Saved Seed List

2013 Saved Seed (112 Varieties)


Greens (1)

Arugula (Fedco) 10#

Kale (3)

Red Russian Kale

Rainbow Lacinato


Other Brassica (2)

Brussel Sprouts

Columbia Cabbage

Roots (3)

Chiogga Beets

Purple Top Turnips

Misato Rose

Zucchini (3)

Dark Star

Golden Arrow


Winter Squash (3)

Sunshine F2

Waltham Butternut (2012 Denny Compton)

Delicata (2012 Denny Compton)

Lettuce (3)

Rouge d’ Hiver

Grandpa Admire’s


Peanuts (1)

Tennessee Red Valencia

Misc. Nightshades (3)

True Potato Seed

Aunt Molly

Purple Tomatillo

Peppers (22)

Korean Kim Chi

Sauhuro F2

Aji Dulce

King of the North



Hungarian Hot Wax


Olympus F2

Highlander F2

Trinidad Spice

Alma Paprika



Early Sweet Hungarian

Vietnamese Hot

Revolution F2

Serrano OOHH

Sweet Sunrise F2

Flavorburst F2

Serrano Tampico


Eggplant (12)

Beatrice F3 Oval

Beatrice F3 Round


Clara F2

Classic F2

Nadia F2

Nubia d’ Gandia

White Lightning F2

Orient Express F2

Orient Charm F2

Dairyu F2

Galine F2

Tomato (32)

Granadero F3 1st

Early Girl F3 1st

Early Girl F3 Potato Leaf 1st


Early Cascade F3

Uncle Everett


Martian Giant

Orange You Glad


Paul Robeson



Peron Sprayless

LeRoy’s Orange Banana

Granadero F3 2nd

Cherokee Purple

LeRoy’s Sausage

PROS Brandywine

Amish Paste

Dakota Sport



Early Girl F3 2nd

Early Girl F3 P.L. 2nd

Purden’s Purple


Chianti Rose

Blush F2


San Marzano

FFSC Brandywine


Caro Rich

Pole Beans (11)

Mette’s Gotland Cranberry

Kentucky Wonder (Siskiyou Seeds)

Kentucky Wonder (SSE)

Hidatsa Red

Hidatsa Shield

Scarlet Runner

Trebano Romano

Kelly Farm White

Blue Lake

Golden Nectar

Parshall Snap


Bush Beans (9)

Dragon Tongue

Black Turtle


Royal Burgundy


Gold Rush


Easy Pick

Herbs (1)


Grain (3)


White Sorghum

Wachichu Flint


Field Peas



Comments on the FSMA

Re:      Food and Drug Administration Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921  RIN 0910-AG36

Nov. 12, 2013

We own and operate Riverbend Farm, in  Delano, Minnesota, a small scale diversified, certified organic, vegetable farm. We produce more than 20 types of vegetable crops for sale to our CSA members, local restaurants, grocery stores, and schools.

Food Safety is important to every small farm. If we have a contamination problem and someone gets sick from eating our food, we are out of business.  I take food safety very seriously.

The definition of a facility will make it very difficult for anyone ramping up production on a small farm. Many times a beginning farmer will not have a wide enough product offering or quantity to attract the attention of potential buyers. If they can piggy back their offerings on a more established farm they will have an opportunity to enter the marketplace.  For example: A neighboring farm grows great onions, but is just starting out. No one is going to buy just onions when they also need cabbages, winter squash, potatoes, and turnips.  They meet their produce needs with a farm that offers all of these items.  If the onions can be delivered by a farm that has most of the above items, both farms can benefit. A low limit (5 items) on the number of items delivered from other farms would solve this.

The proposed rules for applying composted manure are in conflict with the NOP standards for composted manure.  There is no documented case of anyone getting sick from produce that was fertilized with compost in accordance with the NOP standards. And the NOP standards are over the top for anything but sewage sludge. Align the proposed rule with the NOP standards. The FDA may also want to consider including best practices for handling raw manure in the new rules, i.e. incorporate the raw manure within 24 hours to minimize nutrient loss and the potential for water ( surface or irrigation ) contamination.

