that is sweet and perfect for slicing or baking as a side dish. 7-10” oblong fruits that weigh about one pound each.


Zucchini, Costata Romanesca (Pepo). 30 seeds. 55 days. Italian heirloom. One of the best tasting zucchinis. Dark green with a light green stripe. Ribbed. 


TOMATILLOS (Husk Tomatoes)

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries. 50 seeds. 80 days. Small, golden husked fruits that are great for snacking or making preserves. I like to use them to make BBQ sauce. Many people say they taste like pineapple. Have a sprawling growth habit. Harvest when the outside papers turns light brown or when they fall to the ground. Very productive.


TOMATOES (Beefsteak and Slicers)

Black Beauty. 30 seeds. 80+ days. One of the most striking tomatoes to grow. Deep black outside with rich red flesh. Very productive but does take some time to ripen. Don’t pick until the bottom is red. Great for eating raw, sauces, and canning. Indeterminate.


Cherokee Purple. 30 seeds. 80-90 days. One of the most delicious tomatoes out there. This heirloom slicer is a combo of red, green, and purplish brown. Fruits are 8-12 oz. Indeterminate.


Green Zebra. 30 seeds. 80-90 days. Don’t let this tomato fool you. It may be gold with green striping but it has a tart and zippy flavor. Bred by Tom Wagner of Everett, WA in 1984. It has become a favorite amongst tomato connoisseurs. Indeterminate.


Marvel Stripe. 30 seeds. 90-110 days. Originally from the Zapotec people of Mexico. Gorgeous 8-10 oz. yellow and red fruits with pleats. Very tasty and very few seeds. Indeterminate.


Persimmon. 30 Seeds. 90 days. Huge, orange beefsteak-type. One of my favorites to grow as it is great for fresh eating, sauces, and canning. Very meaty. Indeterminate


Sasha Altai. 30 seeds. 60 days. In his quest to find an adapted high altitude tomato, Bill McDorman, director of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, went to the Altai Mountains in Russia in the 80’s, when the Iron Curtain still existed. He met a farmer named Sasha who gave him these seeds. He grew them out and called them Sasha Altai. Wonderful early red slicing tomatoes that produce 2”-3” fruits. Indeterminate.


Stupice. 30 Seeds. 55-75 days. Very early potato leaf variety that produces small fruits. Delicious and productive. Indeterminate.



Bumble Bee Mix. 30 seeds.70-75 days from transplant. Bred by Fred Hempel and part of his “Artisan Tomato” line, these striped cherries are a must grow. They are not only tasty and beautiful, but super productive. This mix is a combo of Sunrise Bumble Bee, Purple Bumble Bee, and Pink Bumble Bee Cherry Tomatoes. Indeterminate. 


Galina. 30 seeds. 60 days. Very early maturing yellow cherries that resists cracking and are super productive. Brought back from Siberia from Bill McDorman, my Seed School teacher and seed saver extraordinaire. Great, sweet flavor.


Matt’s Wild Cherry. 50 Seeds. 65-70 days. Beautiful clusters that hold up well and are great tasting. Wait until a cluster is ripe and then harvest the whole thing. Very productive. Indeterminate.



Opalka. 30 seeds. 90 days. Originally coming from Poland in the early 1900’s, this is a tasty paste tomato that produces large elongated fruits. They can come to a point or round off at the end but they measure up to six inches long. Great for canning and making sauces. Indeterminate.


Roma. 30 seeds. 75-80 days. Paste tomato with small fruits that are great for making sauce and canning. A classic that has great yields. Semi-determinate.



Early Yellow Moonbeam. 30 seeds. 80 days. De-hybridized Yellow Doll. Stabilized over the decades by Dr. Alan Kapular. Productive producer of 3-8lb fruits. Yellow, juicy, and delicious “meat”. Reliable melon for our short growing seasons.



Anise Hyssop. ½ g. Loved by bees. Great licorice flavor. Dry for tea. 


Catnip. ½ g. Dry for tea or for your favorite feline. Also loved by bees. Will spread easily so plant on the edge of your garden or in its own bed. 


Chamomile, German. 1/10 g. Fragrant flowers that are used for a calming tea. Need light to germinate. 


Cumin, Black Seeded. 1g. Also called Nigella. Use the dramatic, lacey flowers or dried balloonish seed pods for flower arrangements. The seed is considered medicinal, used for indigestion, appetite loss, water retention and fever.


NEW! Echinacea. 50 seeds. Perennial. Also known as Purple Coneflower, this native plant is easy to grow as it doesn’t need to be stratified. Butterflies and other native pollinators love to visit this flower. The root can be dug up and used medicinally to support the immune system. 


Holy Basil (Tulsi). ¼ g. Don’t miss out on filling your house with the aroma of holy basil. One of the best herbal teas for drinking or mixing with other herbs. Harvest the leaves and the flowers. 


Lemon Balm. ¼ g. Perennial. Use fresh or dried. A vibrant lemon fragrance great for teas or harvest early spring to add to your salads. 



Basil, Mammoth.¼ g. 70-75 days. Giant crinkled leaves that are great for making pesto. Very aromatic. 


Basil, Thai.¼ g. 70-75 days. Sweet, spicy and a hint of licorice makes this basil a wonderful addition to Thai dishes and curries.


Cilantro, Caribe. 2 g. 55 days. Long standing cilantro that has more heat tolerance than other cilantros. 


Chives, Garlic.  ~100 seeds. Perennial mild garlic flavor that is really hardy. The leaves are flat, like garlic leaves. White flowers are edible and can be added to spice up your salads. 


