Raspberry Ridge Publishing releases latest Heritage Edition reprint

Jefferson Seed Company 1921: The Key to the Harvest

Jefferson Seed catalogThe 1920s in Iowa were important years for farmers and home gardeners.  The Great War had just ended.  Soldiers were back home in Greene County, farming and establishing families. The economy was still agriculturally based with small family farms being the producers of the nation’s grain, fruits, and vegetables.  Farming was done with horses and mules. The home garden provided most of the family’s vegetables and fruits. Produce was preserved most often by canning or drying and storing it in cellars to be used through the winter months.

Good seed and a reliable seed company were paramount. In January of each year, seed companies sent out catalogues of their seeds and farmers would purchase the spring’s plantings based on the detailed descriptions and photographs in the booklets. Seed catalogues of the time were more than lists of offerings, however. A seed catalogue is a glimpse into the daily life of farm families of the early 20th century. People ate what they grew and there was a surprising variety of things to grow.

The Jefferson Seed Company was located in Jefferson, Greene County, Iowa. Very little historical information can be found about it, but the catalogue indicates it was formed in 1884. There were advertisements in the local newspaper through 1922, but mention of the company disappears after that. The catalogue indicates that it was quite a successful company in 1921 with well-known local citizens at the helm: DL Howard, Austin Elvin, GW Mackey, JM Bell, MM Head, FM Dean, Albert Mears, and RC Head. Seeds were sent world-wide.

Jefferson Seed Company 1921 contains more than 80 greyscale photographs on 54 pages and gives descriptions of how the seed was grown for sale, how it was handled, how seed corn was tested, how it was shipped, and, in some instances, a history of the seed being described.  There are fruits, vegetables, grains, grasses, and clovers as well as some ancient and heritage crops such as speltz and emmer. Billion Dollar Grass was popular at that time.

Raspberry Ridge Publishing is pleased to reprint the 1921 seed catalogue from the Jefferson Seed Company.  It is available on Amazon.com or locally at Raspberry Ridge Publishing, 515-669-6984.

Since 2011, Raspberry Ridge Publishing, owned by Janice Harbaugh of Jefferson, has republished more than 35 vintage books older than 1923. She is particularly interested in preserving history as it is found in vintage books.

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