Strictly Medicinal, LLC: In a nutshell, our seeds are tested viable, GMO-free, untreated, open-pollinated, seed-saver friendly, packed with love and released to the public domain!
There’s an old joke: “You can always tell a farmer, he’s the one outstanding in his field.” Nowadays it’s not so easy, though, to tell exactly what kind of farmer this might be, and just how outstanding he is. That’s why this has become the age of certifications (like for instance “certified organic”) which, on the face of it anyway, help reassure consumers about the product they are about to buy, to use, to … eat. This page is meant to clarify a number of contested terms, also to verify our agricultural practices and define what kinds of plants we grow.
~ Richo Cech
Certified Organic: This is often expressed in terms of what one does not do, as opposed to the positive things one does, which is unfortunate. We do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, and we do not use genetic modification. We do use integrated pest management (happens naturally in a diverse garden), tilling, cover-cropping, mulching and organic compost. We would not know how to insert a fish gene into our tomatoes if our lives depended on it, which they do not. We are certified organic, and we have chosen the Cadillac of certification agencies: Oregon Tilth. We can legally display the “USDA Certified Organic” logo, we adhere to organic practices and are able to prove it. We water with pure wild water, we grow cover crops to nourish the soil and our plants, and we fertilize with organic compost of our own making. Seeds are further processed with only the simplest of tools: cotton sheets, table separation, inclined planes, stainless steel screens, hand-rubbing, wind and … breath.
Heirloom (botanical): An open-pollinated vegetable cultivar that embodies special traits and has been passed down from generation to generation. A good example would be “Moon and Stars” watermelon that has striking coloration, large size, sweet flesh and dates back to 1926. We try to be fairly stingy about the use of the word “heirloom,” because if applied too generously it loses its impact. Since we work primarily with medicinal herbs, the words “native land race” are more meaningful to us. This term indicates the wild ancestry of the plants we grow, and our intention to keep them as they are. We think the original wild forms are most likely to produce medicine with the desired activity, the trusted basis of herbalism that dates back into antiquity.
GMO-Free: In a botanical sense, this means that the seed, the plant and the compost used to grow it are free of transgenic organisms. That is, free of organisms that contain genetic material into which DNA from an unrelated organism has been artificially introduced. We think it’s safest and most effective to leave shape-shifting to the butterflies.
Safe Seed Pledge: We were the original signatories to “The Safe Seed Pledge.” At the time, we were called “Horizon Herbs.” The name has changed, but we have not — we still believe in safe seeds!
Open-Pollinated (non-hybrid): Most organic growers and seed houses have incorporated hybrid vegetables into their offerings. We choose to work with only open-pollinated vegetables. Hybrid vegetables are not seed-saver-friendly. We envision a world where gardeners can reliably plant good simple food year after year by saving their own seeds. That’s why we don’t do hybrid.
Public Domain (botanical): The seeds and plants we work with came from nature and are owned only by nature. Anyone can plant and use them without obtaining permission from us. However, all seeds and plants provided by us are meant for the public good and shall remain in the public domain. No claims for intellectual property rights, patents or genetic engineering allowed!