By Kelly Slaven
You may have heard about the Greene County Seed Company before, (it was established in 1909), though today, it aims to offer much more than heirloom seeds.
I first discovered it about two months ago when Dean Chambers, the owner, came into the office of the Greene County Daily World armed with notes about a brand-new idea.
Our editor, Sabrina Stockrahm, said she knew who would be “perfect for this one,” and passed the information along to me when I came into the office that day.
I remember calling Dean, leaving a voice mail, and calling again. I remember asking myself if it might seem like I were pestering him for the story, but after all, he had came to us with his idea and even his own notes--how often did a story like that fall into my lap? I had a good feeling about this one.
Eventually, I got in touch with Dean one evening and we scheduled a time for me to come out to the farm.
It took me nearly an hour to find, which I am now almost embarrassed to admit, though I didn’t give up and Dean didn’t seem to get too annoyed with me when I called him for further directions several times.
However, I didn’t give up and finally saw the long fence Dean had mentioned, and turned into the driveway of a rather magical place.
I couldn’t believe how much potential was in his idea--enough so that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Using a barn, Dean had constructed large drying racks stacked vertically to place vegetables and fruits on for drying. Once the door is closed, a dehumidifier pulls moisture out of both the air and crops, while an ultraviolet light works to kill any bacteria. A fan works within the one-of-a-kind dryer to keep air circulating. The result is dehydrated fruits and vegetables which can also be ground into a nutrient and vitamin rich powder--a way to not only extend the shelf-life of fresh produce, but to further ensure the Greene County Seed Company creates zero waste.
In today’s world, I can’t imagine I am the only one who sees the possibilities in ‘survival’ foods, or even health foods.
So far, Dean has put one batch through the large dehydrator and found it to be successful.
This spring, Dean hopes to have the dryer available for use by local farmers and even to use for waste from local stores, and will likely have his very own Greene County supplement made on the farm and available for sale in the near future.
I feel Dean and the Greene County Seed Company are really onto something here.
My husband and I will be helping Dean on this venture, and invite anyone interested in learning more, or helping out, to feel free to contact us! Let’s grow Greene County--economically, agriculturally and most importantly--for the benefit of the greater good.
Kelly is a Staff Writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, or she can also be reached via email at kslavenGCDW@outlook.com.