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Stock up on seeds in time for spring at Isle a la Cache Museum

(Photo by Chad Merda)

With unseasonably warm weather hinting of the spring to come, it’s a good time to head over to Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville to peruse and purchase some of the seed packets that are on sale.

The museum started selling seeds a few years ago and they’ve become popular items at the gift shop, said Jen Guest, facility supervisor for Isle a la Cache. The packets include vegetable, herb and flower seeds.

“Growing our own food tends to lead to healthier eating at home,” Guest said. “The seeds we sell at Isle a la Cache are heirloom varieties that are designed to grow in our area.”

And the flower seed packets can brighten your living space, she added. 

“Not only are all the plants beneficial to humans, but they are also helpful for our pollinators, too,” Guest said.

The seed supplier is Seed Savers Exchange, which works to “protect America’s culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations," according to its website

All seeds are open-pollinated and 100% non-GMO. Many are USDA certified organic. Prices are $3.50 per packet or five for $15. 

According to Janet Zavoral, facility office manager at Isle a la Cache, this year’s supply includes: 

  • Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, a variety originally carried by the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears in 1838-1839.
  • Nadapeno, a pepper that looks and tastes like a jalapeno but without the heat.
  • Birdhouse Gourd. When dried this variety makes excellent birdhouses.
  • Outhouse Hollyhock, often planted near outbuildings during the last century as a way to discreetly identify where the building was so that you did not have to ask.

So, drop by Isle a la Cache Museum to stock up on seeds so you can get your sprouts started for planting this spring.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green spaces is beneficial to both our mental and physical health,” Guest said. “Spending time outdoors working in the yard and gardening leads to breathing fresh air, doing physical activity, and getting some vitamin D from the sun. All of which is good for our health.”

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