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In 2020 we launched the national Heirloom Collard Variety Trial! Eight farms from around the country grew out 20 different varieties from the vast collection either donated to Seed Savers Exchange or acquired from USDA that were previously collected from seed stewards across the Southeast and written about in the collards book. Jump to FULL TRIAL SITES.
Over 200 growers across the country are also participating by trialing 3 varieties, and providing feedback on performance and flavor data. We hope to gather information from a wide diversity of growers across the country to help understand these varieties better, and celebrate the diversity of collards.
The varieties in the trial were a combination of accessions from the Edward H. Davis and John T. Morgan collecting trips and varieties that have been donated to the Seed Savers Collection. These varieties have special histories associated with them and the goal of this project is to celebrate these stories and support the tradition of growing and sharing heirloom collards.
The 2020 Collard Variety featured over 200 participants who recorded data for uniformity, appearance, flavor, vigor, disease resistance, germination, winter hardiness, earliness, and yield about their collards. SeedLinked was used to record and aggregate the data. Results coming soon!
SeedLinked is an emerging web platform that connects people with information on varieties from other gardeners and farmers. Seed Savers Exchange has used SeedLinked to manage our Community Science trials with great results. SeedLinked has allowed us to efficiently collect data and share it with all participants.
Rejoice and Ira Wallace seeding collards at Seed Savers Exchange as one of the full trial sites.
Below are the twenty varieties selected for the 2020 trial. We had eight full trial sites, which you can learn more about below the variety profiles, but we also had hundreds of community scientists growing a randomly selected sets of three. If you’re growing any of these varieties, feel free to click on the collard and share your experiences in the comments.
A small number of farms and organizations around the country conducted full grow outs of all 20 varieties. Below you can see who these are and follow their larger trials.
A crop trialing non-profit celebrating diversity in food and farming.
Leicester, North Carolinia
Research site on the Olympic Peninsula at the Finnriver Farm and Cidery.
A community-based seed company with a passion for collards.