Why are growing numbers of people choosing to buy seeds from Irish seed savers?

The ethos here at Irish Seed Savers Association, is to conserve and distribute wonderful rare and heritage varieties, as well as to encourage the skills of saving your own seed and empowering people to do this in their own gardens, small holdings or farms.

All of our seeds are grown and saved in Ireland and are Open Pollinated which allows you to save your own seeds from them, keeping the variety true to type. By choosing Irish Seed Savers’ Open Pollinated Seeds you contribute to keeping food security in your own hands and Irish agricultural biodiversity alive and vibrant.

Download 2022 Heirloom Seed Catalogue

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  • Bi-colour orange/yellow streaked red beefsteak like fruits, though range in size, medium-large. Incredibly beautiful and have sweet, utterly delicious meaty flesh with low acidity. Very, very productive continuing to fruit well into late Autumn. Old American heirloom from West Virginia dating from the 1880’s. Certified Organic
  • A traditional swede/turnip, with purple and white skin growing to a good size. Golden flesh very sweet and tasty, lasting well into spring before going woody, all round ‘excellent’ as described by a supporter. Madeline at Brown Envelope seeds trialled it one winter in conjunction with popular commercial varieties and it came out ‘Best of All’!
    Certified Organic
  • In 2018 we carried out a comparative trial between ‘Major Dunne’ and ‘Major Doon’, to try and ascertain if they were one and the same variety but with different name spellings as can often be the case. The Major Doon seed was acquired from The Heritage Seed Library in the UK who in turn had received it from a donor, Joseph McKeen, who sent them the seed of this Scottish heritage variety when he discovered he could no longer buy it commercially. It’s a superb purple- topped, globe swede with an excellent sweet flavour. It’s great raw and stores well – if you don’t eat them all straight away of course! In the absence of DNA testing, we concluded that Major Dunne & Major Doon are one and the same.
  • We grew out all the six native Irish swede varieties together in 2015 so we could do botanical descriptor work on them. This seed is then a mix of all six varieties and there may be some interesting surprises if the flowers were cross pollinated! Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A popular variety grown in Cork and donated to us by Eddie Lucey. A round, medium sized swede turnip with purple/magenta skin and delicious golden flesh. Good disease resistance and very hardy even in exposed locations.
    Certified Organic
  • York Swede

