Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is proud to announce an improved spinach variety called ‘Abundant Bloomsdale,’ which is cold-hardy in chilly conditions and slow to bolt in warmer weather.
This new spinach has deeply savoyed (crinkled) and succulent leaves. Their dark-green color indicates high levels of carotenoids, such as lutein and beta carotene. The variety is slower-growing than some spinaches, yet produces exceptionally large, upright leaves that have a sweet flavor.
OSA’s plant breeders worked collaboratively with eight farms on the Olympic Peninsula to develop this high-quality variety for organic farmers and gardeners, and seed companies in other regions have since trialed the variety as well.
Marko Colby and Hanako Myers, of Midori Farm in Washington state, were two of the farmers who helped develop ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ over the course of several years, and they’re working with OSA to improve a number of other crops, too, including chard, chicory and purple sprouting broccoli. They’re part of the growing movement of seed stewards improving plant varieties on their farms. These types of regional networks help protect and ensure genetic diversity in our food crops.
‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ is an open-pollinated variety, and OSA encourages growers to select and save seed from their harvests to further adapt the variety to their local growing conditions. Regional adaptation will be especially critical as the climate continues to shift.
The ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ project began in 2003, OSA’s inaugural year as a research, education and advocacy organization. The breeding project offered an educational opportunity, and came to be the focus of dozens of farming workshops and field days as demand for OSA’s programs grew. Hundreds of farmers have visited ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ spinach fields to learn about on-farm plant breeding and organic seed production over the course of the project.
The variety is available through E&M Seeds, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Hudson Valley Seed Library, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and Siskiyou Seeds. A portion of the proceeds from ‘Abundant Bloomsdale’ sales will be returned to OSA’s participatory plant-breeding program.