The Appalachian Seed Swap is held the first Saturday in April each year at Pike Central High School. Founded in 2011, the event attracts hundreds of farmers, seed savers, and vendors from across the United States.
Friends Drift Inn is passionate about Appalachian agriculture and preserving plant varieties that make our culture and foodways unique. We are proud to be co-founders of this event along with Neil Hunt and Cathy Rehmeyer Caudill.
How Does A Seed Swap Work?
- The Appalachian Seed Swap is a Buy-Sell-Trade event. Vendors sell packets of unique heirloom seeds.
- Collectors and farmers barter amongst themselves as well as move amongst the vendor tables.
- A “trade” is based on size of seed. Tomato seeds, a small seed, are traded in 12-24 seeds. Beans and corn, larger seeds, are swapped in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments.
- While some except credit card for purchases, many do not. Bring cash.
What Goes On There?
View the video coverage from WYMT Television.
The event starts with the official “Cutting of the Cushaw” at 9 am sharp. Each year, there is a special designee to perform this most prestigious operation! We have had Abraham Lincoln, Bill Best, John Coykendall, and Suzanne Stumbo on the stage!
Besides spirted buy-sell-trade activities for heirloom seeds, you can expect to find some of the nation’s premier seed saving experts.
They may be selling books, giving presentations, or just communing with their fellow seed savers. Additionally, we often have guest chefs doing culinary demonstrations or speaking about Appalachian Food Culture and History.
Each year the program is different.
In addition to heirloom seeds and books, you will find farm products, government conservation and agricultural sources, and heritage handcrafted foods and gifts.
To become involved visit the Appalachian Seed Swap Facebook Group.
Friends Drift Inn Heirloom Seed Swap History
It all started with a search for cushaw seeds, when the “mainstream” seed catalogues quit carrying them. Before then, we had been asleep at the wheel.
When we met Bill Best, one of Kentucky’s greatest treasures, our world was changed forever. Farming with old time varieties.is a challenge. Locating heirloom varieties in substantial volume to grow out commercially for produce or seed stock is a labor of love. Sometimes you start with a dozen bean seeds and it takes four seasons to produce enough seed to plant a proper garden row.
Bill Best saved us. I talk a little about that in a 2012 blog post titled “There and Back Again.”
And of course a more personal account found in the archives is Bill Best Knows Beans.