The proposed rules should include language to encourage the use of conservation practices that enhance beneficial insect habitat, provide windbreaks for soil erosion control and limit pesticide drift.

In many instances it is completely impractical to exclude wild animals from farm fields.  Training on how to identify scat and droppings would go a long way towards eliminating that as a possible source of contamination. A list of ‘animals of concern’ may be interesting, but not useful in many instances.  For example, what happens if our neighbors on three sides have habitat for listed animals ? 

Under the Produce rules for the ‘qualified exempt’ farms the income limit should not apply to commodity crops unless all commodity crop farms are subject to the proposed rules.  Since commodities are not regulated under the Produce Rule the value of them should not be considered as income for a produce operation.

It is not clear what would cause a qualified exemption to be withdrawn. I can’t tell from reading the proposed rule what would trigger that withdrawal nor what actions would prevent it.  It is also not clear how a farm would earn back the qualified exemption.  As a small farm we do not have staff to do extra paperwork and documentation. Losing the qualified exemption status ( for unknown reasons) would probably put us out of business.  This could be improved by stating what kind of problem would lead to withdrawal of qualified exempt status, what would be acceptable documentation to prevent withdrawal, and including a process to regain qualified exempt status.

The estimated cost to comply with the regulations would seem to favor large scale operations, perhaps another facet of an unstated, but misguided  ‘Get Big or Get Out’  policy.  Current trends show that the number of small farms are  increasing to meet the demand for local food.  Preventing these farms from operating is not going to help satisfy that demand and will not appreciably affect food safety. The vast majority of people who suffer a food borne illness are eating products from large scale operations. To put a undue portion of the cost of insuring a safe food supply on small farms makes no sense.

An integrated approach to producing safe food makes the most sense. We grow  more than 20 different kinds of produce,  several types of cover crop seeds, and large areas of green manures.  To treat each crop separately would be a  logistical nightmare. The details may differ if a crop  is lettuce or tomatoes, but avoiding contamination in the field,  during harvest, cleaning, packing, and storage are common to every crop we produce.

Thank you for your consideration of this.

Greg Reynolds

Riverbend Farm

5405 Calder Ave SE

Delano, MN 55328





Food Safety Modernization Act

It is time to comment on some proposed regulations again.

Remember when the federal organic rules were proposed and they included GMO seeds, sewage sludge, and irradiation ? A flood of comments stopped that from becoming part of the NOP rules. This time it is The Food Safety Modernization Act. 

The FDA,  a revolving door for corporate ag ( don’t believe me ? do an online search for ‘ fda revolving door big food’ ) is proposing rules for food safety on small farms.  Not only are they out of control, they seem to have no idea that most food is actually grown in dirt.

All this came about due to the e coli spinach scare in 2006.  Remember that after waiting until all the contaminated spinach had been eaten the Feds declared a recall. Now the federal government has leapt into action again and  proposed a solution to a problem that doesn’t address the issue. 

Disclaimer: I am not an anarchist. Government has a role to play. I believe that at least some portion of our taxes are the price we pay for living in a civil society. Etcetera.  I do have a tin foil hat, but I reserve that for special occasions.

The issue is large corporations  handling huge amounts of food and shipping it all over the country with short term profit as the only goal that stock holders appear to recognize. 

Food safety is important. Especially for small farms. How many of you would buy from me if you knew you or one of your customers got sick from eating my produce ?  My guess is none. Since Mary and I are not a kazillion dollar corporation, that would be a real problem.  Trust me,  food safety is important.

If you search for ‘e coli spinach’ or ‘e coli beef’, you don’t find small farms showing up at the top of the results. It is big companies that handle tons of product and ship all over the country.  Small farms can and do have problems, but they do not affect  thousands of people in several states.

