breaking ground at Laurel Farm Herbs

In 2013, Laurel Farm Herbs and Edibles – a business established in 1985 in Suffolk by Chris Seagon – relocated to Whiddon Down, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Laurel Farm Herbs is now one of the leading UK nurseries for culinary herb and edible plants, producing and selling quality plants to the retail trade, personal callers, farmers markets, and at events around the country.

Chris and Jenny grow all of their plants without heating and chemicals, and peat-free. Their extensive catalogue includes a wide range of familiar herbs and some more unusual edibles – including electric daisies, sea orach, red malabar spinach and hyacinth beans.

Erecting the first polytunnel frame at Laurel Farm Herbs

Chris took time out of his busy day to answer a few questions about his interest in unusual edible plants for us 🙂

Chris, what unusual edibles do you grow?
We’re trying to grow different types of artichokes, different tubers and more unusual varieties of tomato.

How and why did your interest in unusual edibles develop?
I wanted to grow plants that did not carry VAT and to have less common or unusual varieties for customers to use.

How do you track down your unusual seeds and plants?
Internet research.

Do you have a favourite (commercial) supplier?
No favourite commercial supplier, but I do like Richters in Canada – they have an amazing range of basils!

Covering the polytunnels at Laurel Farm Herbs

Do you have books and/or websites (or other sources of information) that you recommend?
The Plants for a Future website, and Hidden Histories: Herbs, by Kim Hurst from The Cottage Herbery.

Do you have a favourite garden to visit that grows a lot of unusual edibles?
We haven’t had the time to visit gardens since we moved!

What are your hints and tips for sourcing unusual edibles?
Do your research and don’t take one website or book as being gospel. If something fails for you, don’t be afraid to break the rules

You can also find Laurel Farm Herbs on Twitter. Thanks to Chris for supplying the photos to go with this interview 🙂

For more about unusual edible plants and the people who grow them, check out my book Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs.

Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs: Grow Something Different