The borough of Bantam, in Litchfield, is home to a massive distributor that sells seeds all across North America.
“We have the best seeds in the world available here,” said Lance Frazon, General Manage of Kitchen Garden Seeds.
What started as a Dutch Flower Bulb company, grew into an enormous seed distribution center when the original owner, from the Netherlands, saw a need for more vegetable and flower varieties in the United States. The seeds in the Bantam facility come from all around the world.
“But we try them here,” Frazon said. “We don’t just say ‘oh this is going to work from Thailand,’ we try it and make it works here or we have it somewhere seeded in America.”
Once the seeds arrive in Connecticut, they get sorted in the warehouse Bantam. While the bulk of the seeds are packaged using a machine from the 1890s, others are sorted by hand.
"Some stuff is so small or so expensive we have to take care of what goes in the packet,” Frazon said.
Kitchen Garden Seeds has over 800 kinds of flowers, herbs, and vegetables and they add more varieties every year.
“We have about 3,000 varieties we would like to add to the catalog so we have to find the best ones and what’s available,” explains Frazon. “We look at what did well, what didn’t do well -- we start looking at all the new things we want to carry for the next year.”
And while there has been an increase in gardening over the past several years, they really saw a boom during the pandemic.
"It jump started last year and it hasn’t stopped this year,” Frazon said.
If you’re new the gardening and don’t know where to start, there’s a simple tip: read the packaging.
“All packet companies, whether it’s our or others, have very good detailed growing instructions follow them,” said Frazon.
Frazon says you’re never too young to start. He got his kids into gardening by planting colored carrots.
“Planting those different colors on the garden and having them pull out a little carrot that’s a different color that they can’t see at the grocery store is an amazing thing to get them interested in gardening,” he said.
While Kitchen Garden Seeds is local, you can’t just go to the warehouse to purchase seeds. You have to order them online or through their catalog like the rest of the country. To learn more, click here.