Back to the issue at hand. When it comes to ag policy, I have never seen a bunch of people who are so out of touch with that is actually happening as the Congress, the FDA and the USDA.  Not funding food stamps ?!  GMOs, etc. in organics ?  Subsidizing the wealthiest farmers the most, trade policy, the list goes on and on. But these proposed FDA regs are seriously off the rails.

Some of the big issues are: the lack for due process in withdrawing small farm status, the way that  small farm status is figured,  manure handling requirements, the definition of a ‘facility’,  conflict with conservation practices, and the cost for a small farm to comply.

A good place to start to learn more is Harriet Behar’s column in the Organic Broadcaster. 

( you might have to copy and paste the above URL).

Another good resources is The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The National Organic Program is a mess.  Largely due to corporate influence in the decision making process.  The Food Safety Modernization Act  is simply another step in the unstated policy of “Get Big or Get Out” to benefit big  ag.  These people, who are far removed from where their food comes from and only hear from ‘people’ with money ( corporations are people now and money is not property or a modicum of exchange, it is speech) are deciding what is best for you and me. 

Here is the hard part. You are going to have to do some of your own research and write a comment letter to the FDA.  And the deadline for doing anything is the 22nd .  You have to get cracking. Please move this up on your to-do list.

We have to speak up and let them know what is happening out here in the real world. Please write a comment by next Friday.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you will continue to help preserve local small scale agriculture.

Greg Reynolds

Riverbend Farm




Nov. 6

Riverbend Farm Newsletter                                                 November 6, 2013

It is a beautiful snowy day. The snow in the trees against the clear blue sky is very pretty.  Today is not a harvest or delivery day, and there is not much that needs doing outside.  It sure feels like a day off.

We have been surprisingly busy for this time of year, selling a month’s worth (or more) veggies per week.  I would much rather sell everything now than deal with freezing cold conditions putting orders together in December and January.  We have  lots of winter squash, potatoes, and red cabbage.  The kale quit growing several weeks ago and we are just taking the top leaves off the plants.

The rye and vetch that were seeded a couple weeks ago are just starting to germinate. They will need a little warm sunny weather to emerge.  If they don’t make it this fall, they will come up in the spring.  There is just a little field work left to do. A few sandbags and some row cover need to be picked up. Our neighbor Norman is going to chop the sorghum green manure crop once he gets all his corn harvested. And there are some black turtle beans that I would like to harvest.

Jacob and Andrew went out to Brookings to plant garlic last week.  They had enough dry days to till up their soil and get started planting. It took them a day and a half to shell out all the garlic cloves they had saved for seed. Planting took longer than usual because they didn’t have any help. Not to mention that Andrew sprained his ankle and had to crawl down the rows to plant. In all they planted about half an acre.

Jordan was off last week getting things ready to start up his farm down in Fillmore County.  He spent a lot of time getting his greenhouse set up. That left just Noelle and me to do the orders on Thursday.  It wouldn’t have been a problem if we didn’t have a month’s worth of orders on that one day.  Amelia was able to come over and help out. It made for a long day, but we did get everything done. This was a problem worth having.

This week we had another good day on Monday, but Jordan was back so it was much easier. The only complication was that people have started ordering coarse cornmeal in large quantities and the drive pin for my mill sheared off.

It has taken a couple years to get the milling process fine tuned to produce the maximum yield of finely ground corn. Less than 20% of it comes out as coarse so it was pretty easy to outstrip the production once people started ordering it. The mill came with two sets of burrs, a fine and a coarse. With a little fiddling the coarse burrs will produce about 50% coarse cornmeal. The flour portion of the kernel shatters into a powder no matter how the mill is set. 

Harvesting the black turtles has been a little more involved that I would have liked. The bean plants are kind of viney and don’t hold the pods off the ground very well. Straight combining them  loses about half of the beans.  I bought some Gaterman Crop Lifters, little flexible fingers that slide along the ground and lift the beans so they will go into the combine.  Very slick.

I hadn’t made one round when the lifters dug in and bent the sickle bar and the lip of the combine head.  Until that happened, I think that I was missing only about a third to a quarter of the beans. With the sickle bar mangled and the front lip of the head rolled under, combining came to an end very quickly.