    2.95
    Sometimes known as York Purple Top, it has the distinction of being grand champion at the royal winter Fair in Toronto. Smooth, uniform, fine quality roots with purple shoulders and sweet yellow flesh. Small to medium in size and excellent winter keeper.
    Certified Organic
  • The leaves of this variety, (from the 1800’s) are indeed ‘dagger’ like, narrow, long and graceful, purple-red in colour with a metallic lustre. They grow in a thick cluster and picked for a beautiful addition to the salad bowl. The roots are long, smooth and spindle shaped with blood red tender flesh. Certified Organic
  • Introduced in 1911, this old variety has semi globe roots and smooth dark red skin. Deep red flesh and glossy leaves that can make good greens. It matures early but also a single sowing can be harvested over a long period. Here are descriptions from the staff who tried a taste test - ‘moist, mouthwatering, sweet, juicy and tender’.
    Certified Organic
  • A variety of very old heritage dating back to the 1800’s, originating in Egypt. Vilmorin in his crop descriptions in 1885 states ‘Exceedingly early variety, best of all early kitchen garden kinds’ This is echoed in modern times by gardener Bob Flowerdew proclaiming it to have ‘the best flavour’. Early maturing, smooth skin on wide roots, deep crimson/purple flesh both sweet and tender. Very popular among the staff taste tests. Grows above the ground so easy to pull for harvest.
    Certified Organic
  • A rare, smooth-skinned variety from Switzerland. Described by growers as “spectacular, tender bulbs with fantastic flavour and bolt resistant”, “Very successful and absolutely delicious”.
    Certified Organic
  • From the Italian ‘rotonda’ meaning ‘round’, this beetroot grows quite large into perfect round spheres. Very juicy and sweet, with a distinct earthy flavour.
    Certified Organic
  • This translates simply as ‘Round ball’, deep red in colour with a delicious fruity, mild taste particularly good in salads.
    Certified Organic
  • Very productive ‘blood’ red conical beetroot with juicy, intense flesh that remains tender and sweet even when quite large.
    Certified Organic
  • Delicious, smooth, round gold roots with sweet flavoured bright yellow flesh, the colour retained even when cooked. This variety has been ‘rebred’ from old seed stocks to create this vigorous, quick growing brilliant yellow beet.
    Certified Organic
  • The seeds of this variety were brought back from an international slow food gathering in Turin, Italy. We weren’t initially sure whether it was going to be a leaf/chard type or a fodder beet- root crop. When grown in our gardens it turned out to be a vigorous, hardy crop with large light green leaves.
  • This came to us from Baker Creek heirloom seeds in America. A stunning all orange stalk selection that will brighten up the garden, delicious leaves. Certified Organic
  • This variety of Italian heritage, was named after a Roman General ‘Lucius Luccullus’ renowned for his splendid banquets and vast gardens some 2000 years ago. It was introduced in 1914 and won the RHS award of garden merit. Quite hardy through the winter, with heavily ‘crumpled’, bright, lush green leaves and white stalks that can be almost like asparagus when cooked. Young flowering stalks in Spring can be used like sprouting broccoli. It has the seal of approval from Scoil Chroi, Galway, ‘Lucullus a big hit with students of all ages, they loved it devouring it raw.’
    Certified Organic
  • This one is a mix of the many colours of different types of Quinoa, tan, red, orange and black, each with a slightly different attribute - sweeter or nuttier or chewier. Certified Organic
  • From the North of Chile, Red Faro is both productive for the grain and attrac- tive with red-pink foliage and cream seed heads. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A favourite from our tomato trials of Latvian varieties. A medium, tear drop-shaped golden tomato of incredible sweetness. Yellow tomatoes tend to be less acidic than red ones. A grower in Meath goes on to say, "I grew Dzintare Lasite outside in a sheltered spot and they did very well, better than red ones". Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A favourite of Mona one of our seed guardians who has saved seed of this variety for over 15 years. A cordon giving a plentiful supply of sweet, sweet round medium size bright yellow fruit. Certified Organic
  • This seed from Poland was collected by the German gene-bank at Gatersleben. A cordon variety that produces quantities of small gold, thin-skinned plum tomatoes, still delicious even in November. Stephen Carrington in Wicklow was still harvesting a few in January from a polytunnel. Has also fruited well outdoors in the past. Certified Organic
  • ‘The Rose from Bern’ is a Swiss heirloom well suited to cooler climes. A cordon type producing thin skinned round pink/ red fruit quite large and fleshy that are utterly juicy and delicious. Seed Guardian Mona has been growing this one for years as her family favourite to eat fresh, sliced and cooked, reliable and versatile. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A bumper cropper of very large (300-400g) sweet, succulent juicy raspberry coloured fruit. In fact Malinowy means ‘Raspberry’ in Polish where this wonderful tomato hails from. The trusses of this cordon type, were heavily laden early in the season and sweet before ever experiencing much sunshine. The fruit is both perfect for slicing raw with dense flesh and for making the juiciest sauces. Thanks to supporter Liam Gaffney for introducing this one to us. Apparently the seed had been saved for many years by the grandfather of a Polish guy working in Scotland. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This cordon variety was bred by biodynamic growers in Germany. A cordon rounded-oval plum tomato, has good resistance to blight and fruit splitting. Yields well, with a fruity flavour, firm skin, holds its shape when cut, perfect in a salad or sandwich. Certified Organic
  • On a visit to the Eden project in Cornwall, Jo Newton (Seed Curator) saw this bush tomato growing outdoors, the friend with her was reminded of seeing it growing and tasting it in a walled garden in Brighton when she was a child and remembered the name it being quite unusual. Jo liberated a couple of fruit and we have since sown and grown the crop. A sprawly bush that gives a huge amount of scarlet, juicy fruit small, medium, mild fresh tangy flavour that ripen early. It turns out Mrs Ruck was the last lady of Audley End Estate in Essex (now managed by English heritage) and had passed on the seed when she moved away. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Originally from the small town of San Marzano Dul Sarno near Napoli and first grown in the volcanic soils of Mt Vesuvius. It is a late plum variety, long, thin pointed fruit with a sweet, strong taste.It is ideal for sauce as it is meatier, has fewer seeds and lower acidity than many other plum types. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    Bred in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas this tomato is regarded as one of the tastiest heirlooms. Clusters of 5 - 9 fruit the size of a large cherry ripen up the vine over a long season. Red, sweet and juicy, productive and with some disease resistance. Certified Organic
  • This is an outstanding variety bred by Alan Kapaler in Oregon for organic conditions. It has proved to be a favourite, very hardy, ovewinters well (outside as well as in a tunnel). A giant cut n come lettuce with lush deep red lobed leaves that can be picked all through Autumn, Winter and Spring.
    Certified Organic.
  • A European heirloom, productive and disease resistant. Quite tall plants with long branches bearing huge quantities of fruit. The peppers are long and slender starting as dark green they ripen to a brilliant yellow. A medium hot and delicious Chilli pepper. Supporter Nicky says ‘I love them, have bags of them in the freezer as it is so easy to freeze them whole!’ Certified Organic
  • This is a wonderful lettuce bred by Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon. A large loose leaf but upright cos type head perfect for ‘cutting and coming again’. It is outrageously red, a colourful addition to salad. Hardy over Winter, also good for Spring sowing.
    Certified Organic.
  • A Swiss Ruby variety which is very cold hardy, with an upright habit and a loose head of deep maroon leaves, excellent for cut and come the year round.
    Certified Organic.
  • This variety was sent into us by Stephen Marsh, a long-standing supporter of our work. He described it as a ‘beauti- ful butterhead’, that he used to grow 50 years ago and was then very popular. In 2016 he rediscovered it in a catalogue and sent us the seeds. Light green tasty big heads with tightly packed fleshy hearts. It is described as a Spring/ Summer sown type, but we sowed in early autumn and it grow fine and healthy under cover.
    Certified Organic.
  • A lovely large loose curled green leafy lettuce with very crunchy leaves of great texture. Especially good addition to a salad mix. Grows well year round. Donated to us by supporter Steven Marsh.
    Certified Organic.
  • Salsify

