A visit at the largest seed farm in California

By 1951, Ferry-Morse Seed Co. of Detroit was the world's largest grower and distributor of home garden seeds. The zillions of seeds come from 40.000 acres of fields scattered over 18 states. Ferry-Morse carries 1.159 varietis of flowers and vegetables. They also invented the Red Cored Chantenay carrot, the straight-8 cucumber and the Cuthbertson sweet pea. 

The largest farm in California was at the Flint Ranch, near San Juan Bautista. Here field of stock is dusted by plane and thinned out by hand. Workers are "pulling the doubles" - uprooting all plants with double flowers, about 70% of the field. The double plants are sterile, produce no seed. But the seed from single flowers produces mostly double flowers, which is what home gardens want.

Checkerboard of bloom covers fields at Ferry-Morse's largets seed farm, the Flint Ranch near San Juan Bautista is central California. Dar green fields at left are onions. In foreground, varicolored beds of sweet peas are separated by four narrow vertical strips of bachelor buttons. In row of beds behind these are different varieties of stock. In background, behind more beds of onions are additional fields of sweett peas. The 906-acre Flint Ranch with its 53 buildings on the headquarters for Ferry-Morse's West Coast farming operations. The 200 to 300 acres planted in flowers there may produce up to 50 tons of seed a year.


photos and documentation: LIFE Magazine (US) | Zetu Harrys collection

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