September 30, 2015


Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance, (360) 472-0247,


 Field Day Invites Community to Celebrate Innovations in Organic Seed
Organic Seed Alliance with WSU celebrates first autumn harvest at new research farm


Port Townsend, WA – Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host a community field day and variety tasting on October 14, 2015, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Chimacum Farm Collaborative. The event celebrates the first autumn harvest at OSA’s new research farm, which was established earlier this year to serve as the hub of OSA’s Pacific Northwest organic plant breeding and variety trial program. Partners from Washington State University (WSU) will join in the event and share progress of the OSA-WSU Organic Germplasm Consortium, and report on local quinoa breeding efforts. 


Two field tours will be offered, beginning at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The variety tasting and no-host bar will begin at 5:00 p.m. 


Participants will take a closer look at variety trials in the field. Trials are important for identifying which crop varieties are suited to a region’s growing conditions, including whether varieties perform well under local disease and pest pressures. Participants will learn about OSA’s participatory plant breeding projects; the importance of regional seed systems that respond to the needs of farmers and the communities they feed; and why OSA works hard to increase access to organic seed in particular, among other topics.


An important part of trials is to taste existing and new varieties available to farmers. A crop may be hardy in the field, but without good flavor and texture, it might fail in the marketplace.   


Following the field tours, participants will taste the most successful varieties of colored carrots, winter squash, red peppers, Swiss chard, onions, and quinoa, (and possibly other crops). The vegetables will be tasted raw and/or simply cooked so that participants can taste how the flavor profiles change once prepared. Community members are important participants in the plant breeding process. Those attending will be asked to evaluate the different varieties based on flavor, texture, color, and overall appeal. The information gathered during the tasting will be combined with data from the field to determine which varieties to prioritize in future breeding work.


In addition to tasting individual varieties, chefs from the Olympic Peninsula will create appetizers that showcase the culinary potential of the vegetables grown in the trials. Finnriver Farm & Cidery will open its new tasting room for no-host tastings and purchases of pints and bottles of cider. 


The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is encouraged but not required. RSVP today at


The Chimacum Farm Collaborative is located at Rhody Drive/WA-19, across from Chimacum Corner Farmstand in Chimacum, WA, 98325. 


About the Chimacum Farm Collaborative: The Collaborative was formed in 2014 and is located on a historic dairy farm that has been preserved as working farmland by Jefferson Farmland Trust. The farmhouse is used as an office and meeting and event space. The fields are used to grow crops and conduct research. All crops are grown using organic farming methods, and OSA’s research farm is undergoing organic certification. Organizations participating in the Collaborative include OSA; Finnriver Farm & Cidery; American Farmland Trust; Washington State University, and North Olympic Salmon Coalition. 


About Organic Seed Alliance: Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. Each year we educate thousands of farmers and other agricultural community members, conduct professional organic plant breeding and seed production research, and advocate for national policies that strengthen organic seed systems. Learn more at


About Washington State University: Washington State University Jefferson County Extension supports a vibrant and visionary food and farming sector in Jefferson County. Our county-based educators leverage the broad resources of a major university to resolve issues and create a positive future for the residents of Jefferson County.


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