    2.95
    This is a root vegetable that goes back to the middle ages. Pulled in winter it has long tapering roots with a distinct flavour, similar to oysters, delicious in a vegetable stew. If left in the ground, the flower is the ornamental gardeners best kept secret as all summer long they bloom with brilliant purple large daisy like flowers. The seed heads are puff balls that shine as golden orbs in sun- shine. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    A dependable cropper of rich sweet fruits even in cool summers. The plants are compact but productive (equal or better than many F1 hybrid types). They ripen to a beautiful glossy deep red and are delicious both raw and cooked. Certified Organic
  • Out of stock
    This is an extraordinary pepper, Klari being the name of the woman who maintained this ancient variety in Hungary. The fruit resembles a small round of cheese, looking more like tomatoes than peppers, produced in great abundance on compact plants. They benefit from some support. The fruit size ranges from small, like cherry tomatoes up to 100g, the colour from creamy-yellow to pale green to brilliant red. The flesh is very thick, creamy and sweet, delicious raw or cooked, perfect for stuffed peppers. Certified Organic
  • The seed of this variety was donated to us by a Dr. Stewart of Bective, Co. Meath. It produces a much larger seed than ordinary varieties of linseed and is low growing which makes it suitable to grow in more exposed locations. It yields very well. Certified Organic
  • Easy to grow your own. Linseed is full of essential fatty acids & is a great health food. Sown in spring you will be treated to delicate satiny sky-blue flowers every day before pods ripen full of seeds. Certified Organic
  • Easy to grow your own. Linseed is full of essential fatty acids & is a great health food. Sown in spring you will be treated to delicate satiny sky-blue flowers every day before pods ripen full of seeds. Certified Organic
Supported in part by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Pobal through the Community Services Programme. We confirm that our organisation complies with The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland.

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