For ten years now, I’ve had the privilege of shooting at Fordhook Farm for the Burpee catalog. Their seeds and plants are terrific in large part because they field trial and evaluate hundreds of varieties each year at their historic farm site in Doylestown — just twenty minutes from my home. The Burpee empire now includes both the famed Heronswood and Cook’s Garden catalogs and is helmed by George Ball whose own blog profoundly examines a wide range of topics.
Once just row upon row of vegetables and annuals, the 60 acre farm has been slowly transformed into a showcase of plant diversity under the guidance of crackerjack plant breeder Grace Romero. Increasingly, you’ll find corners filled with exotic perennials and woodies (many from the Heronswood collection) where only tomatoes and impatiens fared in past years.
Still, food crops are the major players here and I’ve spent many a hot summer day shooting unbelievably fresh produce with sharp-eyed Michele King, the Burpee AD, and her talented staff. My real payoff is when I get to bring home armfuls of leftovers. A flurry of soups and stirfries usually ensues but we still haven’t found a recipe for ten heads of leaf lettuce.