How long have you been practicing the traditional craft of cheese-making? I started making cheese…
What is the name of your Farm, Ranch, or Homestead?
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and Bakersville Pioneer Village
Where are you located?
We are located in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks region. More specifically we are located just north of Mansfield, Missouri, a few miles from the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum where she wrote the Little House books. Our physical address is 2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO.
Jere Gettle, founder and owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, was born into a family of farmers. He planted his first seeds when he was 3 years old. As a home schooled child, he learned to read by looking at seed catalogs. He became very interested in gardening and saving seeds. When he was 12 years old, his family moved from Montana to Missouri to have a longer growing season and better growing climate. Jere continued to grow and save seeds. At the age of 17, he sent out his first seed list to 250 potential customers. Today Baker Creek publishes more than one million total catalogs, and packs more than 8 million packages of seeds annually. Jere Gettle has not yet reached the age of 40.
What do you grow and/or raise?
We grow more than 2000 varieties of heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Most of our gardens on the Baker Creek farm are trial gardens, which we use to try out new varieties and to photograph for our catalog. We try to grow at least a few of each variety that we offer for sale but most of our seeds are harvested off site. We have a bank of around 250 contracted growers that produce seeds for us. Many of them are backyard gardeners and small farmers. We do purchase some seeds from larger seed houses that meet our quality standards. We do not purchase seeds from any companies that are Monsanto or Seminis owned.
In addition to plants we have a wide variety of heritage breed animals on the Baker Creek farm. Many different varieties of poultry, including some rare Asian pheasants, as well as pigmy goats, a Highland steer, donkey, and others.
What traditional methods do you use on your farm to grow your crops and/or raise your animals?
Our farm is not organically certified, but we use natural and organic growing methods. All of our animals are fed non-GMO food.
What is one of your favorite farm-infused recipes you wish to share?
One of our favorite farm recipes is one also loved by our vegan restaurant diners:
Breaded Heirloom Eggplant Cutlets
1 large Aswad or Ping Tung eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds) cut into 12 half-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups vegan panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
Combine bread crumbs with nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
1 cup Vegenaise
/4 cup large-grained Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine Vegenaise, mustard, and pepper in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Brush a 10-X 15-inch cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Place eggplant slices in batter and turn to coat both sides. Transfer to breading mix, scooping crumbs over and around eggplant to cover completely; press lightly to coat sides and edges well.
Place breaded eggplant slices 1 inch apart on cookies sheet, brush with remaining oil, and bake until browned and crisp on one side, 20 to 25 minutes.
With a flat spatula, carefully flip slices and bake until the other sides is crisp, an additional 20 minutes. This recipe is published in The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook written by Jere and Emilee Gettle 2012
What is at least one farm tradition you uphold?
The farming tradition most important to us is that of saving seeds from what we harvest and sharing them with others to be passed down to future generations.
What inspires you to continue a farm lifestyle?
We continue the farm lifestyle because we want our children to be a part of growing up in the country and helping to produce food for the family table. We want them to know the value of real food and where it comes from.
What words of inspiration or uplifting wisdom to you hope to impart on the future generation of farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, and homesteaders?
Farmers are the future of the world’s food supply. Each farmer, rancher, beekeeper, or homesteader—however large or small—is important to future food production.
Where can people find you/your products online?
FB: https://www.facebook.com/rareseeds/ or @rareseeds
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bakercreekseeds/ or @bakercreekseeds
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rareseeds or @rareseeds