Chives, Onion. ~100 seeds. Perennial mild onion flavor that is really hardy. Lovely pink flowers are edible and great in salads.


Dill, Bouquet. ½ g. 45 leaf, 70 seed. Classic dill used for pickling. Easy to grow.  



Ageratum, Timeless Mix. ¼ g. 80-100 days. Beautiful 1-2” clusters of flowers in shades of red, pink, white, blue, and purple. Great for cutting, planting in beds or containers. Attracts butterflies and bees.


Ammobium. ¼ g. 80 days. Tiny ¼-½” white flowers that can be used for dried floral arrangements, garlic braids, and wreaths. Bright yellow center but can also harvest when closed to retain an all white look. Can be used instead of baby’s breath in bouquets. 


Bachelor Button, Centaurea. ¼ g. 65-75 days. Purple, purple and white, blue or all white flowers. Great additions to salads or desserts as the flowers are edible. 


Bachelor Button, Polk-A-Dot. ¼ g. 60-65 days. Cornflower blue and indigo with some rose and violet blooms. Great additions to salads and desserts as the flowers are edible. 


Calendula, Flashback Mix. 1g. 85 days. Stunning orange, apricot and peach with some red streaks and red backing. Double petals. Hardy through multiple frosts. 


Calendula, Resina. 1g. 70 days. Orange and yellow flowers that are coated with resin. Medicinal.

Celosia, Temple Bells. 100 seeds. 75 days. 30-36” vigorous stems that produce a combo of peach and fuchsia brain-like, velvety blooms. Side branching spikes also appear. Seeds need light and warmth to germinate.


Chamomile, Dyer’s. ¼ g. Bright yellow flowers that can be dried for dyeing or used for cut flowers. Will naturalize in the space you plant them. Can plant in fall for mid-summer flowers. 


Coreopsis, Dyer’s. ¼ g. 80 days. Vibrant yellow with red variegated blooms. Some blooms are all red. Great for dyeing textiles. Color can be anywhere between gold and sienna. Great for cut flower arrangements as well.


Cosmos, Sunrise. 1g. 75 days. A tall (4-6’), hardy border plant produces hundreds of small orange flowers. Can also be used for textile dyeing. 


Gaillardia, Lorenziana. 100 seeds. A type of blanket flower, these stunning blooms will tolerate frost and make a wonderful addition to your cut flower garden. The blooms are unique and the colors vary from red, yellows to red/yellow and red/ivory. 


Indigo, Japanese. ½ g. 90 days. If you love to dye textiles, this is a must grow in your garden. The green leaves are used for making a magical indigo dye vat. Easy to grow but the plant is frost sensitive. 


Marigold, Pesche. ¼ g. 80-90 days. 3-4’ tall plants with big bursts of orange frilly blossoms. Great for borders or interplanting to deter pests in the garden. 


Marigold, Queen Sophia. ¼ g. 60 days. A French marigold that has dark orange and red blooms that almost look velvety. Blooms are 1 ½ to 2 ½ “ and attract beneficial insects such as hoverflies. Leaves of the plants are edible and can spruce up your salad mix. Seeds were given to me by Mel Demock, who has a wonderful farmstand called Shovel At A Thyme in Wilmington, VT.


Nicotiana, Jasmine. ¼ g. Summer/Fall bloom. White fluted flower that has a wonderful scent. Plant at the end of your garden beds to keep insect pests away. Will thrive in dry, poor soils.


Nigella. 1g. Also called Black Seeded Cumin. Use the dramatic, lacey flowers or dried balloonish seed pods for flower arrangements. The seed is considered medicinal, used for indigestion, appetite loss, water retention and fever.


NEW! Rudbeckia, Chim Chiminee. 100 seeds. 120 days. Eye candy in the late summer and the fall as they stick around for a long time. The colors are stunning muted tones of pink, yellow, sienna, bronze and chocolate. The petals are thinner and fan out. Great for cut flower arrangements. 


Rudbeckia, Sahara. 100 seeds. 100-120 days. My favorite array of colors for Rudbeckia by far. Soft fall colors of rose, coppers, browns, and yellows. The plant only grows to 22” so the stems are short.


Sage, Scarlet. 200 seeds. 70 days. Also known as Hummingbird Sage since the fluted red flowers will attract them to your garden, along with butterflies. The growth habit is similar to other sages, 1-2” wide and growing 2’ high. Great for borders or adding to ends of beds. Will not overwinter in Vermont climate.


Strawflower, Apricot/Peach. 50 seeds. 75-80 days. Tall bracketed stalks that can produce double flowers. Gorgeous peach and apricot blossoms that are wonderful to use in fresh flower arrangements. When dried, holds it color and shape for years so great for dried flower arrangements.


Strawflower, Monstrosum Fireball. 50 seeds. 75-80 days. Tall bracketed stalks that can produce double flowers. Striking red blooms with yellow centers. Great for borders or dried flower arrangements. 


Sunflower, Giant Grey Stripe. 100 seeds. 65-75 days. Very tall with large blooms that produce edible snacks for people and birds. Attracts pollinators.


Sunflower, Mother Garden Mix. 100 seeds. 80-100 days. Ornamental. Tall multi-colored flower heads. Yellow, gold, and orange petals attract a variety of birds to your garden. 


Sweet William, Electron. ½ g. Biennial. Deep, vibrant pink and purple flowers. Seed by the end of July for blooms in June the following growing season. 


Zinnia, Oklahoma Ivory. 100 seeds. 75-90 days. Semi-double and double 1 ½” to 2 ½” blooms that last for weeks. Cut and come back again and again. Array of soft whites and creamy colors. Low susceptibility to powdery mildew.

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