Not wanting to let a thousand pounds or more beans go to waste the only remaining option was to pull the beans by hand and throw them into the combine, well, thresher now.  Noelle and I pulled out six rows and forked them into the thresher. It did a very nice job. Not a lot of splits and the six rows produced about 250 pounds of relatively clean beans. 

Yesterday the beans were still too wet from the rain to thresh them. With snow coming in, Noelle, Jordan, and I pulled up another half a dozen rows and stashed them in the greenhouse to dry a little. A couple sunny days in the greenhouse and they will be ready to thresh. 

I’m hoping to get more of the beans out of the field, but the window of opportunity is closing on that.  We will have to get them out in the next week or so or lose them.  It will take a few sunny dry days in a row to make it happen.

The seed saving project continues. Yesterday Jordan and I dug up several hundred kale and cabbage plants that will be stored in the root cellar until spring. Then they will be transplanted back into the field to produce seed for crops in 2015.

I’m very encouraged  by the results from this year’s seeds. One noteable  case was the misato rose  radishes. The row of saved seed had much bigger and healthier leaves than the purchased seed.  Many of the roots were the size of a softball. The purchased seed made a few roots that were the size of a base ball.  It was surprising to see the difference in just one generation.

Currently we have a stack of crates with pepper, eggplant, and zucchini seeds drying in our living room by the fire.  I’ll work on packaging up the dry seeds later today. It is pretty pleasant work, sitting by the fire.




October 20th

Riverbend Farm Newsletter                                                 October 20, 2013      

My life is dominated by the weather (like you couldn’t tell).  Right now the temperature is 30º. It is breezy and cloudy, much warmer than I expected. Last night the NWS forecast ( Bob Weisman doesn’t work weekends) was a low of 26º. We are usually a couple degrees colder than that, so it is warm this morning.

We are at the point of the season where a few degrees more or less makes a huge difference. Temperatures below 28º are considered killing frosts. The summer annuals all die at that temperature. That was two weeks ago. Somewhere around 24º is a hard freeze, cold enough to damage crops in the mustard family. That would put an end to all the leafy greens except kale. We had a low of 26º very early Sunday morning. It takes temperatures of about 20º to damage the kales.  Cover crops like oats and peas keep growing until the temperature drops to 10º.

Once it gets above freezing we will see what there is to harvest.

Sunday morning had all the makings for a perfect day. Cold and rainy, too miserable to do much outside and a fire blazing in the stove.  Perfect.

I did have a few things that need doing outside.  I have to split some wood, but that’s in the woodshed. The water heater in the greenhouse needs some attention. The combination of heat and humidity in the greenhouse has rotted out the burner. It needs a new water heater but I would just as soon not buy one and have it sit out there all winter.

I salvaged a burner out of a heater that my neighbor was scrapping and tried to adapt to this heater. The pilot won’t hold a flame for some reason and the burner  is not putting out the heat that I would expect. It’s really time for a new one. Although, this set up may work to keep the winter squash warm. Setting the temperature as high as it will go keeps the burner running all the time, negating the need for the pilot and the lazy burner keeps the water warm enough to keep the floor warm.

Last week was another good one for orders and we just finished up our CSA.  All the tomato trellis strings have been cut and the stakes pulled out.  All the cabbage has been harvested and stashed in the root cellar along with some turnips, winter radishes, and potatoes.

There are still a lot of potatoes that need to be dug.  It hasn’t been cold enough long enough to freeze the ground yet. Today we will work on getting the rest of them out.

I finally got around to harvesting a bucket of grapes for jelly. They are a mixture of wild and old Swensen Minnesota varieties. The prospect of a hard freeze clarifies what needs to be done.

Tracy at the Birchwood is having an 18th anniversary party on the 28th and it will be the kickoff for the Kickstarter campaign to raise some money for the long planned expansion of the Birchwood. If you have seen their kitchen you know they need it. Tracy says it better than I can.  Here is a link to what she has to say:   It is a good cause.