Comstock, Ferre & Co: America’s Oldest Continually Operating Seed Company

Reader Contribution by Michelle Martin
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Only one seed company has operated for almost 200 years in America, and it’s called Comstock, Ferre & Co., founded in 1820 by James Lockwood Belden. You can find Comstock, Ferre in the 376-year-old town of Wethersfield, Connecticut,

where this historic little store — the longest continually operating seed company in America — once supplied seeds for an entire nation. But if you walk through these doors, you will discover more than a fine selection of heirloom seeds. You will walk into the look and feel of an authentic 1820 seed business.

Newly revived in the hands of new owner Jere Gettle, this historic little company recently experienced a makeover. As a tribute to the historical nature of the store, everyone who steps inside the nearly 200-year-old store will now find themselves surrounded by the sights and sounds of 1820 as employees dress in authentic 19th century costumes and minimize or hide all signs of modernity. Preserving the historic flavor of the seed company, Comstock, Ferre will serve as a real-life museum of seed business in the old days. And in a time when Connecticut is losing about 7,000 acres of land per year to development, Comstock, Ferre aspires to develop a farm educational center and garden on the 2 acres of land surrounding the store. Thus, the company hopes their presence and educational potential will help reverse this trend.

Comstock, Ferre offers traditional brands of heirloom garden seeds through their store and, now, through their website. In addition to selling the store’s namebrand heirloom garden seeds, they also offer Baker Creek heirloom seeds, which are open-pollinated, pure and natural, and non-GMO. We support the efforts of Comstock, Ferre and Baker’s Creek to preserve and spread heirloom seed varieties, which maintains genetic diversity for generations to come.

Photo used with permission, Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC