Seeds available from the Concord Seed Lending Library include lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and peas. The varieties chosen for the project’s inaugural year have seeds that are easy to harvest. Here are the stories behind a few favorites, as related by organizers Enid Boasberg and Deborah Bier:
1. Scalzo Italian Pole Bean An heirloom bean that a family named Montesano has been growing in Sheep Ranch, in Calaveras County, Calif., for decades.
2. Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Bean Its name refers to the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians from the Great Smoky Mountains to Oklahoma over the winter of 1838-39. The bean variety made it through the arduous journey and survived as a family heirloom until it was given to the Seed Savers Exchange in 1977. Featured in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste catalog.
3. Arikara Bush Dry Bean Super-early-maturing dry bean once grown by the Arikara tribe in North Dakota. It has a distinctive yellow-brown color and tastes great. Lewis and Clark found it cultivated along the Missouri River in 1805, and sent seeds to President Jefferson.
For more information on the program, which is based at the Concord Free Public Library’s Fowler Branch, go to www.concordseedlendinglibrary.org.